By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun
1:15 PM EDT, March 21, 2011
Despite a new upscale locale, a New York-inspired structure, a celebrity announcer, and the addition of national retailers, ticket prices for Baltimore Fashion Week will be less expensive than last year, according to Sharan Nixon, the event's executive director.
Tickets for the four-day event, which runs Aug. 18-21, went on sale March 21. Until May 1, daily tickets are $50 for general seating, and $80 for front row seats. Last year, front row seats cost $120. In a new feature this year, the public has the option of selecting seats when purchasing tickets at baltimoresfashionweek.com.
"Everything has been stepped up a few notches, but tickets will be less," said Sharan Nixon. "The tickets are economically priced to give you a true fashion week experience."
The new ticket pricing is the latest attempt to improve the image of the event, according to Nixon.
"We want to give the public the best fashion week possible," Nixon said.
Earlier this month, Ted Williams, the "golden voiced" homeless Ohio man who became an overnight sensation earlier this year, signed a contract that results in him live announcing designers each day of the event. In addition, Williams will do radio spots and attend promotional activities associated with Nixon's event, including a private luncheon where guests will have an opportunity to meet the celebrity. Purchases of four or more tickets will automatically be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to the Aug. 16 private luncheon with Williams, Nixon said.
In January, Nixon announced that she was moving the event back to Baltimore after holding it at the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson in 2010. The new site — a parcel of land near the Morgan Stanley building in Harbor East — will provide Nixon with the type of location she envisioned when she first launched the event, she said.
Nixon also announced that in addition to moving to the Harbor East location, the event would feature a 16,000-square-foot tent similar to the ones used at the famed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The new structure will allow for elevated seating.
"No matter where you sit, every seat is good," Nixon said.
Nixon also recruited Toria Turner, a former Wilhelmina model who recently moved back to Baltimore after living in London, to be the event's runway coach.
Nixon has signed more than a dozen designers to participate in the event, including A People United and Levi's. Nixon is currently in negotiations to sign national designers and retailers such as Michael Kors, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Mano Swartz, Se Sens Serene, Ann Taylor and Talbots. She has also reached out to a number of high-end boutiques in the Baltimore region, as well as Hennes & Mauritz, commonly known as H&M, which is scheduled to open its first Baltimore City location this spring.
Earlier this month, Nixon signed a sponsorship agreement with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) that would result in at least one bus being wrapped with Baltimore Fashion Week advertisements.
Nixon will also hold a second model casting for the event on May 11 in the Wheeler Auditorium of Enoch Pratt Free Library in downtown Baltimore.
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