DALLAS, Mar 25, 2009 / FW/ — Without an official fashion week, Los Angelenos strive to keep their fashion scene alive with L.A. Fashion Weekend that highlighted some of LA’s premier designers Raw 7, Postage Denim, and Samora.
Held last Mar 20th at the Cooper Design Space, L.A. Fashion Weekend was a joint effort by Gallery LA and KPR. Starting with a 5:00 PM reception and the shows at 7:30 PM, it was a true fashion event, albeit smaller than usual, complete with swag bags and open bar.
Explaining the reason behind L.A. Fashion Weekend, Mikey Koffman of the Green Gallery LA said, “I feel the fashion brands in LA have so much to offer and it is paramount to be part of helping to bring attention to these brands and to help sustain businesses in LA.”
“We scheduled LA Fashion weekend intentionally during market so designers have the best opportunity to present their collections to 2 of the most important elements of their business – the press and buyers,” Koffman added.
What Mikey Koffman said is very true; hence the event will perhaps start a true grassroots fashion movement in the Los Angeles area.
It was eight years ago, in November 2001, when Los Angeles Fashion Week entered the national consciousness with the Spring 2002 unveiling of collections and E! Style covering the shows for the TV audience. But, it would not be until April 2003, during the Fall 2003 season that IMG Fashion, organizers of New York fashion week will flex its muscles to get the fashion set take L.A. seriously.
At the same time, Smashbox Studios was also holding its own fashion week. Any fashion observer worth his or her salt would have told you that two fashion weeks in an undeveloped fashion scene like Los Angeles is detrimental to its growth.
Whether it was divine intervention or just good business sense, IMG Fashion and Smashbox Studios joined forces and thus, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios was born on Mar 2004, with the celebration of the Fall 2004 season.
Everyone breathed a little easier, understanding that this was a gutsy move for both parties and thus giving a chance for the L.A. fashion scene to truly grow. But good intentions were not enough; everyone has to be on board, or else any step forward made with the collaboration between IMG Fashion and Smashbox Studios would have been lost.
Small cracks started to show when fashion week became just another scene to be seen. It was hard to leave the Hollywood baggage behind. B-list celebrities, whose claim to fame was a speaking line at ‘Friends’ started ‘hanging out’ at the shows. PRs and publicists, thinking that any celebrity is good gave precious seats to them, hoping to get some buzz. But, it backfired.
Not understanding the real value of the fashion press, fashion journalists were given bad seats or worst, not invited because a posse of B-list celebrities took 10 front row seats! In the end, no reviews or exposure to the designers were given, hence the whole premise behind holding fashion week, i.e. showing the collections to the press and buyers was defeated.
(Oh, there were A-list celebrities in the beginning, like Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman and Owen Wilson gracing the shows. But, their presence was few and far between. )
Then of course, the difficulty of financing a show also became an issue for emerging designers who are just starting their business. Although Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios venue charges were minimal, almost negligible compared to the cost if a designer showed in New York, most designers found the cost too high.
Hence, an alternative L.A. Fashion Week was held at the same time that the official Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios was being held, and thus ‘dividing again’ the very small group of press and buyers who are attending the shows.
When the collaboration between IMG Fashion and Smashbox Studios ended, Los Angeles was left without an official fashion week. Holding a fashion week is very expensive, a fact that everyone understands but always expect that someone will foot the bill. With the U.S. economy in shambles, that ‘someone’ footing the bill is very hard to find.
But, Gallery LA and KPR would not allow L.A. fashion dreams to die. Holding a one-day ‘fashion weekend’ featuring just three designers might be just a small step for having a fashion week, but a giant leap to the fashion grassroots, borrowing from famous quote by Neil Armstrong. And the pioneering labels who still believe are Samora, Raw 7 and Post’age.
Samora continues to be inspired by the 21st Century woman who is on the go. Through her tutelage at Italy’s prestigious Stefanel, Samora has brought European tailoring and couture craftsmanship to a California ready to wear brand
A pillar of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios (she was showing since it began), Samora is a Los Angeles based ready to wear clothing collection dedicated to the modern and sophisticated woman.
Known for its celeb-adored Rocker-chic luxury collections, Raw-7 is pushing its style of unmistakable individuality to the next level. Its new directions focus on classic raw sophistication with a simplistic edge and respect for unabrasive creation methods. The collections utilize hand techniques to create Raw-7’s signature detail in design and elaborate embellishment.
Post’age uses an array of the highest-quality fabrics and material from the U.S.A as well as Japan and Europe. Every thing from the premium denim, to the wovens and knits are made in a partnering Los Angeles factory, consistently resulting in a streamlined aesthetic. Despite domestic production, Post’ age upholds a strong commitment to keeping prices competitive without compromising style and comfort.
The Official Sponsors of the event are: Smart Water, Charles David Shoes, Photogenics, Juan Florentino (hair) Smashbox Cosmetics, CA Apparel News, Honest Tea, Marani Vodka, ComisarioTequila, California Apparel News, Poza, Get Hip Get Green.
Photos courtesy of L.A. Fashion Weekend