Away from the dripping icicles and receding snowbanks, Ottawa Fashion Week is helping bolster Winterlude's indoor roster in a year where the weather has melted away at its outdoor sites.

This is the first year the celebration of the local fashion industry has partnered with Winterlude.

Elena Hinke, who's been selling her Russian-inspired collections in the Byward Market for ten years, said she's a Winterlude fan.

"This is fantastic. It's the whole city on skates," she said. "It's crazy but it's beautiful."

Those involved with its opening on Friday said they were impressed at how much the weekend had grown in six years.

"I've been doing fashion week since it started," said model Ashley Forta. "I'm so proud to see how much it's grown and how much exposure we've gotten."

The week is getting the attention of some major sponsors, in a city that was branded amongst the worst fashion cities in the world last year.

"The designers are so open to our ideas and they have so many different colors and patterns that make each one different," said Shawn Hlowatzki of Smashbox Cosmetics.

"Everyone assumes Ottawa is a certain way," said designer Amanda Emmanuel. "This shows there are artistic and dynamic creative elements within Ottawa. This is where we can really shine."

Other indoor Winterlude activities include the comedy fundraiser Cracking up the Capital for Mental Health at the NAC Saturday night and Cool Science Saturday at the Science and Technology Museum.

They've become more important with the closure of the Rideau Canal and temporary closure of other major outdoor sites across the capital because of warm weather.

Ottawa Fashion Week ends Sunday, while the last day of Winterlude is Monday.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefanie Masotti