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W Hotels Primps for Fashion Week's Catwalk

Tuesday, 14 Sep 2010 | 11:44 AM ET

Fashion designers draw their inspiration from many sources, so the fact that several young designers used the W hotels as their muse for their new collections may not be startling.

Global Glam Collection
Getty Images
Global Glam Collection

But you may be surprised to learn that their collections were commissioned by W Hotels Worldwide, which decided to take its presence at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this year from backstage to centerstage.

"Design is in our blood," said Carlos Becil, W's vice president of brand management. "It's part of our DNA."

This is not the first time W Hotels has had a fashion collection for the winter/resort season, but it is the first time that the hotel has chosen to unveil the collection at Fashion Week.

W Hotels is no stranger to the tents, having hosted backstage VIP lounges for several years. But this latest move ups the ante a bit and shows just how serious the W is about nuturing its image as a style icon.

The company's decision also shows the extent to which companies outside the world of fashion are embracing the event as a way to connect with their consumer, and sometimes doing so in very unconventional ways.

W's Global Glam collection, which is already on display at W's online store, wascurated by the company's Global Fashion Director Amanda Ross.

Ross selected 16 up-and-coming designers including Behnaz Sarafpour, Kara Ross, Simone, Gigi Mortimer and Jennifer Creel to create clothing and accessories that reflect the atmosphere of three of W's newer hotels: London's Leicester Square, St. Petersburg, and Vieques Island.

Global Glam Collection
Getty Images
Global Glam Collection

The hotel chain, which is owned by Starwood Hotels , has been expanding its business throughout the economic downturn, in an attempt to carry out its plans to double the number of hotels it operates by the end of 2011.

Many of those hotels have been in Asia and Europe, where the company has focused on expanding its footprint.

"Last year was a rough year," Becil said. At the moment, Becil said the travel business improving.

"Luxury is leading the charge back," he said.

The London hotel is set to open in February 2011, St. Petersburg hotel is slated for March 2011, and Vieques, one of the company's retreat-and-spa-style hotels, opened earlier this year.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com

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