Even before opening the doors to their highly anticipated retail space, The Runway
has been racing to put Lansing on the fast track to becoming a Midwest fashion mecca.
With a grand opening slated for Thursday, Oct. 9, The Runway welcomes the fashion-conscious and fashion-curious into a 3,000-square foot storefront filled with quality, Michigan-based apparel. Featured products laid out in flexible 10 x 10 boutique spaces include Trybe, Brightly Twisted, Lionblood and MP Fashion. Others are on the way as the showroom and the related fashion incubator capture attention.
"Retail and fashion aren't the first thing many of us think of when we think of downtown Lansing," says Jeff Henry, operator of The Runway. "This is an inspiration for others to follow suit, as well as a motivator for our fashion incubator tenants to reach for."
The showroom can accommodate up to 25 brands. In addition to general traffic, the showroom looks to attract buyers from boutiques and other fashion retailers.
"It's a great way for buyers to get a visual of what items may look like in a store," he says. "It's also a great way to show the talent that's here in Michigan and why we started The Runway in the first place."
Located on the ground floor of the renovated Knapp's Centre,
the showroom features all kinds of "wears" from sportswear to swimwear to street wear. A sweeping staircase leads to a 5,500-square-foot incubator on the second floor where up to 12 designers-in-residence and associate designers explore start-up businesses.
Anchor tenants enjoy private studio and office space, as well as shared resources to produce products. Associate designers can also access resources that include pressing and cutting tables, dress forms, industrial sewing machines, and the coveted OPTITEX's 2D and 3D software. Business planning and legal services are also available.
"We're focused on retaining talent and bringing industry and jobs here," says Henry. "We want to roll off the strength of manufacturing and return the Midwest to its history of making things."
Current designers-in-residence include Lawrence Hunt, Freshwater Apparel, LE&O, Allie Su Bridal, Swim Lively, Alex & Jayde Designs, Beauhawk, Lady Aitch, Bad Latitude and North Promontory. Economic development and organization support for The Runway comes through the Lansing Economic Development Corp. and LEAP. Major sponsors include Foster Swift and Peckham.
Source: Jeff Henry, Operations Manager, The Runway
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor