Worlds collide during Fashion Meets Music Festival - Columbus Dispatch

A festival that merges music with fashion makes perfect sense, and it makes no sense at all.

Take the scene at the Fashion Meets Music Festival, the first of its kind, a three-day party of sound and style and clothing shows and concerts taking over the Arena District this Labor Day weekend.

Sorry, but there are contrasts too great to reconcile.

Thigh gaps and funnel cakes? High heels and a Ferris wheel? Sweaty bandanas and whatever-hundred-dollar haircuts? How are there women dripping in crystals in one place and two sweaty dudes using a rock to pound a tent stake into the ground in another? WHO WEARS A FISH SHIRT MADE ENTIRELY OF SEQUINS?

Maybe it’s better not to ask questions. It’s better not to wonder why so many glorious supermodels glom onto ragged rock stars. It’s best not to ponder Kanye West, rapper and fashion designer.

Just head out there, to Nationwide Boulevard, where a Ferris wheel popped up in the street, where the road is lined with food stands selling meatball subs and tater tots and Polish sausages, where strawberry daiquiris are sold out of a giant strawberry. Watch the people walk by in their wrinkled khakis and sneakers and their miniskirts and cowboy boots and guess who is fashion and who is music.

You might be wrong.

Over at the urban campground — a fenced-in dirt lot across from the old Columbus Municipal Light Plant, where the nonprincess types are resting their heads this weekend — Dayton residents Jon Copeland, 29, and Ben Fox, 28, propped up a canopy and said they’re here for the bands, particularly O.A.R. and Maps & Atlases. They talked about beer, too, and the 91 degrees it’s supposed to be today and the rain that’s supposed to drench them tonight. “We can’t prevent it,” Copeland said with a shrug.

And, in a shocking twist of events, they said they’re here to check out the fashion stuff, too.

But mainly the music.

The music arguably dominates this festival. There are stages and venues all over the place. FMMF boasts 120 musical acts in 15 spaces, including Ohio darlings O.A.R.; Michelle Williams, one of the non-Beyonce members of Destiny’s Child; and “one-hitter” wonder Afroman, best known for his 2001 single, Because I Got High. Local Natives are on the schedule, as are Future Islands and Cold War Kids. (R. Kelly, known as much for child-porn allegations as his music, was supposed to be here, but public outcry forced him off the bill.)

Don’t discount the fashion piece of this festival, though. Far from the 91-degree dirt lot, up in the air conditioning of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, models will walk runways and designers will talk about what inspired them and a woman might walk around wearing a T-shirt that says “Holy Chic.”

There’s plenty to buy, too: bow ties and Swarovski crystals and laser treatments. Or go to the display for Flower Child, where owner Joe Valenti offers vintage pieces that could teach a fashion student all he or she needs to know. “We are like what I would call a library of education,” Valenti said.

He’s got shoes that are covered in what might be yak fur. And silky ’70s glam pants and a heavy $225 cheetah-print coat. Or you can purchase that sequined fish shirt. It’s $129.50 and weighs approximately a ton. You can buy it and wear it on the Ferris wheel. Or show it off at the Afroman concert.

Or you can wear it as you belly up to the funnel-cake truck and order one of those fatty plates of dough.

Be careful, though. Fashion and music might blend well, but grease and sequins never do.


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