Models strut down the runway at the Long Island Fashion Expo 2017. (Photo by Smiley Guirand Photography)

Now that summer has come to a screeching halt, New York City is buzzing again preparing for New York Fashion Week.

Here on Long Island, the fashion buzz has caught on about the September 15 Long Island Fashion Expo, curated by Fashion 4 Purpose, with a guest appearance by Jonathan Fernandez from the VH1 reality series Love & Hip Hop NY. Carmen Colon, the organization’s founder, started Fashion 4 Purpose as a platform for aspiring designers, models, makeup artists, hair stylists and boutique owners to showcase their talent.

“Our Fashion Expo is where designers and business owners meet,” says Colon, who started her organization in 2011. “Each year we are growing, and Long Island has been very supportive. We have an audience of more than 200 and it’s all by word of mouth, social media and our supporters.”

Going into its fifth year, the event will take place at Simplay in Hauppauge featuring designers CJackson Long Island (formal wear); Kro Sha (crocheted designs); Tameless Moons (organic clothing); Reel2Reel Kustoms (custom apparel); Xclusive (boutique) and Mishu Designs NY (wearable couture).

Cofounder Rashad Lawson of Reel2Reel Kustoms, who hand-designs fashion-forward clothing and accessories that he sells at his Riverhead store, will be showcasing his new luggage and backpack collection for Fall 2018.

“These bags are military grade and made of high-grade special canvas material. They are decorative and multipurpose,” says Lawson, who aspires to be the next J. Crew. “We have something for everyone. It doesn’t matter race, color, creed.”

Cynthia Jackson, the woman behind C. Jackson Long Island, will also be making her debut. Jackson, who has worked as a med tech for nearly 20 years, wanted to carry on her mother’s legacy after her passing.

“My mother was a seamstress,” she says. “I took what she taught me and tried to see if I could start my own business.”

It worked.

Jackson will be showing her designs at Long Island Fashion Expo and will also be a featured designer at New York Fashion Week.

“Carmen and Fashion 4 Purpose have paved the way for me so people can see what I do. I never believed something like this could happen to me. I am nervous but excited.”

Aside from all the glamour and glitz, the show will have a second purpose: raising awareness of mental illness at a critical time, when suicide rates are skyrocketing, as with the recent deaths of fashion icon Kate Spade and celebrity chef/television personality Anthony Bourdain. A portion of the proceeds will go towards The Association for Mental Health and Wellness.

Tickets start at $30. To purchase visit LIFashionExpo.eventbrite.com.

A model at the Long Island Fashion Expo poses in one of the hottest looks for the season. (Photo by Smiley Guirand Photography)
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