For the past decade, fashion and philanthropy have come together at Syracuse Fashion Week.

Lisa Butler is the driving force behind the event. A clothing designer, she has owned shops in Manlius and downtown Syracuse, specializing in custom couture, special occasion gowns, and wedding gowns.

“My background is not only in design, but in theatre, so I love doing shows,” said Butler. “Back in 2010, somewhere around there, I started doing fashion shows for myself. During the shows, people would come up to me and say, ‘I’d like to join your show, I’m a designer or I have a small boutique.’ And I would say, ‘Of course, let’s do shows together!’ It organically grew from that.”

Not long after, she organized the very first Syracuse Style show, and, when that became “a big success,” it transitioned into a large outdoor show in Armory Square.

“We did those for a couple of years, then I said to myself, ‘Syracuse needs a fashion week,’” said Butler. “Rochester has a really successful one. Albany had a couple of small shows. Buffalo did. So, I put together a group of people, our first committee, at the end of 2013, and then we did our first fashion week in the spring of 2014. That’s how it all started.”

Now held twice a year, Syracuse Fashion Week’s spring show is scheduled for April 11-13 (there is a description of each event in the box on the right). Tickets for all three can be purchased in advance on, but don’t wait too long; the underground show and the gala both sold out last year.

Beyond its glitz and glamour, Syracuse Fashion Week has remained committed to supporting the Food Bank of Central New York since its inception, with proceeds totaling more than $20,000.

“They come to the shows, and they give a small talk about the work they do and the need that is so crucial, especially now, in the community for their services,” said Butler. “It’s been a really nice partnership.” 

Syracuse Fashion Week Events

Local Love – Local boutiques and designers share their spring collections at this “perennial favorite.”
Thursday, April 11 from 7-9 p.m.
Where: Best Western Syracuse Downtown Hotel & Suites, Syracuse.

The Underground Show – Meant for ages 18 and up, the Underground Show is a “great combination of an event and a fashion show” (this year’s theme is Renaissance Fair).
Friday, April 12 from 8-10 p.m.
Where: Middle Ages Brewing Company Beer Hall, Syracuse.

SFW Gala – “A little more formal,” the gala features gowns, prom wear, and bridal ware.
When: Saturday, April 13 from 8-10 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Manor, Baldwinsville.

For more information, visit


Courtney Kless is the Editor in Chief of Family Times. Courtney is originally from Maryland. She earned her Master’s degree in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from Syracuse University. Courtney began her career as a sports journalist, then spent several years working in higher education, before joining the company in August 2019. She enjoys traveling, reading and hiking, and recently adopted a Labrador Retriever, Bailey.

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