People to Know

Fashion Ambassador: Thomas McClure

From the September/October 2013 issue of Capital Style


Four years in, CMH Fashion Week is gaining momentum. The reason? Thomas McClure. The 36-year-old is the event’s passionate founder and executive director, and he’s a man on a mission. (He’s also executive director of the Greater Columbus Film Commission and an actor, model and voiceover artist.) We sat with McClure to talk shows, style and more.

On how it began:

I decided (in 2011) we needed a fashion week here in Columbus. There’s no reason we can’t have one—especially when we have major retail hubs here like The Limited, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lane Bryant.

On his vision:

I feel like we’re slowly acclimating Columbus to this idea. But I hope 10 years from now, people are going to say, “Hey, I’m taking off Thursday and Friday because I’m going to this show and this show and this show.” That would be quite amazing.

On what people will see at the week’s signature event:

They can expect a raised runway finale show. Former years have had a ground floor runway. That’s very trendy in New York. Marc Jacobs does it. Alexander Wang does it. However, when you grow as much as we have, you have two choices: You can either raise the runway or raise the audience. It’s a little too expensive to raise the audience. We’re also putting a tent up in between COSI and the river in the English Plaza of Genoa Park.

On this year’s headliner:

We do have a headlining designer that we’ve confirmed: Nary Manivong (a Columbus native who made headlines in New York teaming with Ally Hilfiger on the line NAHM). I’ve been speaking with him all year. He’s going to reveal his new line at our fashion week.

On what makes this batch of designers unique:

About half of the designers have graduated from CCAD. CCAD is doing a great job of bringing these fashion designers to the scene.

On his personal style:

I’d call it simple. But I always wear something a little interesting. For instance, I’m wearing a local “Ohio ‘Til I Die” shirt, but I love these jeans because they’re a little bit shiny, and I have blue shoelaces on.