It was a night of sparkles, silk, bare skin, feathered collars, dazzling jewelry, butterfly gowns, leather contraptions, frocks that could double as costumes, not garments that one would choose for a regular stroll through town. Or perhaps they would? We are, after all, nestled in a growing oasis in the middle of Texas in the city of weird, and no one looks twice when a man doused in glitter walks past. This is Austin, and the event was Fashion X, the fourth largest fashion show in the U.S.

I think what I loved the most about this final night of Austin Fashion Week, which also happened to be the fashion concept’s 10th anniversary, was the fearlessness that surrounded me. All body shapes, all genders, all types graced the open floor of the white-walled warehouse called Vault Space in North Austin. Upon ascending the stairs under the arch of bulging, green balloons, one was instantly whisked away into a fairy tale of sorts. Every color of the rainbow was waiting for us in the form of ruffles and lace, food and drink, the speakers blaring songs I didn’t even realize I knew the words to, that lifted me up and somehow made walking in heels a little easier. The models, attendees, designers, event employees – everyone was in high spirits. The chatter was abundant, the laughter loud, the fashion luminous.

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