Crystal Bridges hosts one-day fashion event focusing on diversity

This event started with educational panels on Saturday afternoon talking about social and environmental issues related to fashion.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Although the event is called Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week, the one-day event began on Saturday, Nov. 12, with educational panels covering social and environmental issues related to fashion.

In one of the panel discussions, leaders discussed beauty standards in fashion and cosmetics. A Walmart representative spoke about the importance of being inclusive in merchandising.  

“We have to represent those customers or they’re going to go somewhere else, right? So, I mean, we talk about the importance of people as customers but also people in the room making decisions about how to serve those customers,” said Sonia Spinks, the senior director of merchandise operations for Walmart. 

Spinks says Walmart Beauty aims to be intentional about serving all customers.  

RELATED: Crystal Bridges hosts fashion symposium spotlighting inclusivity

RELATED: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gives speech at Crystal Bridges

“It’s always been important to serve all customers but when you have a plan in place that your supplier partners understand, you know diversity and inclusion isn’t just the right thing to do,” Spinks explained. “It’s also good for business, and when you are intentionally planning those things, you see the results and it’s so exciting.”

This fashion show is the 6th annual Fall Fashion Week and the first time to be partnering with Crystal Bridges. With the event being so close to the midterm elections, this year’s campaign is the “Model Citizen.” This event was also Interform’s big fundraising event—raising money through ticket sales (that sold out) and all profits will go towards “Emerge,” an in-residence program.

“We wanted to put together a campaign that encouraged people to exercise their civic duty and vote but then also make it fashion,” Zack Ridenoure, the creative and communication director at Interform said. “We did what we could and now we have changed it to move towards diversity.”

The fall fashion designers are from the “Emerge” designer residency program. Through the program, Interform highlights local designers and is said to have one of the most diverse runways.  

“We have a standard of diversity at interform, that each show has multiple races, ethnicities, sizes, ages… that way, whenever you see a show, you’re also possibly yourself in that as well,” Ridenoure said.  

Interform says it will host its next “Emerge” program in the spring.