South Style: In Two Fashion Events, Tacoma Struts Its Stuff This Weekend

NWT is far from a fashion mag, but we appreciate stand-out style. And fun. And two (very different) events in Tacoma this weekend look apt to please with a lot of both: Couture and Cars on Saturday, and Northwest Thrift-Con on Sunday. Plus, catch the ongoing Tacoma Night Market and explore some other vintage shopping while you’re there. 


Merging High-End Fashion & Collectors’ Cars  

First up is Couture and Cars, the second big event from Fashion District NW this year. It’s also the third iteration of this particular show, held the past two years at LeMay: America’s Car Museum.

In March, NWT attended Fashion Is ART, the previous show from Fashion District NW, and had a grand time. Held at Tacoma Art Museum, it was a mashup of fashion and other visual art forms, showcasing the high-end fashion of the wearables themselves, along with artistic renditions of them created with paints, sketches, and technology in real-time at the event.

This one looks to be a mashup in different form: pairing a more traditional fashion show with surroundings of classic and luxury cars in LeMay’s extensive collection. Featured designers are:

– Akrofi Adjumani: Seattle-based Ghanaian designer blends African-inspired and Western aesthetic, with designs inspired by nature, architecture, and his homeland, Ghana, and its culture.

– Dream Dresses by P.M.N.: Phuong Minh Nguyen designs alternatives to mass-produced bridal gowns by collaborating with her clients to create one-of-a-kind dresses.

– Gustavo Apiti Couture: born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tailor and designer Gustave discovered his love for fashion at the age of six, where he styled and created clothes for his sister’s dolls; after working with top fashion houses in South Africa establishing himself in Johannesburg, he traveled to the states and began working for Luly Yang.

– MiMi Wolfe: the Seattle-based, Ireland-raised, self-taught designer creates classic fits with over-the-top detailing; after winning the 2017 Red Carpet Designer of the Year at the Ville Northwest Fashion Awards at Seattle Style Night, she returns with what she calls her largest and most detailed collection ever.

– The Brin Project by Reshma: seeks to create versatile, classy, and timeless designs fusing Asia and the West.

The show is preceded by music from a DJ (along with wandering around the car museum, if admission is purchased) and followed by an after-party. Tickets start at $40 (or $45 at the door); info and tickets here.


Tacoma Night Market

On the third Saturday of every month, Tacoma Night Market takes over Alma Mater (at 1322 Fawcett Ave.) to host a gathering space of local artists and makers, punctuated with music, drinks and food. That third Saturday happens to be this weekend — a great time to stop by if you’re headed to Couture and Cars afterwards.

The event is free and all-ages, and runs from 5-9 pm; more info here.


Streetwear Designers & Thrift Finds Worth the Hunt 

After salivating over one-of-a-kind clothes and cars, you might be inclined to want some rare wearables you can actually buy. Northwest Thrift-Con has you covered — literally, perhaps.

This Sunday, vintage and streetwear dealers, designers, and aficionados come together at a giant sale, held both indoors and outdoors, along with food, drinks, and DJs. Organizers report over 40 dealers and designers are attending the event, held at Court House Square in downtown Tacoma, at 11th & “A” Street. Read more about the event and vendors in The Stranger’s blog here and here.

Admission is $5 at the door (kids under 12 free); info and RSVP here. You can also pay $10 to start shopping at 9 am, an hour before everyone else goes in.


While You’re There … 

Tacoma has some great shops to, well, shop around in. We haven’t been to most of them, so chart your own course — the wonders of The Internets can help. Here are a couple of NWT’s favorites.

Pure Vintage, located near Division Ave. (at 213 N. “I” Street), is a tiny shop packed to the gills with reasonably priced finds of all varieties (and, assuming they’re still residing there, two sweet store cats). The store itself is only open on Saturdays, from noon to 5 pm. But you can also find them in Seattle virtually every week at the Fremont Sunday Market, along with seasonal night market and other event appearances. They also have a large Etsy store (but note the in-person store and market stands tend to have a richer variety and lower prices than the online store). Read more about the store’s lengthy history as a family business here.

JankuLand, connected to King’s Books (at 218 St. Helens Ave.) is kind of like a vintage antique mall, hosting small collections from several vintage dealers, plus toys and records. Its selection varies, but it’s a fun browse — and you can hop over to the book store when you’re done.