Final Fantasy 14 has an entire sub-community dedicated to fashion. Some just dress up in new clothes to score in the fashion report, while other players have a glamor plate for each day of the week and clothes are pouring out of their gun chests. Whether you fully embrace it or ignore it, you can’t escape fashion when it comes to Eorzea.
A few select venues cater to Fashionista Warriors of Light. I was recently invited to The Catwalk on Phoenix to see their latest fashion show which was Candyland themed. Since this was one of the rare occasions when I got to be my main character at a community event, I made sure to dress the role in a pink Songbird dress, but I kept my Nier hooker boots on.
Before I watched the models strut their stuff, Laraya Tashyk, the venue owner, showed me the place, including a behind-the-scenes look at the beautiful dressing room that the models could use. One of the most exciting areas of the venue was the brand new Le Chique Boutique, offering a range of glam outfits that players can purchase to get some shiny new threads for their WoLs.
“It’s the first time we’re offering this type of service and I saw a few people coming over and looking at the outfits. That’s a success for me,” says Laraya. “At the moment, designing the outfits was a job for me [co-manager] Amaya and I We are still looking for a boutique manager who cares and does things on a regular basis. It is planned to change outfits frequently, but unfortunately we cannot guarantee that at the moment. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so we will keep working on it.”
Models for the Candyland runway show were asked to create glamor outfits for three different categories. One for combat, one for off-duty wear, and one that was a secret until the end of the show — the joys of life that each model had to do a glamor to match what made them happy. The whole show also had DJ Prima Ballerina’s wonderful music to keep things lively.
Glamor outfits featured all the pretty pink and pastel dyes one could dream of. Some of my favorites were the candy costumes, like the candy corn, peppermint, and pudding inspired costumes. As the models in the final category showcased their favorite hobbies or professional roles, one took the Candyland theme to the next level by showing his love of candy with some gorgeous Willy Wonka-inspired glamour.
The judges then voted on opinions as the models walked the runway, with all models returning to the stage after each category for votes to be cast. Laraya encourages audience participation, preferring this method to deciding who among the staff decides who wins each time. Votes are cast via Google forms, with each player leaving their character name so Laraya can be sure no weird deals are made.
The prizes on offer were the Fat Moogle Mount for the first place winner, a Moogle Station glamor outfit of choice for the second place winner, and 1,000,000 gil for the third place winner. With such generous prizes to be won, it’s easy to understand why Laraya needs to ensure the vote is kosher. The overall winner will also be inducted into The Catwalk Hall of Fame and given the option to return as a judge at future fashion shows.
Anyone can register as a model for events, with Laraya sharing a registration form on Discord before each event. The only exceptions are previous winners who are not allowed to re-enter to ensure others have a chance to take home the crown. In situations where there are more models than slots available, random number generators are used to ensure everything stays fair.
The catwalk first opened on March 18, 2022 and features two types of events – fashion shows and Date auctions. “In the end, it’s about having a good concept and something new and refreshing to get events going,” explains Laraya. “That’s why I decided that we don’t open weekly or twice a week. We open bi-weekly on Fridays and alternate between two events – the fashion show and the date auction.
“The second is people offering their services on our stage and people can bid on it. The variety of services offered is constantly increasing. We started with people just offering RP services. Now we have people offering to draw someone’s character. The concept is simple. The “good” offers its service and the public can bid on it. We take ten percent of the highest bid as a club average, but not to enrich ourselves, but to finance a change of club.
Laraya wanted to reinvigorate the RPG scene in FF14, especially as she felt many venues were struggling to be the number one club, all competing for the best DJ sets. Though Laraya doesn’t acknowledge that Everyone Venues fell into the same trap, she wanted to create something different for players to engage in.
“The Catwalk was a breath of fresh air in a RP scene lost in DJ competition,” Schulenina Kurae, The Catwalk’s receptionist, tells me. “I always look forward to the next opening, either to see how the models put an incredible effort into their glam or to see what new services might be offered.”
The Catwalk staff all volunteer to help and make the venue something to be proud of. The income from the date auction is divided among all employees, otherwise they work unpaid. The team is deeply committed to the venue and applauds The Catwalk for bringing something new to the table when it comes to the RP community and appreciates Laraya’s hard work.
“What makes The Catwalk special to me, despite the visually gorgeous aesthetic of the interior and the overall theme, is that The Catwalk’s venue idea is just unique and refreshing,” bartender Zuhmhe’li Mhilfimi tells me. “You don’t see that every day and the atmosphere is extremely welcoming and warm. As soon as you step onto The Catwalk, you can be sure that you will be greeted with bright smiles and open arms. The catwalk alternates between the events, which always bring a large number of colorful guests and participants onto the stage. The owner is definitely the jewel and heart of The Catwalk who always puts the most time and effort into making things fun and exciting for everyone, not just the visitors.”
“It’s possible to empathize with the role players in The Catwalk,” adds Amaya Lyn. “It’s a place where the creativity of the players can be admired and celebrated. Each show is individually designed and the staff sticks together like family, and that’s what makes The Catwalk so unique.”
You can visit The Catwalk in War 2, Plot 15 of the Mist on Phoenix or join their dedicated Discord to keep up to date with news and events.
NEXT: Final Fantasy 14 Community Spotlight: Hollow Haven Haunted House