Off the Runway

Inside the business of local fashion weeks

A glamorous model clumps down the runway. Photographers snap. Fashion editors applaud. And for a moment, it seems as if all eyes in the couture world are on ... Knoxville, Tenn.?

Such is the burgeoning business of smaller-town fashion weeks. For decades, the world's clothing trends stemmed from seasonal spectacles in just four cities: New York, London, Milan and Paris. But in recent years, Dallas, Istanbul, Knoxville and others have launched alternatives to hype local models and retailers--and secure a fraction of the $865 million that New York Fashion Week generates for the Big Apple each year, according to Mayor Michael...

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