When I arrived at 2001 Market last weekend for a Philly Fashion Week show, my friends Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott — who started Philly Fashion Week in 2005 — were scrambling. The show was supposed to be open-air, and the weather wasn’t having it. So, Kevin and Kerry decided to move everything … to the parking garage.
It was humid, but they had the music going and a VIP room for us with champagne and wine. Everybody was there to see the spectacle. And, everybody was like, How are they gonna pull it off?
I met Kevin and Kerry when they got started. They were three years in; they told me their vision of bringing Philadelphia fashion prominence, to put a spotlight on Philadelphia. Before, New York designed it, but Philly manufactured it. Why would a designer have to have eyes on New York when there’s a place for them down here?
Philly Fashion Week is now 18 years old. They’ve done it at Liberty Place, the Seamen’s Church in Old City, the Sofitel, Live Casino, Hard Rock on Market Street. They’ve gotten different sponsorships and locations. Designers are local, but they also come from L.A., Europe.
They did a crack job. The show was a beautiful thing: the red carpet, three rows, 300 people in the parking lot. With them doing that, you’re going to see more designers follow suit. I do a lot of my photo shoots in parking lots; they’re starting a new trend right there.
When I saw Marc Jackson from the Sixers with the fedora on, I was like, “Get up and pose for me.”
The looks at 2023 Philly Fashion Week
Mont Brown, he calls his line Community Service. Mont’s a Southwest Philly record executive. His father was a well-known drug dealer; he wants to change the paradigm of his legacy. This outfit is Community Service’s athleisure look.
These were some Mad Max looks by Yazmine Ing.
Guests at a summer wedding by Brenda O’Lvis. The bride is there getting married, but you’re paying attention to them.
This Dell Scott gown is going to a holiday party — and stopping traffic. It’s a conversation piece.
This is a very ethnic look that Zipporaa is bringing to men’s mainstream. Just let the wind blow through you: In the past, only Versace would dare to do something like that.
There was so much 80s style: Community Service, Rabbit 3 (below), and Nagaya, with this breezy women’s suit.
Rabbit 3: This one was amazing — that 80s look, when women were whisking to the office with the big shoulder pads. They’re bringing that look back, taking that back to full length.
This car coat by Paragon Charisma is avant garde. Step out of your SUV in style.
In the humid parking lot, the air lifted through this dress by D’Marsh Couture. Eyes were rolling back when they saw this statuesque figure walking in that.
I brought my friend and model Megan Elkin. (You might remember her from my post about thrifting.) She’s wearing a bodycon cowl dress from Naomi Campbell’s latest collection.
Can’t leave you without a last look at Kevin Parker’s leather pants, with the flames at the bottom.
West Philly born and raised with a slosh of Brooklyn New York in between, Big Rube partnered with Mitchell & Ness in 2000 to help make it a global brand marketing and selling high-end vintage jerseys. He has been photographing Philly since 2009, including in a Daily News Column from 2011 to 2017. He’s also a chef, operating Chef Big Rube’s Kitchen seven days a week at Pitcher’s Pub in Manayunk, selling the best handmade food in a Main Street dive bar. MORE FROM BIG RUBE’S PHILLYMegan, my model, in a dress by Naomi Campbell.