A shift in leadership at Kansas City Fashion Week is expected to emphasize the brand’s commitment to showcasing and promoting local and national talent within the industry, its outgoing executive said.
“The future of the fashion industry in Kansas City is in the best possible hands,” said co-founder and CEO Philip Willoughby, announcing the sale of Kansas City Fashion Week to the organization’s president, Teisha Barber. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Teisha is becoming a national leader in the fashion industry and is bringing national focus to our local industry stakeholders,” Willoughby continued.
During the past 13 years, co-founders Willoughby and Barber have built KCFW into a prominent platform for designers, models, and fashion enthusiasts, they said.
“I firmly believe in the incredible potential of our local fashion community and the transformative power of this event,” said Barber, who now serves as owner and CEO. “My goal is to further cultivate the creative talents in our region, nurture meaningful industry connections, and create an unforgettable experience for fashion enthusiasts worldwide.”
Barber intends to introduce innovative initiatives, forge strategic partnerships, and enhance the overall experience for attendees, designers, sponsors, and media partners, she added.
View this post on Instagram
In February, the KCFW leaders announced that Jennifer Lapka, founder of Rightfully Sewn, would help lead its non-profit arm, the Fashion Arts Fund — which provides catalyzing support to Kansas City fashion designers through scholarships, workshops, and mentorships. Willoughby is expected to continue his work with the Fashion Arts Fund.
The annual two-week event features local, national, and international designers, who partner with models, photographers, stylists, and make-up artists to showcase their collections on the runway.
Following each event, individual buyers can purchase apparel and accessories worn by models on the runway.
This year’s CFDA event is scheduled for Sept. 16-23 at Union Station, with Kansas City Fashion Weekend planned for July 21-23.