Market Visit: StyleWeek Northeast and Imperial Pearl in Providence, R.I.



Pearls and fashion in Providence? Yes, that’s what happened over my weekend when I checked out a growing fashion week event held in Rhode Island

I spent this weekend with my pearl family at Imperial in Providence, R.I., instead at home with my hubby and dogs. Why forgo Philadelphia for New England at the height of my busy season—January to June, when the bulk of the fine jewelry shows I cover take place? Because my dear friend Kathy Grenier asked me to join a contingent of fashion bloggers (Kathy wanted a “jewelry person” there) to attend the Providence, R.I.–based StyleWeek Northeast, Feb. 23–27, that Imperial was sponsoring. (When Kathy, a brilliant marketing and merchandising mind, asks, the answer is always yes.)

StyleWeek Northeast is a 7-year-old endeavor created by Rosanna Ortiz, whom I met through a mutual friend in 2009. At the time, Ortiz was just getting StyleWeek Providence, its name at the time, off the ground, and since then, it’s come a long way. StyleWeek Northeast by Imperial (its name for this week because of the sponsorship) is a biannual five-day schedule of clothing shows by emerging and established fashion designers who opt for the intimacy of a smaller-town affair instead of the big—ahem, financial—commitment that New York City Fashion Week demands.

Imperial Pearl sponsored the event for a number of reasons. It’s a local happening that calls positive attention to the city in which Imperial is based. It directly places fine jewelry into the fashion space—jewelry’s ongoing mission is to drive home this significance—and it gives Imperial a timely opportunity to celebrate a recently cemented relationship with Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, who is serving as the face of Imperial. Imperial even persuaded Culpo to attend (see photo).

“We were excited about participating for the Rhode Island element, but also to see the merge of clothing and jewelry as art,” explained Josh Bazar, chief marketing officer of Imperial, to me over the weekend. (Imperial gave several participating design houses some faux pearls to use in outfits.)

Check back tomorrow when I dive into the details of the weekend.

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Peter Bazar, president of Imperial; Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe and brand ambassador for Imperial; and Josh Bazar, chief marketing officer of Imperial, at StyleWeek Northeast by Imperial (photo by Sara Zarrella Photography)

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