Budding upstate fashionistas needn’t take the train down to the Big Apple anymore to experience Fashion Week-worthy glitz and glamour. That’s because we have our own catwalk now—and it’s really starting to heat up. It all began in 2018, when Schenectady native Mike Schinnerer founded Stitched: The Capital’s Fashion Experience, a fashion spectacular that highlights local designers’ work on the runway, all the while raising money for good causes. Schinnerer, who serves as its executive director, and his team first presented their fashion week concept at Albany’s Times Union Center this past September—to rave reviews. “After spending 18 years entertaining the Capital Region with large-scale collaboration projects and events,” Schinnerer says, “I was glad to assemble a team to bring fashion to the big stage of the Times Union Center.”
Schinnerer, who also produces fashion editorials on his website, is no fashion industry novice, having worked with supermodels such as Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks while serving as art director at Sports Illustrated in the ’90s. (He also did turns at national publications such as The Source and Maxim.) But he’s spent the last two decades working to develop the fashion industry in the Capital Region, organizing the Volume! Fantasy Hair + Makeup Competition, as well as smaller shows at The National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs. His crowning achievement though is Stitched, which he has deemed the largest fashion event in the region’s history and last year benefited the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region. In February, Stitched presented the Forever Young Fashion Show, featuring children and teens dressed in motorcycle-punk styles, to benefit Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood at Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY.
Clearly, Stitched is just getting started. “I’ve had preliminary talks with Teddy Foster at Universal Preservation Hall and have had several venues and partners reach out with great interest,” Schinnerer says. “We’ll let the coronavirus play out, and that will provide a better idea of the possibilities ahead. We look forward to making fashion matter in Upstate New York.” High hopes for high fashion in the Capital Region? Count us in.