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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

And ignorance claims another victim - Matthew Meltzer.

In his bashing of Gainesville Fashion Week, Meltzer failed to recognize the point of the event. He claimed that festivals have to do with the city they're located in, and that Gainesville isn't synonymous with "fashion."

All right then, let's test his logic. If this isn't Gainesville, Germany, why do we have a beer festival? If it isn't the 16th century, and we don't live in Eastern Europe, why have a Hoggetowne Renaissance Faire? Sounds to me like Meltzer wants to get rid of all the fun.

The purpose of Gainesville Fashion Week is not the same as "America's Next Top Model" or "Project Runway." Models aren't walking the catwalk to get noticed by Vogue, and designers aren't auditioning for Heidi Klum. The purpose of GFW is to provide an outlet for artists to showcase their work.

Besides that, GFW presents an opportunity for members of the community to come together and celebrate, just as an art show would. Make-up artists paint on dramatic faces; stylists sculpt outrageous hairdos. Professional models and local faces alike strut down the runway. Local painters and photographers gather to display their artwork around GFW venues and cheer each other's hard work.

While all of this is going on, both student and professional photographers are shooting photos. Why, you ask? Certainly not for compensation or recognition, but just for one common goal - the right to express themselves.

The point is that these people who are contributing to Gainesville Fashion Week are doing something great for the community without any ulterior motives. After all, art and the freedom of expression bring people together and unite the community. GFW is promoting harmony between the people and businesses involved, and it helps local artists gain feedback and experience.

By stereotyping GFW as "a seven-day collection of No. 15 jerseys and Urban Meyer gameday polos," you are not only cheapening a wonderfully done event, but contributing to the small-mindedness this town needs to get away from.

Seriously, what ever happened to the idea that college towns are supposed to represent the truest marketplace of ideas? After all, Gainesville isn't just a small town; it's a collection of people from all walks of life. I challenge you, Matthew Meltzer, and those who think like you, to step outside of your bubble and realize that just because we live in a small town, it doesn't mean we have to act like we're going to be stuck here forever.

Nicole Dambro is a journalism and communications senior.

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