It’s no secret that Boston has never stood out as a leader in the fashion world - and GQ rating the city as the worst dressed in the nation last year didn’t exactly help improve its image.
But as Boston prepares to celebrate its second Fashion's Night Out Thursday night, which is expected to dwarf last year’s turnout, it’s hard not to ask: Is the Hub’s fashion sense getting better?
According to Richard Villani, co-producer of Fashion’s Night Out and a style expert who has worked for the likes of Vogue and Vanity Fair, the city is well on its way to being dressed-to-kill.
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"I really think Boston is trying to find its fashion footing, and I think the GQ story last year really made people step up their game," Villani said.
The fashion-forward magazine dubbed the Hub as the "worst dressed city" in 2011, blaming undergrads who love to rock the hoodies, leggings, Uggs and sportswear. But as comfortable as those clothes may be, it seems the city is eager to teeter out of the closet with trendier, edgier styles.
And according to Villani, Fashion Night Out is a perfect place to test the waters.
"I’ve seen a huge change in the last few years. I think people are now learning what style is, and how style works. They don't always get it right, but they’re trying. And I’ve already heard people saying, 'I can't wait to wear my new look at Fashion's Night Out,'" he said.
The idea for the stylish event was bred in New York City, and spearheaded by fashion tastemakers Vogue Magazine, CFDA and NY & Co. After getting its start in New York city in 2009, the event has spread globally, and to over 300 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and as of last September, Boston.
On Thursday evening, neighborhoods across the city will awaken with runways, music, artwork, champagne, film screenings, and more.
But the meat of the night, of course, will be the styles showcased by a plethora of local designers and retailers. And since fashion is always evolving, Fashion's Night Out will help keep it mobile - The Fashion Truck will be parked at Downtown Crossing.
The truck is a shining example of the kind of forward-fashion thinking sweeping the city in recent years, a boutique on wheels started by a trendsetter looking to get her fashion career rolling - literally.
One local fashion industry expert has no doubt that more aspiring designers and fashion retailers have plenty of room to grow in Boston.
"(Fashion) students need to find a place that they can call home. If they’re used to the area, and feel comfortable here, then they should look at the colleges here," said Kathleen Evans, chair of Fashion and Retail Management and Interior Design at The New England Institute of Art.
"That will give them the opportunity to grow Boston’s fashion from the inside; open their own boutiques. The city has a very entrepreneurial spirit."