Never-before-seen designs will be the main feature at this year’s Alamance Arts Fashion Show. 

As a nonprofit organization, Alamance Arts holds annual fundraisers in order to continue operations and provide art programs for the district through classroom visits, artist lectures and other exhibits. 

When thinking about the annual fall fundraiser, the organizers, including Lindsey Mitchell, Alamance Arts’ business administrator, were inspired by the fashion illustrations by Kenneth Paul Block currently on display. The unique and elegant 1950s illustrations inspired organizers to hold a high fashion show.  

Deceased designer Kenneth Paul Block, inspired the Alamance Arts Fashion Show with his illustrations. Photo courtesy of Betty Morgan.

Betty Morgan, former Elon University associate professor of political science and policy studies and relative of Block, decided to collaborate with Alamance Arts after inheriting Blocks work in 2016. The designs were preserved and are now entered into a foundation established in Block’s honor, The Kenneth Paul Block Foundation. 

Alamance was elected as the first place to host this exhibit because of the personal significance of Alamance county to Morgan, but also because of its connection and location in the fashion world. 

Alamance county has been Morgan’s home for 27 years while serving as a faculty member at Elon.

“It seemed like a really great and receptive place to do a show,” she said. “Alamance Arts is phenomenal working partner. They are so supportive of those coming in to do work with them, so we have loved this partnership to insure that a lot of people see this show.” 

Morgan says it’s important for people to continue to see Block’s work because of everything his illustrations represent in showing the evolution of women in the 1950s. “His work was really aspirational. He illustrated women emerge as powerful, in charge, confident, out in the world doing things they wanted to do.”

Block was selective when choosing models to make sure he was finding women who were confident in themselves. “He wanted [models] who were in charge of who they are,” Morgan said. 

According to Mitchell, Block’s high fashion illustrations inspired her team to choose a fashion show as the fall fundraiser. Alamance Arts recruited Beth Pilger, a fashion designer located in Brooklyn, New York, to design for the show on Oct. 27.

“Our hope is that you will feel like you are in a huge city at fashion week,” Mitchell said. “Beth Pilger’s designs were perfect for our idea because she doesn’t design ready-wear, but very unique and sustainability-inspired designs.”

Fifteen models will walk the runway wearing Pilger’s new line, inspired by low-country Charleston. 

“She really stands out, especially in the city setting in New York — her designs are just so unique,” Mitchell said.

A native West Virginian, Pilger aims to draw from her Southern roots in all her designs. Each of Pilger’s collections focus on sustainability while drawing from the natural environment around her. She aims to incorporate patterns and materials from the natural world in her fashion. 

The audience can expect to see lots of texture and color in the Alamance Arts Fashion Show. The show will feature never-before-seen designs that will debut on the runway at 4 Seventeen, a warehouse event space in Graham, North Carolina, on Oct. 27. Mitchell said she chose 4 Seventeen as the location for the event because it’s the perfect place to display unique fashions in the skinny warehouse room, which will function perfectly as a runway. After the debut, the line will then travel the country for other fashion shows. 

The event starts at 7 p.m. and will begin with a cocktail hour, where both Margaret’s Boutique of Graham and Lush Designs Jewelry will each have five people modeling local fashion. Pilger is the only designer for the main fashion show.  

The fashion show is Alamance Arts’ Fall Fundraiser that helps fund art programs in Alamance school systems. These programs include plays and bringing local artists to classrooms for workshops. 

General Admission tickets cost $75 and include one seat, access to the silent auction, beer and wine and light hors-d’oeuvres. 

The VIP experience is $315 for a front row seat, premiere beer, wine and liquor, access to the VIP lounge with seated dining and an extensive hors-d’oeuvres buffet. Only 60 VIP tickets are available.