As if you could ask me to do anything better than this! What an itinerary and what a trip! This tour was unlike any I'd ever given. For this, the board and I had two private meetings with the Juneau-Douglas City Museum, fact checking, digging into turn-of-the-century stories, and peeking into the archive of Juneau's historical fashion! Fashion makes up a decent percentage of the museum's archives so it was fun to dabble in. Upon closer inspection we learned that much of the archived pieces belonged to the Snow Family, a traveling group that performed theatrical plays and had quite the collection of wardrobe pieces. The only one that creeped me out was a wig from the 30's made with real hair!
We began at the shop, talking about Front Street's history. At one point boats would pull up to the dock here, unloading goods or picking up friends. Madam Mattie Silks was a prostitute in cahoots with Soapy Smith. While Soapy Smith plotted the demise of Skagway, Mattie would lead the men upstairs after the reached the point of no-return in their drinking, take their money, open a door, ushering them in, only for them to quickly drop off the second story directly into the channel! Rude awakening and a total scam haha.
We wound up City Streets, stopping into Vibrational Alchemy which not only sponsored Fashion Week, but also happened to be the present tenant of one of Alaskas most famous designers, Nina Chapman. This woman came to Alaska via the Oregon Trail, first working in the mess halls of the AJ Mine, and later opening her first store by the late 40's. By the 60's she was an international sensation, creating a mod style that was recognizable across the country, Italy, and Denmark. Using local hides, and original closures, she was a legend. And, what's even cooler is that Alaska Fashion Week's Vintage Collection featured a few of her designs!
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum was also another pit stop along our walking route. In celebration of Fashion Week the Museum created several displays of historical clothing. It was simply amazing! A suitcase filled with touchable items, a sketch pad to make your own designs, and so much more! We were so honored, and so blown away by the City's partnership. Please pay them a visit when you get the chance, they are truly a gem!
Next was a secret street that I personally had only discovered about six months ago, and you can bet your ass I was hiding a bottle of whiskey and paper cups in my jacket. Taking in views, sipping, and catching our breath, we stood at the top of a staircase street enjoying ourselves.
Another delightful surprise and stop on our route was over to Ewing Drygoods' leather studio! Dan opened his studio up to us, poured us more whiskey, and even invited us back to make leather coasters in the shape of Alaska! Another treasured featured designer and a pit stop we'll remember forever!
We eventually wrapped things up crossing over different blocks and bouncing our way back down to Front Street where we ended our tour. Out of all the Fashion Week events, this may have been my favorite ;)