Writer Lara Piu
Photographer James Almanza

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he much-anticipated., three-day celebration of all things fashion—Phoenix Fashion Week—returns October 5 through 7 at Talking Stick Arena with its larger-than-life ode to style. Designed to bridge the gap between national and international designers, retailers and fashion media, the goal of the event is to raise visibility for Arizona’s fashion industry.

This year’s event will feature the latest prêt-a-porter, evening, resort collections, luxury sportswear, celebrity designer, high fashion swimwear, and accessories from nearly 35 local and global designers across 24 runway shows. Among 2017’s most notable established labels will be Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood and Katy Perry designer, Yas Couture.

The celebration will mark the close of its four-month designer boot camp where 19 emerging apparel and accessory designers worked with industry experts to prepare the launch of their collections. They’ll compete at Phoenix Fashion Week to be named the Emerging Designer of the Year in one three categories: lifestyle, contemporary or couture. Winners will be invited to market their collections on home shopping TV network, EVINE in spring 2018.

In another show competition, the Model of the Year contest winner will be announced. Before the show, model hopefuls participated in a four-month long race of print, social media, interview and several other modeling skill challenges. Each male and female Model of the Year award recipient will receive a contract to Agency Arizona.

In addition to the runway shows and awards, there will be fashion seminars led by industry legal, fashion and marketing experts. Among them is attorney Andrea Arndt who will share her expertise on how to legally protect designs. Audree López, formerly of Glamour, O, The Oprah Magazine, Marc Jacobs and other influential brands, will discuss the business of blogging. The founders of State Forty-Eight will share their knowledge on aligning brand and community.

All three nights, guests will be invited to shop in the Style Villa Marketplace where Phoenix Fashion Week designers will rub elbows with guests as they display and sell their designs.

Phoenix Fashion Week will give back to the community through Fashionably Pink, a celebrity and breast cancer survivor runway show to benefit Valley breast cancer charities. Celebrities and breast cancer survivors will strut pink inspired looks on the catwalk, each donated by retailers and designers. The night will include a red carpet experience, cocktail and food reception, live music and more.

Tickets for Phoenix Fashion Week can be purchased on its website.