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15 Minutes With: Deb Reimer


May 2018

New York, Paris, Milan, Milwaukee. Thatís the big idea behind Milwaukee Fashion Week, says Deborah Reimer, the eventís president and CEO. Fashion-forward fans can take in three separate fashion week runway shows showcasing more than 30 local designers Sept. 13 to 15 at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. But get your tickets early Ė last yearís event was a sellout.

What makes Milwaukee Fashion Week unique?

Milwaukee alone has over 60 designers, and Iím sure thatís just the tipping point; there are probably a lot more. So during Milwaukee Fashion Week, we want to get those designers out there and be recognized for their work and their talent. Iím thrilled that weíre able to offer that platform for it. The talent is incredible and the reach is growing. Weíve got designers from Chicago and Indianapolis who are making their way here, and we have designers from New York reaching out to us.

Tell us about some of the featured designers.

In 2017 we started offering the Designer of the Year Award, and the winner of that is Madalyn Joy Designs. And then Wantable, our presenting sponsor last year, selected one designer, Jordan Weber, to offer her work in Wantable Edits. So weíre still putting our designer roster together, but we do have a couple of designers new to Milwaukee Fashion Week, like Anna Popa, who has some pretty amazing bridal wear and haute couture.

Whatís new at this yearís Milwaukee Fashion Week?

A lot of the feedback we got from guests last year was they wanted to see the designers after the event.  So this year weíll have some pop-up shops during the VIP hour and each night after the show, so the designers can mingle with the guests. Our charity of choice this year is Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. And we have a more spacious venue.

What is the biggest challenge in producing Fashion Week?

Finance and marketing are the challenges every year. We do our best to put on as stellar an event as we can. This year weíre going to have an amazing runway; itís going to have a little bit of New York appeal this year.

Who is your fashion idol?

I absolutely love (the late) Alexander McQueen. I love the uniqueness of his avant-garde style. His work is amazing.

Does this city have its own style?

Itís a very interesting question because people often say thereís the East Coast, West Coast and the Midwest and thatís the ďThird Coast.Ē Youíre going to see jeans and T-shirts all over, but when somebody wants to dress up for The Rep Gala, youíre going to see some amazing evening wear. I donít know that we have our own style, but we do have an untapped market that people need to know about.

For more info, go to or find Milwaukee Fashion Week on Facebook.


1 Reading. I love reading thrillers and mysteries.

2 Laughter. I just think itís good for the soul.

3 Massages.

4 Teamwork, because when people come together and work toward a common cause, like planning a birthday party or fashion event or helping children learn to read, there is strength in numbers.

5 Love traveling; my bucket list is to visit Australia and Italy.

This story ran in the May 2018 issue of: