By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Sep 07, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Thanks in part to the dreadfully long-lasting economic downturn, small, local businesses supporting independent fashion took a hard hit in recent years.

Thankfully, Milwaukee's fashion community wasn't completely obliterated by the recession. In fact, it has proven itself to be quite resilient.

Locally owned boutiques and Milwaukee-based designers have banded together for various fashion events, including Fashion Revolution and the Made in Milwaukee events. The latest stylish collaboration is called MKE Fashion Night 2010 and it's happening Friday, Sept. 10 at Bacchus, 925 E. Wells St.

MKE Fashion Night 2010 is modeled after the world-wide phenomenon Fashion's Night Out (FNO), says Ron Krinn, co-owner of Fred Boutique and the event's organizer. FNO is an unprecedented global initiative created to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, boost the industry's economy, and put the fun back in shopping.

That's exactly what Krinn hopes to pioneer on a local level.

"We have created an all-exclusive event for Milwaukee's legitimate men and women's fashion and apparel retailers to showcase each of their unique presence on the Milwaukee scene," he says. "This special event celebrates fashion on the local level and all those involved from the boutique owners to the customers. It raises the awareness of our boutiques' vibrant fashion imprint as our collective presence continues to become powerful and grow."

Several Milwaukee boutiques are coming together to create a fashion gala, including host Fred Boutique, Boutique Larrieux, Boutique B'Lou, Flaire, Stephanie Horne, Shop and Lorena Sarbu. Each retailer reveals their unique imprint on the Milwaukee scene with mannequin displays of the upcoming season's styles and looks featured in-store.

Boutique Larrieux's owner Lydia Hamilton is excited about her participation in MKE Fashion Night 2010. Hamilton's boutique was recently featured on "Good Morning America" in a story highlighting retailers that opened its doors during the recession.

"Milwaukee is a city that is often overlooked for its fashion sense; however, it is a city that has a reverence for high fashion and style," says Hamilton. "I believe this event will bring awareness to our customer's acute taste for chic clothing, which they can get at any one of the boutiques featured at this year's event at an affordable price."

MKE Fashion Night 2010 is a free event running from 8:30 p.m. to midnight and features complimentary wine, drink specials, party gift bags, local jazz music and a taste of our fashionable fall / winter season.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”