Sophomore Jared Axelowitz didn’t realize a new Facebook profile picture his senior year of high school would lead to him walking the runway at D.C. Fashion Week two years later.
A modeling development agency contacted Axelowitz via Facebook after his profile picture garnered more than 100 “likes.” Axelowitz said he didn’t believe at first that the modeling agency had meant to recruit him.
“I didn’t think it was real at first, but I looked it up and ended up meeting with them,” he said.
On Friday, Axelowitz — who is studying psychology — walked in D.C. Fashion Week’s menswear show, which featured local D.C. designers and worldwide brands presented by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. Some designers have been presenting at D.C. Fashion Week for years, but others were showing collections for the first time.
And it was also a first of Axelowitz: He had never before walked in a fashion week show.
“I think it’s really an amazing opportunity for exposure,” Axelowitz said.
To be considered as a model for the show, Axelowitz submitted an online application including a headshot, a full-body photo and statistics including his age, height, waist measurements and chest measurements.
The preparation process before fashion week included fittings and rehearsals, Axelowitz said. Even though he had never walked in a fashion week show before, the process felt natural because he had attended a modeling convention and taken classes.
“Even though I’ve never walked in D.C. Fashion Week before, this idea of practice, fittings, projecting yourself, being very aware of your body and your walk and practicing in front of 200 people and maybe messing up in front of 200 people is a very familiar feeling,” Axelowitz said.
The night before the show, models attended a networking party for everyone involved in the week. Axelowitz said that seeing the models walk the runway at the party made him most excited to participate in the show.
“When I saw them walk, I was so pumped because I thought, ‘That’s going to be me tomorrow night,’” he said.
Ean Williams, the founder of D.C. Fashion Week, kicked off the menswear show with presentations featuring stores with locations in Reagan and Dulles airports. Most of the styles were preppy, classic suit and tie combinations from designers like Brooks Brothers, Vineyard Vines and Thomas Pink.
The show then showcased six designers from the D.C. area. The collections ranged from loungewear and men’s intimates to handcrafted ties in a variety of patterns.
Axelowitz walked in three designers’ shows: Brooks Brothers, ElegantErkel and KAS Collection. He said that when he first the saw the clothing he would later wear for the KAS Collection, he hoped he would get to model the outfit.
“All of the pieces in that collection were so elegant and powerful,” he said. “Before the show the designer checked to see who was wearing the coat I got to wear, so you could tell he really wanted to show it off. That was really exciting to hear.”
Kenny Flanagan, the designer of KAS Collection, was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the end of the menswear show. The designer, who has dressed celebrities like Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Trey Songz, said he was inspired to create exceptionally well-crafted clothing that is classic with a twist.
After the show, Flanagan approached Axelowitz, complimented him on his professionalism and said he hoped to work with him again, Axelowitz said. Axelowitz said he was “flabbergasted” to hear that the designer wanted to work with him again.
You can expect to see Axelowitz on the runway at D.C.’s next fashion week, the student model added.
“Overall, it was a really amazing experience,” he said. “You gain so much from participating, and I would definitely do it again.”