athens fashion week: i heart ga.

being familiar with the beautiful peach state, and hearing raving reviews from my cousins’ first-hand love for the university of georgia, i imagined nothing less than a wonderful experience at athens fashion week. reality hit the moment we landed in this quaint college town, only to find ourselves in awe of the authentic charm, unwavering hospitality, and savvy-filled, driven individuals.

nicole mcclellan, the pr chair for athens fashion week, gave us the first taste of the town as we dined at the most lovely of restaurants, while enchanting us with the story behind the first fashion week in athens history, which became concrete from a brainstorming conversation between creative business minds, a little encouragement from an eavesdropping grandma, and dedicated interns who believed in a vision.

shannon and i settled into the historical foundry park inn, still raving about our delicious homemade salads and sandwiches, and made our way shortly after to the fashion week festivities. walking into the bad manor venue, a culture spot of this college town, sparked in me one overall initial impression: charisma. i have rarely seen a place with so many energy-filled volunteers and overall excitement from guests and participants. clearly, the vibe reflected the impeccable leadership of the event: kuddos to richie knight, nicole batten, cory mccants, and nicole mcclellan. bravo!

emma graham began a great lineup of shows, followed by a men’s runway presentation including looks from ralph lauren, southern proper, southern marsh, bacon handmade neckwear, and the otter bay company. can i just say the guys were working it, and the crowds reaction proved to be in agreement. fun fun. not to mention, local singers and a justin beiber impersonator added an even greater personal touch to the evening. a walk around downtown and a press stop at a local boutique left us enough time to head over to the highly anticipated judith march show, where she presented her exclusive georgia bulldogs collection. too. cute. to conclude this flawless night: the victoria secret swimsuit show. it was a hit!

to top off what was one of the best charity-focused fashion events of the season, kim zolciak of “the real housewives of atlanta” hosted “cocktails and couture for a cause” at the foundry inn, where all proceeds from the event went to benefit the georgia 4-h foundation. delicious food and wine, a rockin’ band, and a full dance floor graced the party, only to end the night with a college night out in downtown athens.

this trip was a blast and a success to say the least. i was blown away by the quality of every detail of the events and the beyond warm welcomes from new friends. i am already looking forward to what next season will hold!

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