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Destination by design: Fashion Week puts Santa Fe in national spotlight

It’s where art meets fashion.

For the sixth year, Santa Fe Fashion Week will host some of the hottest up-and-coming designers in the fashion world.

And creator Stephen Cuomo says the event continues to gain accolades.

“Santa Fe is already a destination when it comes to arts,” he says. “With Fashion Week, we’re expanding what Santa Fe has to offer. Fashion is a huge industry.”

The designers showing this year are “Project Runway” alums Richard Hallmarq, Ari South and Melissa Fleis.

Brit West, Robin Ross-Fleming, J. Ewing Design, Kathy Beale, Aaron Fust, Danielle Dacosta, Jennifer Degraaf and Ezra Estes.

Cuomo says West specializes in Western couture and jewelry, and her profile is rising in the industry.

“She’s a notable designer,” Cuomo says. “And I think part of what we do is being able to showcase the young designers. It’s exciting for the guests in the audience, and it’s a great opportunity to build.”

West is excited about showing in the event.

“Beautiful Western couture combining fine Italian leather, fur, silk,” West says of her work. “True event wear. Venetian linen and lace for a summer wear line, and of course reclaimed ranch leather with fine American turquoise sterling silver Native American jewelry accents complete the Brit West Line in True Western Couture.”

Like in previous years, Santa Fe Fashion Week features alums of the design competition “Project Runway.”

He says being able to build these relationships with designers is important to the success of Fashion Week.

Ari South appeared on the third season of “Project Runway All Stars.”

“My clothing is both sexy and feminine,” South says. “I am conscious of elevating the female form, and my intention is to draw the goddess out of all women.”

Cuomo says that about 90 percent of the models are local and that in the time leading up to the event, the models have been in a boot camp.

“The event is able to transport the attendees to another place,” he says. “We pay attention to every detail. You feel like you are in New York when you watch the shows.”