fashionSPARK ignites with 12th annual fashion show

A model wears Forest Tomlin during fashionSPARK at SPARKcon // Photo by Erin Duncan

fashionSPARK’s “Wear What You Are” runway show featured 10 local designers and a hip-hop performance by an ‘Ace.’

Fashion returned outdoors in downtown Raleigh over the weekend when the fashionSPARK “Wear What You Are” runway show got underway Friday night. fashionSPARK — one of the 14 “sparks” at SPARKcon, the four-day event in Raleigh that celebrates creativity in every realm — continues to glitter year after year. You can see photos from the show here.

[Related: Catch up on SPARKcon via social media.]

One of the things that was different this year? Just the fact the runway was set over a body of water. No biggie. The show was held outside of the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at Lichtin Plaza, which made for a dazzling platform. Last year’s show was at CAM Raleigh.

fashionSPARK was held outside over a fountain. // Photo by Erin Duncan.

Audience members witnessed a diverse blend of talent, from designers to models to performers. Even Mary-Ann Baldwin — co-founder of Innovate Raleigh — hit the runway!

10 designers displayed their work with the help of some showstopper models and production talent behind the scenes. The audience could also vote after the show for their favorite designer. The People’s Choice winner was Morgan Wilkins.

fashionSPARK opened with an ‘Ace’

An Ace Henderson performance kicked off the show, with the song “Runaway” creating the perfect segue into the looks of lifestyle brand Runaway, which showed off its signature stylish streetwear.

Julkee Fashion may have stolen the show with its exquisitely elegant gaze-worthy collection of modern Indian clothing. You may have also recognized Forest Tomlin, back this year showcasing a dreamy infused line with exquisite attention to detail.

Julkee at fashionSPARK.
Off the shoulder party dress by Julkee. // Photo by Erin Duncan.

Before the runway show, fashionSPARK held the Jewelry and Accessory Trunk Show featuring handcrafted gems and fashionista flair. Keep your eye out for Danielle James of DJ Metals and Marcia Spencer of Keechii Bags for their inspired designs.

The outdoor event inspired an extra dose of creativity and connection between both the audience and performers palpable in the downtown Raleigh air. Guests ended the night toasting at rustic-chic Bare Bones down the street, culminating in the very spirit of the Raleigh community and rising top talent.

Previous fashionSPARK participants include Raleigh Denim, Zac Schell and Payton-Alexis. For more information on fashionSPARK or to learn how to be a part of next year’s event, visit


Want to keep up with what's up in the Triangle?
Sign up for our newsletter.