By: Fashion Maniacs
It is certainly safe to say that Buffalo’s fashion culture has been gaining speed lately. Being conveniently situated between two fashion meccas, New York City and Toronto, the City of Light is certainly growing in its own fashion culture. One of the major forces perpetuating the rise of interest in fashion in Buffalo is Erin Habes, a current lecturer of Fashion Show Production at Buffalo State College and buyer for Krudmart. With the direction of five local fashion shows under her belt, Miss Habes is indeed making Buffalo’s art scene even richer by bringing fashion and design in under the radar for Buffalonians.
Fashion Maniacs: What is your experience in the fashion industry?
Erin Habes: Growing up in Williamsville, I very much felt that being a suburban girl [with an] interest in fashion made me stand out even more. When I was 18, I landed my first stint in the fashion industry by interning at Jaquelyn, and then Trisha Shoes in the Tony Walker center. From there, I entered Buffalo State college for fashion and got my start in local fashion by interning for Sue Marfino of Shoefly. Sue remains my mentor for honing my ability to be an entrepreneur at heart! When I was a senior in college, I started my first local fashion show at Hallwalls and after graduating, I took off to New York City to work for Farylrobin as a sales rep. After almost 3 years [of] working for Farylrobin, I came back to Buffalo to start my own women’s clothier, Sweet and Dirty, which won Best Women’s Clothier by Artvoice 2 years in a row. More recently, I was approached by the Elmwood Village Association to start Mass Appeal, which was a fashion show that took place back in November ’09 to showcase local designers and shops, a super amazing experience that really shed a lot of light on Buffalo’s fashion culture. I am currently working on obtaining my master’s degree in fashion at Buffalo State as well.
FM:What do you want for Buffalo’s fashion culture? When you look into your crystal ball, what do you see?
EH: I want to see expansion, heightened interest in design, collaboration with programs in local fashion cities–I want it all! Buffalo has the great advantage of being in between NYC and Toronto, and with the rise of new technology and ideas, I believe Buffalo’s fashion culture can go really far. I would also love for more designers to feel comfortable with bringing their talents and crafts to Buffalo. We have the ability to work out some excellent grants for our local designers, and I feel that Buffalo is a wonderful place to start up a business. I’m also super excited to see more fashionable people in Buffalo with the rise of interest in fashion!
FM:What is your partnership with Buffalo State College and FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology)?
EH: We have what is called the “3-in-1” Program at Buff State. For 3 years, fashion students hone their education at Buffalo State with a Bachelor’s degree, and then obtain internship opportunities at FIT their senior year. It’s an amazing platform for fashion students since this is very much an industry where you have to start out small and work your way to the top. Students get an amazing real world experience and learn from actual designers and entrepreneurs. In the next 3-4 years, Buff State will have a brand spankin’ new technology building with a runway practice room and complete state-of-the-art technology for fabricating and honing designs.
FM: After fabricating Runway 2.0, Mass Appeal, and most recently, Runway 3.0, are you currently looking for sponsorships for your next runway endeavor?
EH: Absolutely! We’re having another Mass Appeal show in November to benefit the Elmwood Village and we are always looking for sponsorship. The runway series is a yearlong event for my senior fashion students, and sponsorship is always appreciated as well. The more sponsors we get, the better our shoes are going to be, and that is certainly important for the students at Buff State since it’s such a surreal and incredibly helpful experience to have their pieces showcased to hundreds of people!
FM: Any tips for those wanting to break in to the fashion industry?
EH: Students, get your education and make as many connections as possible. The fashion industry is vast in its web of movers and shakers, and the more people you know that can help your line grow, the more of a chance you have at success!
You can see more of Erin by checking out her blog, sweetndirty.blogspot.com
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