Charleston Fashion Week 2011 Kicks Off

The Lowcountry’s fashion elite came out for runway shows, parties and entertainment Tuesday night to kick off Charleston Fashion Week under tents at Marion Square.

In its fifth year, Fashion Week has grown into one of Charleston’s most spectacular showcases.

Tuesday’s runway show proved that it will keep its designation as one of the premier style events of the South.

Emerging designer and Mount Pleasant native Julie Wheat will show her Cavortress line on Thursday, and was mingling with other designers in the style lounge next to the main tent.

“I’m extremely excited to represent my hometown, and I can’t wait to share my collection,” she said. “It’s been great to work with a lot of people in the fashion industry here.”

Brandy Weber, also of Mount Pleasant, was excited about the opening-night festivities.

“It feels amazing. I come here every year to see what it has to offer. And it keeps getting bigger and better,” she said.

Opening night featured the wares of Rapport Fine Clothing & Furs and Copper Penny, and featured designers Barbara Beach and Jamie Lin Snider.

Kicking things off was a spirited duet by local singer Quiana Parler and rapper Benjamin Starr.

Retail store Rapport was the first runway show of the night, highlighting its classy, sophisticated clothes. Copper Penny lightened the mood with a bright, spring-inspired collection.

The real fun came with Beach’s children’s clothing line. The crowd erupted in cheers as the young models strutted their stuff down the runway.

The style lounge featured local shops and cocktails from area restaurants. It’s the second year that Byrd’s Beads, a vintage-inspired jewelry shop, has partnered with Fashion Week.

“I love Charleston fashion because it’s funky and different. Everybody puts their own spin on things,” said Holly McGetrick, owner and jewelry artist.

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