the fashion talks revives cleveland’s fashion scene

Photo by Mia Ostrovska
Photo by Mia Ostrovska

When you think of fashion, you think of New York City. Fashion entrepreneur Aimon Ali wants to change that. Her new business venture, The Fashion Talks, is reviving Cleveland’s fashion scene and making strides to incorporate diversity and inclusivity into the city’s creative sphere.

Originally a psychology major from Canada, Aimon Ali explored the fashion industry as a hobby during school and before long, she was involved with fashion show productions in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. After moving, Ali was curious about Cleveland fashion.  “I didn’t see the same fashion scene or level of production in terms of events as I did in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal,” Ali recounts. “But I was meeting amazing people and getting inspired by the amazing things I was seeing.” Her plan? To start a fashion conference. Then COVID-19 hit. Finally, in February 2021, Ali got a team together. Although most of them had no experience in fashion, everyone believed in Ali’s vision. They planned and executed their first fashion show in just four months. 

It’s not the first time that someone has attempted to cultivate a fashion scene in Cleveland. In the past, Cleveland Fashion Week was a way for local creatives to promote their work through various events. However, the initiative ended in 2016. When starting The Fashion Talks, Ali did some research. “No one else is doing fashion week here,” she noted. “Why? Columbus is doing it. [The Fashion Talks] is either going to fail because no one’s interested, or it’s going to go great because no one’s doing it.”

On July 31, The Fashion Talks hosted its first Cleveland fashion show. Complete with Instagram-worthy photo-ops, mini-magazine favors and a pop-up shop, it was more than just a fashion show. Taking place at the minimalist industrial venue The Madison, over 300 guests entered fashion wonderland in this immersive experience. The main event, the fashion show itself, boasted 10 designers and 45 models. During the show, Cleveland singer/songwriter Siena took to the stage with local ballerinas. At its conclusion, the show featured several Cleveland women who have made a difference in the city.

So what makes The Fashion Talks different from past Cleveland fashion ventures? Aimon Ali and her team wanted to focus on using their platform to uplift Cleveland creatives in an open and welcoming environment. “Our main focus is bringing elevated and diverse fashion to Cleveland,” Ali explains. “Coming to Cleveland and not being confident going to an event, wondering if people will talk to me even though I look different… it was a huge blow for me. I’ve never felt that way before. I met another friend here, who was also a minority, who felt that way as well. And we shouldn’t feel that way.” 

At its core, The Fashion Talks is meant to bring the Cleveland community together to experience fashion at a level that they could experience in a bigger city like New York City or Toronto. A huge part of this vision is ensuring that there is diversity in models, designers and the audience at The Fashion Talks events. 

After just one event, The Fashion Talks is successfully on its way to reviving the Cleveland fashion scene. With sponsorships from companies like Keurig Dr Pepper, Intercontinental Hotels Group and Pinecrest among others, Aimon Ali says that the team is already meeting and surpassing many of her five year goals. “I didn’t expect it all,” Ali reflects. “I still don’t think it’s fully hit me.” 

Now that its first event was such a success, what can we expect from The Fashion Talks? Ali is planning the next show for this summer. She wants to increase its audience, secure an awe-inspiring venue, and see what she can do with more time to plan the show. 

Kent State students can get involved with The Fashion Talks as well. The brand is currently looking for interns for social media, marketing, graphic design, business admin/community outreach and photography/videography. Reach out to their Instagram to apply. 
We are beyond excited to see what the team at The Fashion Talks has in store for the future of Cleveland fashion. For more information, visit their website here.

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Hi, I’m Grace Avery, the Editor In Chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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