The Catwalk Comes to Dayton

Gem City Fashion Show

By Brian Sharp

Dayton is soon to be home to something new Fashion Week.  No, this is not the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as seen in New York, but rather, a smaller Midwest version.  However, CEO/Founder Junda Morris-Kennedy has high hopes.  She brings to the event some previous experience in other cities Fashion Weeks. Morris-Kennedy has a fashion background she has owned a modeling agency and worked as a talent scout.  She is no stranger to event planning and this is sure to be an event. Morris-Kennedy came to Dayton because of the transfer of her military husband.  According to Morris-Kennedy, What am I going to do in Dayton?  Through some research, she realized that Dayton had not experienced any kind of fashion week. Morris-Kennedy had been a Fashion Week volunteer and had worked in marketing and PR for the DC and Baltimore Fashion Weeks.

What do the events of Fashion Week look like?  There is a charity event kicking off the week, with benefits going to Hospice of Dayton and Clothes that Work.  This event will take place on Tuesday, July 24, from 5-9 p.m. at the Masonic Temple.  The charity event is sure to please with celebrity models like Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell and Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman. Daytons professional soccer team, the Dayton Dutch Lions, will also be seen on the runway.   As of press time, there are only 200 tickets available for this charity event.

Wednesday, July 25 will bring Fashion Week downtown.  This event seems to be more like a makeover event than a fashion show.  Nonetheless, you will be able to find models being prepped, live entertainment and a hair competition.  There will be photo shoots and food vendors.

Thursday, July 26 is the Dayton Fashion Week Kids Collective Showcase at Bainbridge Hall.  Morris-Kennedy says this will be a kids couture event featuring a runway show.  There are very few childrens couture designers in the world so this is sure to prove interesting.

Friday, July 27 is the Ready to Wear Showcase at the Dayton Convention Center.  According to the DFW website there is a fashion village including vendors like Coins for Me, AfriqGlam Nail Lacquer, Gillmart & Co and AM Victorious.

Saturday, July 28 is the Grand Finale Couture Runway Showcase at Dayton Convention Center. It opens at 5:00 p.m. The Runway show starts at 6:30 p.m. international, local and national designers on the runway.

The fact that Dayton Fashion Week information claims there are international, local and national designers made me want to know more.  There will be three inernational designers at the event Vigold Creation from Nigeria, Trish O Couture from Nigeria and 1847 & Co from Liberia.  Other featured designers are from Cincinnati, Columbus, Philadelphia, Indiana and Kentucky. The designers from the Dayton area include Tracy McElfresh, Amy Longo, LAmour Ameer, Jamila Jones, and Temiki Designs.  Additionally, there are boutiques represented like Joli, Pieces of Style, and Gillmart and Co.

Morris-Kennedy claims that the target audience ranges in age from 17 to 43.

Doing this in Dayton allows people to live their dreams, Morris-Kennedy said.

This show is for the fashion-savvy.  The charity event is for business leaders, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

When asked if this event is funded by sponsorships, Morris-Kennedy said that and money out of my own pocket. Morris-Kennedy says that she could not do this alone it takes a strong team.  She credits Event Manager Cindy Gabourey, Operations Director Caressa Brown, as well as Tameka Kent and Ed Dixon for working tirelessly on the event. There have been many meet-and-greet events throughout the area that gave attendees the opportunity to meet the models. She also says there is a press conference on July 27 where you can meet and speak to the designers and purchase their clothing. states The Dayton Fashion Week mission is to bridge the gap between national and international designers, premier retailers and prestige fashion media. The goal is to gain global exposure for Daytons emerging fashion industry. The event will set a new standard in terms of high-quality, New York-style runway shows complete with VIP seating, credentialed media access and upscale promotional and after-parties that will attract thousands.

I have worked in the fashion and retail industry in this area for 30 years, and I am well connected.  I have yet to find anyone within my fashion network who is going to this event, or even knows any of the details.  Clearly, this event still needs help getting the word out.  I am not sure how the word is really getting out, or to whom?  Based on the list of vendors/sponsors this seems to be an event with urban flair.

Dayton Fashion Week will be highlighting these designers and, according to press releases, some of these designers will be making International debuts. There are also industry seminars planned during this weeklong event.

While I do believe, with the experience Morris-Kennedy has from the other venues and her experience with event planning, there will be an event; I am just not convinced of its ability for success this first year. I am willing to be proven wrong.

Morris-Kennedy has worked hard to establish a team of professionals from outside the community to ensure the events success.  According to Facebook, to ensure that Dayton Fashion Week is every bit of the success it promises to be, Junda has assembled a world-class team of fashion experts to bring the City of Dayton an experience that it will never forget. Executive produced by MTVs MADE Coach and runway coach extraordinaire Kyle Haggerty (; Junda also has close bonds and friendships with Andres Aquino the director of New York Couture Week (, Sharon Nixon the CEO of Baltimore Fashion Week ( Mckinley Pierre the executive producer of Inside Couture Television in Miami, Fla. ( ) who are all active members of our Advisory Board.


Tuesday July 24

Fashion For A Cause- The Celebrity Run Way Presented by

The Dayton City Paper

$35     6-9 p.m.

The Dayton Masonic Temple located at 525 W. Riverview Ave., Dayton OH 45405.

This event will be emceed by Zuri Hall, host of WDTN channel 2’s “Living Dayton,” and chaired by Maha Kashani of the Dayton City Paper. This event will feature a Silent Auction, Entertainment and a local celebrity fashion show.


Wednesday July 25

Fashion In Downtown Festival Presented by Dayton Most Metro

$FREE     4-9 p.m.

Court House Square in Downtown Dayton located on the corner of Main Street between Third Street.

This event will feature fun and games for the entire family, featuring live entertainment, photo shoots, clothing and food venders and a hair show produced by Regency Beauty
School out of Cincinnati.

Thursday July 26

DFW’s Kids Fashion Collection
Presented by De’Lish Café

Adults $15 Kids $7  Starting at 5p.m.

The Bainbridge Hall located at 267 Bainbridge St., Dayton, Ohio 45402.

This event will feature some of the hottest designs for Children

Friday July 27

Ready To Wear Runway
Presented by Bob Ross FIAT

General Seating $35 VIP: $50    5 p.m.

The Dayton Convention Center located
at 22 E. Fifth St., Dayton, OH 45402

This event will feature local, national and International Designers and models.

 Saturday July 28

High Fashion Haute Couture Runway Presented by Bob Ross FIAT

General Seating $40 VIP $60    5 p.m.

The Dayton Convention Center located
at 22 E. Fifth St., Dayton, OH 45402

This event will feature local, national and International Designers and models.

 Reach DCP freelance writer Brian P. Sharp at

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