ENCINITAS — For the third year in a row, The Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association highlighted local artists, designers and boutiques in the Encinitas Lifestyles Fashion Show on Sept. 25.
The family-friendly affair was more than just a showing of the areas latest trends in clothing and accessories. Rather, the evening featured numerous artists, interactive events, live music and a silent auction in an outdoor venue along Coast Highway 101.
The genesis of the show began with Dody Crawford, DEMA’s executive director. “I wanted to promote all the wonderful boutiques in our downtown since we were already promoting automotive and dining segments of downtown,” she said. “The boutiques needed some representation too and what better way to do that than throw a fashion show?”
Nancy Nelson, owner of Common Threads, agreed. “DEMA is all about promoting fruitful businesses downtown,” she said. “But, there hadn’t been focus on the fashion that comes out of this area.”
From its humble beginnings featuring 10 stores and one designer, the fashion show has evolved into a “complete event,” according to Carris Rhodes, DEMA program assistant. “We have 13 boutiques, hair salons, local bands and more than five designers this year,” she said.
In addition, the show incorporated more interactive art into the designs. “We have live painting on denim with local artists and a photo exhibit. “There is an art to designing,” Nelson said and this event incorporates that idea. “It’s natural to want to integrate local artists involved in making masterpieces out of clothing,” Rhodes said.
The event is another avenue to bring greater awareness about the eclectic nature of downtown Encinitas and promote a thriving business culture according to Rhodes.
Designer Rose Ponizil was excited to once again feature her unique bikinis in the show. “The first fashion show is what really got me going,” she said. “I love the concept of a community event rather than a regular fashion show.” In fact, Ponizil sewed during the show as part of the interactive feature.
“Encinitas has originality and eclectic fashions,” Rhodes said. “There are so many different styles and you can pretty much find it all downtown.”
From antiques shirts at Coast Highway Traders to the couture finds at Double Take and the retro stylings at Flashback with everything in between, the area is a veritable gallery of diverse fashions. The eclectic nature of the fashion was evident in the nearly 300 attendees. “It’s a great excuse to get dressed up,” said Pam Broughton, who wore spiked high heels with an outfit designed by her sister. “I usually wear yoga clothes and flip flops around town so it’s nice to get out in style.”
This year ushered in a partnership with local nonprofit Jeans4Justice, which promotes prevention of sexual violence through awareness and education. The purpose of the partnership is to help both organizations educate the public and showcase diverse art and fashion.
All proceeds from ticket sales will be used for the DEMA High School Scholarship Foundation and Jeans4Justice programs.
“Every year the fashion show keeps getting better and better,” Ponizil said. “I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.”