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Strut Your Stuff at Kalamazoo Fashion Week

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MeLisa and Madeline Zackery

Passion and fashion will unite at Madeline's Modeling and Talent Agency's first-ever Kalamazoo Fashion Week. Set for Saturday, Sept. 13, through Saturday, Sept. 20, and held at venues throughout Kalamazoo, the event was created by mother and daughter duo Madeline L. and MeLisa C. Zackery.

A Kalamazoo resident since the age of 13, Madeline is the Executive Director of the agency, which she has owned and operated in Kalamazoo for more than 43 years. Born and raised in Kalamazoo, MeLisa now lives in Washington, D.C. where she is the CEO of Unlimited Possibilities Co., a corporate and social event planning company.

Their respective businesses and a love of fashion led the two women to organize the first ever Kalamazoo Fashion Week, also known as KFW.

"I wanted to showcase some of the local designers, unique boutiques, and stores within our community as well as my company's beautiful models and all the beautiful people we have in the city. I wanted to get back to days of the shows we use to do at Jacobson's and Gilmore's," Madeline said.

"In doing our research, we found there are many cities who have a fashion week and see thousands of dollars re-invested in their city. We can do all of that right here in Kalamazoo. Our vision is that every business owner, restaurant, designer, model, neighbor, friend, etc. can and will feel the benefits of KFW," MeLisa said.

Madeline said their goals for the event are to produce a high-quality, week-long event to spotlight fashion in and around the area for community enjoyment as well as increasing traffic and awareness of local businesses.

"We really have many great things planned," MeLisa said. "The community will be able to witness many great designers and see their friends and family model in shows. We also have themed events including a Fitness and Fashion show, which is sponsored by Kalamazoo's own Gazelle Sports; a Fashion 101 Seminar; and a Well Suited networking event, which is for aspiring and current business owners.

"At the Well Suited event, we are inviting and encouraging all Kalamazoo professionals to come so we are all able to meet one another as well as possibly spark new business relationships," she added.

Madeline agreed, saying attendees should expect "a very professional and exciting fashion extravaganza that celebrates creativity, culture, and community."

A sense of community is very important to Madeline and MeLisa.

"I live on the west side of Kalamazoo," Madeline said. "I love this location because it has wonderful public schools for the children in our neighborhood. It also has nice homes and quiet neighborhoods.

"I think Kalamazoo is a great place to live and we are proud to have the Kalamazoo Promise, which is such a blessing! It has a lot of potential."

Even though MeLisa now lives in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, she too is proud of her Kalamazoo roots.

"In D.C., people know that I love Kalamazoo!" she said. "I have and continue to represent the great city I am from. Kalamazoo is a great city that has great potential and great people."

The women hope that the community connects with their event as well. They hope to make the event a tradition in Kalamazoo, possibly twice a year to showcase spring and fall lines.

The majority of the KFW events are free; registration is suggested due to capacity limits at various venues. Ticketed events cost $20 online or $25 at the door and include food; advanced purchases are recommended.

For more information about the event, visit www.kalamazoofashionweek.com.

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