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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

When you throw a festival of some sort, typically it is supposed to be in a location that has something to do with what the festival is about.

Like Coffee Week in Seattle or Mugging Week in Detroit. Things synonymous with that city.

This must be the logic, then, behind the first annual Gainesville Fashion Week. Because Lord knows, when I think haute couture, the first place that comes to mind is North Central Florida.

Now, I understand that some of the party promoters here in Gainesville like to try to give our little college town the occasional upscale vibe. This is why I am constantly getting Facebook invitations to events claiming to be "High Society," while the next sentence tells me there are $2 shots of Old Crow if I go before 11. But honestly, folks, Fashion Week? That's kind of like having West Virginia Culture Week or the Utah Diversity Festival. Outside of a handful of kids I've met here from Miami and our inexplicable Long Island transplant population, I haven't met a whole lot of people in Gainesville who could tell a Prada loafer from a ProWing.

So given the fact that our city has about as much fashion sense as an emu double-fisting handles of Jack Daniels, one has to ask, "What exactly is Gainesville Fashion Week going to entail?"

I mean, a seven-day collection of No. 15 jerseys and Urban Meyer gameday polos doesn't exactly constitute a Fashion Week. Nor does bringing in models to sport whatever Tim Tebow fellatio the university has decided would look good on a T-shirt. Heidi Klum rocking "The Promise"? I'm thinking cover of next month's Vogue. And really, can any town that has more jean shorts per capita than it does cell phones really be mentioned next to the word "fashion"? Even if it could, you really think all the A-list designers are immediately going to start embracing the monumental regression in fashion that is the jort? I don't even think there's a word for it in Italian. It's too horrific a thought.

Why do I get the feeling that a year from now we're not going to be seeing models strutting through Miami in $1,000 Versace jorts and a pair of Cavalli flip-flops? Why am I thinking that "frat boy couture" is not going to be the next big thing in Milan?

"Hello, Harry? This is Salvatore Ferragamo. How soon can we come out with a line of T-shirts from frat parties that happened two years ago? That long? OK, what about leg warmers and Uggs? Think we can do that faster? I have to get on this before de la Renta, or we'll be a laughingstock next month in New York."

Perhaps someone is hoping Vera Wang will decide to come out with a line of blue and orange sundresses, who knows?

Maybe this will be the start of something big. Maybe Donna Karan will see the fashion revolution that is the jean short and decide to set up shop at Oaks Mall right between the beauty supply store and Gator Mania. Maybe Gucci will follow suit and open a location next to Balls. And maybe those expensive ads with shop locations on the bottom will someday read "Rodeo Drive, Bal Harbour, Butler Plaza." But somehow, I doubt it.

Somehow I think this column is really more of a collection of all the jokes that have been going through everyone's heads since they heard the term "Gainesville Fashion Week."

Whoever is promoting this, I appreciate your effort. But maybe next time take a clue from the people who tried to promote Ohio Championship Month, and pick something a little more appropriate.

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Matthew Meltzer is a journalism graduate student.

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