FAIRMONT — Kelvin Renaldo is facing his fears by showing his own fashion collection for the first time at a fashion event that bears his name.
The Fairmont Heritage Park in Fairmont will be the setting March 9 and March 10 of Renaldo’s Styleweek, a show that benefits local charities and was inspired by New York Fashion Week.
After showing for five years, Renaldo said he was intimidated by the other designers in the show, but he is ready this year.
“I’m so proud of what I’ve done,” he said.
Renaldo’s collection is titled “Frozen Pharaoh.” A lot of the clothes are inspired by Egyptian colors and designs, he said. All of the them he stiched together himself. It’s a 32-look collection and geared toward men and women from ages 7 to 70.
“I consider the collection a family collection,” he said.
Renaldo has experience in working major shows. He was a stylist for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
“I was kind of like a gofer,” he said with a laugh. “But you do get a lot of experience. You get a chance to meet designers and you’ll see their craft.”
His desire to work in the fashion world was born when he was young.
“I knew in the seventh grade that I wanted to be a fashion designer,” Renaldo said.
The Fairmont native grew up during the time when tobacco and textiles were the main attractions. After that there wasn’t much left to do in the town, he said.
He told his parents he wanted to be a fashion designer and they told him if he could find someone in Fairmont who had made it big in fashion, he could do it, Renaldo said.
“I couldn’t find anybody that was, so I went to Howard University and majored in math,” he said. “But fashion has always been a part of my life.”
Renaldo taught himself about fashion and began doing shows after leaving high school. They were small events at local venues, but he wanted to do something bigger for his town.
“In the arts, we really don’t have much going on,” he said about Fairmont. “What my idea was is to do something different.”
What he did different is create a show that brings designers from all across the Southeast and East Coast of the United States to Robeson County.
One of the things that will set his show apart from other shows in the state is the diversity in his models, Renaldo said. A total of 68 models will be featured in the shows and many are county residents.
Alexander Saunders is one of the models in Renaldo’s show. He has worked in New York Fashion Week and has appeared in an ad for Apple.
“Personality is definitely something they look for,” Saunders said about designers.
Renaldo is responsible for providing the models from which designers can choose.
That can be tricky. Designers are particular about what they want in their shows and Renaldo must produce that, he said.
“One of the things we have to do here is teach our models how to walk,” he said. “Designers want a regular New York runway walk. They want you to showcase their gowns or their outfits.”
The outside show seats 300 people and will be under a tent. An opening reception for VIPs, Local Artist Showcase, Day of Service and Media kicks off the three-day event of runway shows, product launches, red carpet arrivals, gifting suites, performances and designer showcases. The week will end with a masquerade ball.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. on March 9. Tickets for the show are $25 for regular seats and $50 for the VIPs. The kids show will begin at noon on March 10. Regular tickets are $15 and $25 for VIP’s. The Finale Show will be that evening at 7. Tickets are $25 for regular seats and $50 for the VIP seating.
Go online to www.renaldostyleweek.com to register and to buy tickets.
Proceeds will benefit Swey, the Beautiful Project and and the TDA7 Scholarship fund. Swey is a nonprofit based in Fairmont that holds a summer art camp each year. The Beautiful Project is an organizational that encourages young African American women by using photography writing and reflective workshops. The TDA7 Scholarship is a scholarship started by the family of Tyreke Addison.
“I want people to come out and support the show, support the efforts of what we are doing to bring culture to a desert land,” he said.
Tomeka Sinclair can be reached by phone at 910-416-5865 or by email at [email protected]