HAMILTON FASHION WEEK:
A Stylish Tradition With Local Roots
BY ALEXANDRA SEMPIE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALISSA BALTAZAR
“There should be an event in fashion, because fashion is part of the arts and it’s important to help out people in the community.” – Ken Biehler, co-founder of Hamilton Fashion Week.
For years Hamilton was known as a city that specialized in the production and development of steel. In recent years, however, the scene in Hamilton has shifted
drastically from steel production to a more artistic vibe, creating the phrase ‘art is the new steel’. Every year, Hamilton is home to art crawls, music festivals, and the increasingly popular Hamilton Fashion Week.
Founded in 2014 by Ken and Krystal Biehler, Hamilton Fashion Week is a yearly event that showcases Hamilton based designers and their wares.
“There were lots of art events but we saw that there was really a gap in fashion,” said Ken Biehler. “We looked into it and saw there was nothing happening in fashion in Canada, really, so we saw it as a good way to push fashion and help out people in the community.”
The rapid success of Hamilton Fashion Week has created a growth in the number of local designers opening up shops and operating in the area. More and more designers are taking inspiration from the growing popularity of the Hamilton art scene and turning their inspiration into fashion.
“Like art, like music, it [fashion] is the medium for things you can buy and wear,” said Biehler. “Fashion is art for your body and its very functional. Art and fashion in Hamilton are so closely related.”
With recent social restrictions due to Covid-19, fans of Hamilton Fashion Week feared that the beloved event would not take place this year, but thanks to social media, Hamilton Fashion Week will still happen in 2020.
“Right now is a time of change and opportunity,” said Biehler. “This year is challenging because we’re not allowed to have people in an audience so what we’re going to do for Hamilton Fashion Week is we’re having a virtual fashion week. We’re going to pre-record fashion shows and photo shoots and then in late September or early October every designer will have a special day, one designer on this day and another one on the next day. I’m really excited about it.”
Founded with the belief in supporting local designers and businesses, Hamilton Fashion Week has grown into a yearly event that brings in fans from all over the area to see the latest trends in an artistic and stylish city.
Founders of HFW: Ken Biehler
and Krystal Biehler
Article Writer: Alexandra Sempie
Photographer: Alissa Baltazar