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Activate: Mass Appeal - INTERVIEWS

Photo Courtesy of Chuck Alaimo

blog by Morgan Culhane  • 

Photo courtesy of Chuck Alaimo

Mass Appeal takes fashion to a whole new level this year, with an interactive fashion experience from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center, 1685 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

The Elmwood Village Association’s signature fundraiser and Buffalo’s NYC-style fashion event, Mass Appeal features elite local boutiques, designers and artists in one of the most anticipated Buffalo runway shows of the year.

This year’s theme, “Activate: #PushGo,” promotes engaging with the community and using social media to keep guests involved in the show.

Prior to and during the show, guests are encouraged to use the hash-tag “PushGo” (#PushGo) when discussing the event on social media.

Tweets tagged appropriately will be projected on a wall for the audience to see—and to add to—but don’t pay too much attention to your phone as there is, in fact, a fashion show unfolding in front of your eyes.

Adding a slight regional touch to the event, fashion bloggers from Toronto have been invited to walk the runway and live-tweet the entire show. 

Inspired by the progressive nature of music festivals—especially how they push the envelope to create an interactive environment—Erin Habes (pictured above, left), the producer of Mass Appeal, weaved the musical inspiration into the sixth iteration of the local fashion event.

“Don’t just sit there, let’s make it happen,” Habes said, describing her mentality toward introducing the new twist.

“We want to connect people and get them excited about the show,” said Carly Battin (right), executive director for the Elmwood Village Association.

Guests have another reason to be excited as a camera feed from backstage will allow attendees to witness behind-the-scenes footage—not just the finished product.

Three models in the wearable art line will have a tiny GoPro camera embedded into their dresses to convey the whole process from backstage—from putting on their dress to walking down the runway. These videos will play at the after-party, which you can read about here.

Photo Courtesy of Chuck Alaimo

VIPs will have access to a special production before the fashion show, as Jax Deluca from Squeaky Wheel—who’s also one of Buffalo Spree’s Most Beautiful People for 2013—will present an interactive video from 6 to 8:30 p.m in the lush VIP lounge.

“This year, we will provide hyper-interactive experience with the Mass Appeal crowd, combining our fashion-forward event with a kinetic boost from major community influencers,” Battin said. “We want to inspire others to activate and make a positive change in our community.”

Seven influencers were selected to represent Mass Appeal on vibrant posters, and they’ll get the chance to walk the runway as well.

Photo Courtesy of Elmwood Village Association's website

Influencers include Sue Morreale, owner of Her Story Boutique; Justin Booth, executive director of GO Bike Buffalo; Ward Pinkel, owner of Urban Threads; Rahwa Ghirmatzion, development director of PUSH Buffalo and executive director of Ujima Theatre; Jim Montour and Alex Cornwell, co-founders of Community Canvas; and Battin.

From improving bike access through share lanes to keeping the streets clean to facilitating public art, these influencers are dedicated to improving the Elmwood Village community.

For greater depth on these major Elmwood figures, read Erin Scherer’s interview posts with Morreale and Pinkel, then with Ghirmatzion, Montour and Cornwell. Scherer’s chat with Booth and Battin will run on Buffalo.com Friday morning.

Now in its sixth year, Mass Appeal was created by Habes after she noticed the overwhelming interest in fashion at Buffalo State College’s Runway 1.0 event in 2008 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery where 2,500 people showed up and only 500 were admitted. Habes saw a simple opportunity she needed to capitalize on: Buffalo needed more fashion events.

Mass Appeal is not only an exciting event for fashionistas to attend but it’s a boon for Buffalo businesses. The show promotes shops and boutiques on Elmwood and pushes the “shop local” initiative. This year, 10 boutiques will participate in the fashion show, each featuring items you can buy in their stores as a preview for holiday shopping.

Habes is most excited for the opening segment, as it sets the tone for the entire show. With its highly interactive theme, it’s no surprise that the opening will start with something extraordinary. Keith Harrington—more frequently referred to as PROJEX (logo above, right)—will employ light mapping projection on the venue’s architecture.

“[Mass Appeal] is a potpourri of so many types of fashion,” Habes said. “It shows the variety Buffalo has to offer.”

Photo Courtesy of Chuck Alaimo

Not only is Mass Appeal compelling from a fashion and engagement standpoint, but the proceeds will be dedicated to beautifying Elmwood.

“It’s a production you can’t see anywhere else in Buffalo,” Battin said. “It’s one you won’t want to miss.”

Don’t wait too long to purchase your tickets because Mass Appeal sells out every year. Pre-party doors will open at 6 p.m. and the fashion show starts at 8:30 p.m.

General admission is $35 and VIP tickets are available for $125, which include preferred seating and access to the VIP lounge. To purchase tickets click here. For more information about the event, check out their Facebook event.

(Header photo courtesy of Chuck Alaimo, view the full gallery from last year’s show.)

TAGGED: carly battin, elmwood village, elmwood village association, erin habes, fashion, interviews, mass appeal, photos, pierce-arrow film arts center

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