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Annette Pinter brings Fashion's Night Out back to KC



New York City style is about to hit 13th Street and Main. But don't expect a harsh East Coast vibe. This block party — with a designer meet-and-greet, silhouettes strutting behind screens, swag bags and plenty of bubbly — aims for the warmth of a community festival.

The pairing of big-city ambition and Midwestern heart is the work of Annette Pinter, a Kansas City woman with a flair for Big Apple fashion. It's Pinter who has crafted this scene for the Power & Light District's Fashion's Night Out event. She's also the reason that Fashion's Night Out exists here.

Pinter attended New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology and, after graduation, landed a stage-manager role with that city's Fashion Week.

"My dilemmas were, do we cast Naomi Campbell for this show? What about Gisele Bundchen?" Pinter recalls. "It was unreal."

The Kansas City-area native spent seven years in the thick of New York City's fashion scene. With her 20s drawing to a close, though, she longed for the comforts of home. So she found work at the Garment District, a 10-boutiques-in-one collective launched by the P&L two years ago as the district's retail anchor, at 1350 Main. She manages it alongside Tommy Hilfiger transplant Randall Schneck.

First on Pinter's to-do list: Add Kansas City to the list of cities involved in Fashion's Night Out. The annual global event began in New York City in 2009 as a Fashion Week kickoff at various shopping destinations. The intention was to create excitement for shopping, thus bolstering consumer confidence.

Starting the event locally was no easy feat. It meant shopping centers collaborating rather than competing, not to mention finding sponsors — and tireless planning.

After several meetings, three shopping centers — the P&L, the Country Club Plaza and Zona Rosa — committed, and the first Kansas City Fashion's Night Out, last September, drew strong crowds. The three shopping districts are poised for round two, on September 6.

Pinter has other aspirations for local fashion. People can be judgmental when it comes to fashion, she says, which can stifle innovation. On days when she misses the energy of New York City, she can be cheered by a surprise outside the shop's vast Main Street windows.

"I love it when I look out and see a girl who has thrown on something that's very, Oh, she put on that with that!" she says. "You expect to see that in New York City. Those people are imitating a trend. But you don't expect to see that in Kansas City. When you do see it, you're seeing a trendsetter right here on the street. And that's exciting to me."

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