Paris. Milan. Columbus, Ohio? Yes—or at least the cities are more similar than you might think. Over the last decade, the capital of Indiana’s neighbor to the east has built on its reputation as the corporate headquarters of Abercrombie & Fitch, The Limited, and Victoria’s Secret to become one of the country’s most fashion-forward places. USA Today has called Columbus a fashion hub thanks to a deep roster of independent designers, and in 2012, The Atlantic placed it alongside New York and Los Angeles for clothing design.
See what all the fuss is about during CMH Fashion Week (Oct. 12–18, cmhfashionweek.com), a series of runway shows featuring more than a dozen Buckeye designers. When you’re ready to strut your own stuff, head to the Short North Arts District (shortnorth.org), an amalgamation of sassy shops, restaurants, lofts, tattoo parlors, and yoga studios. Here, in-demand looks include Janet Feheley’s feminine yet forward-thinking P. Thatcher line at Ladybird (716 N. High St., 845-554-5239, ladybirdfashion.com), rising star Genoveva Christoff’s sexy leather-and-lace creations at Brigade (940 N. High St., 614-228-0700, clothingbrigade.com), and earthy Phyllis + Hazel jewelry by Madeleine Etter at Kifle Shoe Boutique (1203 N. High St., 614-914-8247, shopkifle.com). Fashioned out? Create your own soy candle in an hour at The Candle Lab (751 N. High St., 614-949-1458, thecandlelab.com) and try this fall’s pumpkin concoction at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (714 N. High St., 614-294-5364, jenis.com).
For a cultural change, detour into German Village (germanvillage.com), which presents charming Old World architecture, brick-lined streets for strolling, and traditional schnitzel and strudel at Schmidt’s Restaurant & Banquet Haus (240 E. Kossuth St., 614-444-6808, schmidthaus.com). Just leave the lederhosen on the shelf. They’re so last season.
Drive Time: 3 hours
Stay: Crowne Plaza Columbus-Downtown (from $108/night; 33 E. Nationwide Blvd., 614-461-4100, ihg.com) is convenient to Short North, German Village, and the emerging Brewery District.
Plan: Capital Style magazine’s blog provides the lowdown on Fashion Week events (capital-style.com).
Eat: You may need a 12-step program to get over the macarons at Pistacia Vera (two locations, pistaciavera.com).