Boston is bursting with creative talent. Sometimes overshadowed by other cities though, Wave + Woven founder Amanda Vargus and BostonMan publisher Matt Ribaudo look to change that, showcasing and celebrating the city’s incredible fashion scene on December 3rd at Boston Park Plaza with the first annual Runway Ball.
LONG revered as an academic and historic stronghold, the city of Boston has often been overshadowed by its more glamorous counterparts when it comes to the world of high fashion. While the likes of New York, Paris, and Milan have traditionally stolen the limelight, a subtle but seismic shift has been occurring beneath Boston’s cobblestone streets and alongside its picturesque waterways.
The historic echoes of the American Revolution still reverberate, and this cultural shift is shaping a different type of revolution — one of style, expression, and innovation in Boston. The confluence of academia, artistry, and a rapidly evolving cultural landscape has birthed a new wave of designers, visionaries, and creators who are imbuing Boston with a renewed sense of arts and fashion identity.
Boston is quietly asserting itself as a burgeoning fashion hub, no longer content to be relegated to the sidelines.
Executing this metamorphosis is the trailblazing duo of Amanda Vargus, CEO of Wave+Woven, and Matt Ribaudo, the CEO and publisher of BostonMan Magazine. Their audacious vision, marked by the celebration of local talent and an unwavering commitment to community, is sparking a revitalization that has caught the attention of the fashion cognoscenti.
“With the right people, transparency, continuity, and trust, this has the potential to be massive,” said Ribaudo.
As the calendar turns, a new monumental up-scale soiree will cement Boston’s place among the world’s star cities. Destined to be more than just an evening of opulence and glamor, Boston’s First Annual Runway Ball at the Park Plaza on December 3rd promises to be the apex of Boston’s ascent in the realm of haute couture.
“I don’t want anybody holding back,” said Vargus. “I want to see people push the limit on fashion.”
Jimmie Espo, esteemed member of the BostonMan Magazine advisory board, founder of ‘The 617 Event Group’, and the third orchestrator of the Runway Ball has unwavering confidence in the event.
“This promises to be the defining soirée of the century,” Jimmie said with infectious enthusiasm. “I am absolutely stoked for this.”
“Guests can expect something that feels like definitely pushing the boundaries of what we’ve seen before in Boston,” said Vargus. “It will have an edgy editorial feel to it. I want to marry elements of art and music into a runway show so that it feels like a true performance.”
Drawing inspiration from the grandeur of Hollywood, the Runway Ball is set to be a spectacle unlike any other, a tapestry woven from threads of fashion, music, and artistry. In a city that has long been yearning for its own version of the Met Gala, this soirée holds the promise of filling that void, offering a night of style, sophistication, and unbridled creativity that is sure to leave its mark in the fabric of the city.
“It’s a dream come true for me to bring this to life,” said Vargus. “I spent almost 20 years in the corporate world and then I started doing this business. To see the power of fashion and art truly is a really cool thing. When the vision for the Runway Ball comes together the way I have it in my mind, it’s going to be a truly abstract moment for me.”
With fashion truly having a nurturing home in Boston, the abundance of creative and ambitious talent in the city’s storied streets fueled the need for the Runway Show.
Boston is peppered with local designers who are paving the way. Meanwhile, promising students are forging the paths of tomorrow, honing their crafts within the esteemed walls of institutions like Emerson College and the Berklee College of Music. Yet, it is a bittersweet reality that often compels these budding talents to consider departing Boston in pursuit of their dreams.
However, that won’t be for long. The Runway Ball features a platform for fashionistas and artists poised to etch an enduring legacy in the realms of high style and the arts while continuing to call home.
With the city boasting a vibrant ecosystem of ateliers, showrooms, and boutiques in the chic enclaves of Beacon Hill to the bustling innovation districts of the Seaport, they are poised to redefine the city’s sartorial narrative. The Runway Ball is the soon-to-be crown jewel with a direct path to showcase the wave of creativity washing over the city, and redefining what it means to be fashionable in the heart of New England.
“In my mind, I want people to be like, wow, that’s like the best ticket I’ve bought all year,” said Vargus.
While the inaugural Runway Ball will take place this year, the concept originated from the powerful pair of Ribaudo and Andrea Cadigan, BostonMan Magazine Advisory Board Member and ‘Boston DM Show’ co-host.
Cadigan has been a strong female leader for the BostonMan Magazine community since its inception in 2018. With a heavy background and love for fashion, Cadigan initially pitched the idea in the early stages of the publication.
“The Boston Runway Ball is something that we have been working on since 2020,” said Andrea Cadigan, who originally conceptualized the iconic event idea. “When Covid came we had to put it on hold. To see in writing that it’s taking place on December 3rd, well, there are truly no words. This will be the biggest event in Boston.”
The forthcoming Runway Ball will assume the mantle of this season’s premier social event. However, it’s not only distinguished by its fashion-forward prominence but by its profound significance.
