Waterfront Fashion Week: Get to Know Jo

I’ve partnered with the team from Waterfront Fashion Week (October 17 – 21) to give you all a more in depth look at what they are planning for the River City this October. But before we get into all the fashion details, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to one of the women responsible for creating this great addition to the Louisville fashion scene.
Jo Ross is a fashion veteran in the truest sense of the word. She has worked in the industry in some form or fashion since high school and she’s never turned back. Right now, she’s spending her time between her consulting work and planning WFW. I met Jo a few weeks back and it’s clear within minutes (if not seconds) that she is an encyclopedia of fashion knowledge. It would be killer to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and let her share her stories of fashion week’s gone by.
Since we all can’t do that, here’s a little introduction.
In a couple sentences, give us a little recap of your background?
My background and love for fashion started when my grandmother would take me on the bus to Stewart’s Dry Goods downtown, we would look in the windows at the children’s clothes, and then she would come home and copy them by making them for me.  I then took 4 years of home economics sewing classes, and made almost all my wardrobe while in high school and college.

How did you get started in fashion?

When I left college, I heard that my favorite store, Byck’s, had a position open in advertising.   A neighbor helped me get an appointment for a job interview.   The interview was with Dann Byck, Jr., President, and the position was for a copywriter, the person that wrote the descriptions of items in  all the ads.   Dann asked me to write a description of my outfit, which was very simple for me, as I knew the fabric, the detailing, the silhouette.   He hired me.   He then sent me to NYU to a 24 hour copywriting seminar.   One year later, the woman that had been Fashion Director for the store for 35 years, retired.   Dann said “I want You to do that job”.     My tenure with Byck’s was filled with many wonderful projects:  fashion show production for major charities with Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Eleanor Brenner, Kasper, as the featured designers;  forming a costume collection for the Museum of History and Science (now the Louisville Science Center), which numbers over 22,000 items dating back to 1805 to the present; and many Tv segments and fashion articles.  After I left Byck’s, I started my own business.

How did you get involved in Waterfront Fashion Week? What is your vision for the event?
I was contacted by Peggy Duffy, and asked what I thought of her idea to produce a multi-day Fashion Event for our city.   Waterfront Fashion Week will be fun, full of fashion, and have something for all fashionistas.  It will an event that the general public can attend and enjoy, unlike New York Fashion Week that is open only to those of us in the fashion industry.
What are you looking forward to most at WFW?
I look most forward to seeing our audiences thrilled with the event.

Tell us a little about what you’re looking for in the model competition?

Our model competition has size and height requirements, much like the models we see internationally.   A person who will succeed in becoming an international model will not only look the part, but handle herself accordingly, being gracious to everyone.

What  do you think is unique about Louisville fashion?

Louisville, Ky., loves fashion, and is unique in that the trends are all here, but we like to wear it our way.  Lots more color than other big cities, with  a bit of whimsy mixed in.

Where will you be shopping for your Waterfront Fashion Week looks?

I will be in all the stores prior to Waterfront Fashion Week, and know I will see lots of irresistible merchandise.

You’ve been to Fashion Week in New York and Paris, what are some of your favorite memories of those events?

New York Fashion Week has an air of excitement, and you know you are very privileged to attend the shows. The  Paris Shows were an emotional experience…… I cried through the whole trip, and took 700 pictures at the Karl Lagerfeld show.

Who are some of your favorite designers?

I love so many designers…… they are all unique.   I am crazy for Clifton Nicholson, Jr.s’ one of a kind jewelry pieces; I love the womanly class Carolina Herrera creates ; Michael Kors is classic modern American style;  Betsey Johnson is just such fun; Oscar de la Renta is sumptuous and elegant; Bob Mackie will always be at the top of the list for total glamour;  I could go on and on……  Pamela Roland, Zang Toi, Custo Barcelona………

What styles/trends do you think we’ll be seeing at this year’s event?

 I have been intrigued by the Retro influence in Fashion, sparked somewhat by Kate Middleton, and Mad Men.    I hope that clean, uncluttered look continues.  But it has hit the mass markets now, so time to change again !

What do you think WFW will do for the Louisville fashion scene?

Waterfront Fashion Week has the opportunity to bring a new level of fashion, economic development, and attention to our city.   I hope everyone will come join the fun October 17 -20, 2012  !!!!!

Make sure you purchase your tickets for the big event here and stay tuned for more profiles, shopping experiences and more in advance of the event!


p.s. – Waterfront Fashion Week is a sponsor of Lou What Wear. All content, post ideas and opinions are my own (well except in the interviews of course!).



  1. Reply

    sammy beam

    April 9, 2013

    I’ve been gone from Kentucky for nineteen years and, before that, gone from Louisville for eleven. I am thrilled to see that the divine Jo Ross has tenaciously held her place at the helm of the Louisville fashion scene throughout these many years.

  2. Reply

    HCG Diet

    April 28, 2013

    Great website. My thanks for taking the time. I will definitely come to your site to read more and tell my people about it.