DALLAS, Oct 22, 2009 / FW/ — There really was no Los Angeles Fashion Week; there was L.A. Fashion Weekend and Downtown L.A. Fashion Week. With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios now defunct, there really is no center to speak of.

L.A. skyline

And though L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had said, “Our City is no longer just the fashion capital of the West Coast; L.A. is one of the major fashion capitals of the world,” that statement is just a politician talking. The jury is still out on what is the rightful place of Los Angeles in the fashion world.

I still remember the first time that I attended Los Angeles Fashion Week. It was at the Standard Hotel in downtown L.A. and officially called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week L.A. (Smashbox Studios was the then grassroots venue and considered underground. )

Then IMG and the Factor brothers made a deal, and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios was born with the high hopes that it will consolidate fashion week in Los Angeles and truly become a launching pad for new design talents.

But, it did not work out. Some designers still found $2,000 rent for the venue is still very steep, perhaps not knowing that the smallest venue at New York’s Bryant Park is about $20,000. Yet, I do understand. When you’re just beginning, $2,000 is a lot of money.

Then another venue was set up in downtown; the scuttlebutt was at that time, the rent was so much cheaper than Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios. I don’t have hard data. I was never invited. I was never sent a press release by the organizers though I had been covering the Los Angeles fashion scene for years.

I stopped covering Los Angeles for several reasons, the most important being – there was not enough interest among readers to warrant going there, i.e. spending money for airfare, hotel and car rental. It was not just paying off, businesswise.

So, why are we covering Los Angeles once again? Our L.A. correspondent wanted to give it another try. Perhaps, things are better; maybe, there will be enough interest this time. I don’t know if things are better now; I am even unsure it is generating enough interest.

But one thing sticks out like a sore thumb… for a very small fashion scene, why are there two fashion weeks? (I’m using the term fashion week loosely here) Will Los Angeles continue to be a city divided when it comes to fashion?

If that is the case, then it is unfortunate because this is one scenario wherein the phrase “divide and conquer” does not hold true.


Runway Shows