Confessions of My New Orleans Fashion Week


Confessions of My New Orleans Fashion Week




This is the story of Tracee Dundas, founder of New Orleans Fashion Week.


Tracee created New Orleans Fashion Week in 2011. She reflects back on her experience of this process and why she chose New Orleans as the city to host fashion week.


Dasia Moore


My Nola My story via Youtube


Mass Communication Department at Xavier University of Louisiana


April 26, 2017


Tracee Dundas
Jade Myers


My Nola, My Story.


My Nola, My Story 2018 Exhibit.




Adobe Premiere Pro, video



A Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana's Mass Communication department students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts

Original Format


Narrator: My first trip to the big easy, and I stumble upon fashion in the crescent city. Here is my behind the scenes look at New Orleans Fashion Week.
Tracee: I live and breathe fashion all the time
Question: What is it like being an African American woman and running New Orleans Fashion Week?
Tracee: So challenging. Did I say challenging? When I started New Orleans Fashion Week, we had coexisting fashion weeks happening. There was not only what I was producing, but there was another group and there was actually a third group. So, there were three different organizations that started their version of New Orleans Fashion Week. I am proud that we’re the last man standing and I think that speaks to what we’re producing and creating. But, along the way I actually would have people discouraging me. I actually would have a few suggestions that I do make it strictly an African American event and not that I was opposed to that, but I never understood why fashion and design needed to be divided into race just because of my background. I work with all people and when you are a business person and you are approaching for potential sponsors they do look at the color of your skin without actually saying it. Questions would come up and it could be my own interpretation, but questions would come up like “who’s financing you,” “how are you going to do this?” I took it to mean two things: gender, I’m a woman so maybe they think it’s a challenge or because of the color of my skin. I really didn’t know, but I pressed ahead and gave them a very broad answer because I am a very private person. For a short minute there with the coexisting fashion weeks, I thought maybe it would be better that people didn’t really know who I was and that I really didn't want to be that face. So, when I would get a call to do interviews I would be a little reluctant to do it because I was scared. I was really, really scared that in those first couple years it would just kind of shoot me down. Seven years later, after those first couple years and the other fashion week went away, I am all about putting my face out there and letting people know that yes, this is a person of color who actually started this here in New Orleans and that we have an event that is inclusive of everyone.
Question: Why did you start New Orleans Fashion Week?
Tracee: I built my career in fashion and basically worked in it all my life. After Hurricane Katrina, I was trying to make my way to New York City because I work with fashion I wanted to work at New York Fashion Week. It was through that process of trying to figure out how to get to New York, that I saw these regional size fashion weeks were happening. I decided that wow there is a fashion week happening in Charleston, South Carolina and I saw one in Portland, Oregon and saw one in St. Louis, Missouri. New Orleans we have so much culture and I knew there was a fashion scene pre-Katrina and I felt like someone needed to help bring that scene back. So, I started New Orleans Fashion Week in 2011.
Question: How do you think Hurricane Katrina affected this city?
Tracee: When I think about Hurricane Katrina it still feels like it was just yesterday. Still driving through the city or different parts of different neighborhoods you still can feel a certain absence. For me because I had a modeling agency when Katrina hit it was devastating. I built my career around the entertainment industry and representing models and actors, which were mostly young people and with the storm everyone moved away.
Question: What do you think made your fashion week successful?
Tracee: My career, my background has always centered around fashion. So producing fashion shows, not major fashion week related shows, but just fashion shows my experience and my background gave me an edge. I actually took eighteen months, thereabout before I actually introduced and produced New Orleans Fashion Week. I did a lot of research. I went back to New York to take a look and remind myself of what happens at a fashion show in New York. But then I also went back to Charleston, South Carolina and see what they were doing because at this point they had been producing their fashion week for I think 3 years. Then, I made a trip to Dallas to see what was going on there. So I took time to educate myself and then bring all of that together and add in what I call a little flavor of New Orleans into what we do. I often refer to myself as a one-woman band so I don’t have any partners that I work with, it’s just all my own creativity. I rely heavily on interns and volunteers to help me produce the event. Whereas the other two events were apart of partnerships and I think the conflicts there probably created some problems for them along the way with creative differences.
Question: What are you most proud that New Orleans Fashion Week accomplishes?
Tracee: I get really excited about the networking the connections that are happening behind the scenes. Kind of unbeknownst to me I’m creating this event, a fashion week, bring all the designers and giving them a platform, which is great. But, then when I got an email from Project Runway saying, “we heard about this thing called New Orleans Fashion Week, can you suggest designers to submit applications” or models that have been picked up and signed with next agencies. So, the behind the scenes connections and energy is what I really like.
Question: What do you hope to accomplish with fashion week?
Tracee: We have had great successes along the way, as I have said. This is our seventh year, eighth season producing New Orleans Fashion Week. What I love is I see that the local retailers are recognizing and appreciating southern based designers and welcoming them into their stores. Building more inventory for the designers to get their fashions into the stores. Another area I would like to see happen next is on the manufacturing side because designers are just creative natured beings and sometimes they don’t think in terms of how can I mass produce my garment. So, I would love to see some sort of manufacturing component happening here in New Orleans.
Question: If you could bring a famous model back to this city, who would it be?
Tracee: I’m going to go with the supermodel classics. A Naomi Campbell would be absolutely amazing. Tyra Banks can slay every day.
Question: What do you think people in 50 years should know about fashion in this city?
Tracee: We are celebrating our 300 year birthday here in New Orleans. So when producing this year’s fashion week, I actually created a special event that paid homage to the years of fashion in New Orleans. We touched on yesteryears and some very special moments of history here in New Orleans. I hope looking into the future, that people will continue to recognize New Orleans as a very unique and creative city in general and fashion is just one of the other creative outlets we express ourselves here. One of the things I love about this city when it comes to fashion is that we are not cookie cutter. I think that will continue through for the next 50 or 100 years. What I mean by cookie cutter is that you can be uptown and see a certain style and finesse in fashion, but then you can go to the area of the city called the Bywater or the Marigny and the whole style and trend will be different. You almost feel like sometimes you’re in different cities within this city.


11:15 (eleven minutes, fifteen seconds)


Dasia Moore


Dr. Shearon Roberts


Date Added
April 19, 2018
Item Type
Moving Image
Dasia Moore , “Confessions of My New Orleans Fashion Week,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed April 23, 2024,