In a momentous convergence, the evening will double as a commemoration of BostonMan Magazine’s illustrious five-year journey since its inception in 2018, underscoring the publication’s enduring impact on the Boston community.
“If you would have told me when we started that the world’s going to shut down for two years, you’re essentially going to have to empty your savings account to pay for this, and the cost of paper is going to triple, we might be in a different place,” Ribaudo joked with a smile.
“On the other hand, we didn’t miss a single issue despite the challenges thrown our way. Five years later, we’re still here. I’m humbled by the reception that this continues to receive and by the people who share how much what we’re doing means to them.”
This publication is the 20th issue of BostonMan Magazine, each quarterly edition telling unique stories including many exclusive features. With every issue released, event held, and passing day, BostonMan Magazine, its Legacy Club, and its community continue to grow. In such a short period of time, it has made an everlasting impression on the city.
“From the very beginning I always loved and admired what Matt was doing with BostonMan Magazine, which is why I got involved from day one,” said Cadigan. “The Legacy Club started with a small group of like-minded individuals wanting to grow the social, charitable, and networking community of Boston. It blows my mind to see how far it’s come over the past five years.”
One of the most distinct aspects of the magazine is that the stories told all come from within the tightly-knit community.
“Everything comes from within our community,” said Ribaudo. “We’re not out scavenging the city for stories, they come to us in one way or another.”
The publication has been star-studded with celebrities during peak moments of their careers.
Former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was on the cover as the reigning Super Bowl MVP in 2019. In the same year, model, actress, entrepreneur, and TV personality Camille Kostek headlined the cover right after she made history as the first-ever rookie to land the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
Two years later, former New England Revolution, and current U.S. Men’s National Team and Nottingham Forest F.C. goalkeeper Matt Turner shared his climb to success during his 2021 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year season before joining the Premier League with Arsenal in 2022. Boston celebrity Kelly Brabants stole the show for the spring 2021 issue when she shared her incredible story about the power of family and how they have supported her endlessly through the journey of her iconic brand, Booty by Brabants.
Boston Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell was featured on a 2022 cover of BostonMan Magazine as he shared exclusive details on his basketball career, life journey, and his self-proclaimed title as a fashion diva.
In 2023, Boston Marathon bombing survivors, runners, journalists, spectators, and 2014 winner Meb Keflezighi shared their emotional stories ahead of the marathon’s 10-year anniversary of the tragedies.
These featured selections represent but a mere glimpse into the rich tapestry of narratives woven within the pages of BostonMan Magazine, a publication undeniably brimming with exceptional stories. In the current edition of the magazine, prominent individuals who have made substantial and early contributions to the organization are showcased, elegantly attired in iconic formalwear, paying homage to the forthcoming Runway Ball.
Reflecting on the journey, there is a singular moment etched in Ribaudo’s memory when he first grasped the profound significance of the enterprise he was constructing.
“The biggest goose bumps moment for me was when Bob Ryan agreed to basically come out of retirement and write the Danny Ainge and Tommy Heinsohn stories for us,” said Ribaudo. “I consider him the greatest sports writer of all time. When he expressed interest in writing for the magazine, I couldn’t believe it was real life.”
At the magazine release party for this issue in 2020, Ryan made it clear that Ribaudo had mutually impacted his life.
“I want to thank Matt for helping to keep print journalism alive in this time and era,” said Ryan.
While there have been so many incredibly moving stories shared over the past five years, perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the magazine is its charitable component.
“We really try to be a beacon of hope and positivity in the community,” said Ribaudo. “We’re fighting to do our part to make a difference and we’ll continue to always do so.”
With each meticulously curated event hosted by BostonMan Magazine and every edition distributed, a philanthropic initiative unfailingly takes center stage.
In the year 2023, BostonMan Magazine achieved a remarkable milestone by surpassing $1 million in contributions through advertising and sponsorships to New England-based charitable organizations. Furthermore, its endeavors have concurrently injected over $1 million in revenue into the burgeoning hospitality industry in the vibrant heart of Boston.
“To be able to say that in five years we’ve made an impact in a positive manner, that’s a testament to how I hope our legacy will eventually be remembered,” said Ribaudo.
As BostonMan Magazine celebrates its five-year anniversary at the inaugural Runway Ball, it will also reflect the organization’s unwavering commitment to philanthropy.
The event will serve as a powerful force for good, harnessing its glitzy splendor to raise funds for a cause close to the hearts of Bostonians. A portion of the proceeds will be dedicated to the Toast to St. Jude initiative, benefiting the Boston Children’s Research Hospital.
The mission of St. Jude’s resonates deeply, seeking to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through tireless research and groundbreaking treatment.
In an age where the world is often swept up by fleeting trends and transient indulgences, the Runway Ball’s philanthropic underpinning serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring impact that fashion, community, and compassion can collectively achieve while celebrating five incredible years of BostonMan Magazine.
You can get your tickets to the Runway Ball here. There will be a pre-party at Strega Italiano and an after-party at HUE – both nearby in Back Bay.