Birmingham Fashion Week 2016 ended Saturday night with a bang.

Gold streamers emitted from party poppers rained down on models wearing heidi elnora couture. It signaled the end of the dramatic runway show in Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium.

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It also marked the end of three days of style and inspiration from up-and coming and acclaimed designers, make-up artists, hair stylists, models, and artists.

As the show concluded, Birmingham Fashion Week co-founder Heidi Elnora also took the catwalk to drop a bombshell. Joined by co-founder Jeanna Lee Thompson and Jeremy Stephens, she announced that this could be the last Birmingham Fashion Week.

“If you want this to continue, we can no longer do this as volunteers. We appreciate our sponsors and everyone being here but if you know of someone, I would like to hire someone to help me, and to help her and to help him. If you want Birmingham fashion week to continue, this is our plea,” Elnora told the audience. “Otherwise my friends, this is our last hurrah …”

Birmingham Fashion Week was founded in 2011 to bring unity to the community through fashion. The popular event has grown so much, the three business owners said, they can no longer organize the event on their own. Fashion Week relies on ticket sales, sponsorships and volunteers to operate. Without more financial support to hire people to operate the event, Fashion Week will end, they said.

“If this is it, we are at peace and thank you for the memories. Thank you for the last six years,” Thompson said on the runway.

Emerging Designers, 16 college and post-graduate designers, showed their talents as they competed for the title of “2016 Emerging Designer.” Birmingham’s Alan Slattery, of Savannah College of Art and Design, and Julie Maeseele, of Lucas School of Fine Arts, took home the top prize.

With over 300 submissions, 60 finalists from Alabama middle and high schools showed garments they constructed for the annual Rising Star Design Challenge. Each garment was made out of non-traditional items and was assembled by either glue, staples, or tape. This year, the University of Alabama and Savannah College of Art and Design offered scholarships for the winners. “We do this all as volunteers. I love it, I love helping people, but we have no financial support.” Elnora told AL.com after the event. “We sell enough in ticket sales to pay for what we need to pay for and that’s it. If the city of Birmingham — I’m not saying the city of Birmingham in the sense of the mayor, but people, business owners — could just see what a wonderful impact it is on this city, and how we unite people that would never get together.”

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