Fashion Week New Orleans (visit www.fashionweeknola.com) returns for its third consecutive year March 20-24 at The Sugar Mill (1021 Convention Center Blvd., 504-586-0004; www.-sugarmillevents.com). Fashion Week New Orleans (FWNOLA) 2013 features 50 runway shows.
Events include Fashion Career Day, which offers students a glimpse into fashion careers from industry professionals, and the Model Walk-Off, a competition during which two models will be chosen for scouting trips to Los Angeles.
FWNOLA 2013's Top Design Competition showcases 12 emerging designers. The winner receives a package valued at more than $2,500 to advance his or her career.
Retailers have the opportunity to act as buyers during the shows. Tracee Dundas, creative director of FWNOLA, says the team has worked to build stronger relationships between designers and local stores.
"[FWNOLA] is a celebration of fashion," Dundas says. "We're embracing our designers as well as the retailers."
FWNOLA is one of several events encouraging the growth of the local fashion industry. NOLA Fashion Week (www.nola-fashionweek.-com) also returned this March for its third year and fifth season, providing Southern designers a platform to gain exposure, increase sales and network with industry professionals. — POLLY SAWABINI