Many of these [LA] productions don’t have designers locked in until the very last minute or its more about a party and less about fashion.
By Devon Poer
Let’s be frank. When you think about attending fashion shows, your first city of choice in the U.S. is not going to be Los Angeles. You don’t see the likes of Anna Wintour or even Rachel Zoe sitting front row during LA fashion week and Rachel lives here. Its just not happening right now. And why is that?
Well, more than three years ago the all-mighty Mercedes Benz title dropped LA like a bad habit with no plans to return, and the LA fashion community has yet to collectively represent a strong, consistent fashion week. Instead, in the past three years we have seen multiple fashion events come and go: Downtown LA Fashion Week, Fashion Weekend, Los Angeles Fashion Week, Reveal Los Angeles, Beverly Hills Fashion Festival, Fashion Los Angeles, LA Fashion Collective, Smashbox, BoxEight, Genlux and the list goes on. There are too many productions coming and going, with new ones popping up every year and, the truth is we never make it through without some drama. Many of these productions don’t have designers locked in until the very last minute or its more about a party and less about fashion. Often, it’s the designers getting screwed, which is unfortunate since fashion designers are the foundation that carry the industry!
The result is that Los Angeles simply does not have strong enough marketing position to reinvigorate or re-establish Los Angeles Fashion Week.
Los Angeles needs to stop trying to position itself as being on the same playing field New York. Our competitive position is not even within the same discipline and yet we can’t get that in our heads. Instead, we need to establish what Los Angeles has to offer, and clearly differentiate ourselves in the big world of fashion. Los Angeles is number one for manufacturing on the West Coast and we crank out garments faster than American Apparel can open up new locations. Each season the LA Fashion District continues to evolve and drive the Los Angeles economy. If the differentiating gem of LA fashion isn’t staring us in the face we need new glasses.
The driving force for Los Angeles is our capacity for innovation, transformation as well as creative and artistic expression. This LAFW, the strongest effort came from CONCEPT and its marriage of fashion and art, and designers Chemline, Thai Nguyen and Dolan prove how much creativity and innovation comes out of this city!
Establishments like the California Market Center host over thousands of local and national fashion brand and pop up trade shows over an extensive four day span each quarterly season. Buyers come in from all over the world to experience showrooms at the California Market Center, The New Mart, the Cooper Design Space and more.
It’s time to stop trying to mirror the already established fashion conglomerates that run New York Fashion Week and embrace a vision that is distinctly LA.
However, a consistent Los Angeles Fashion Week would mean that people would have to put their egos aside and work together to discuss how to collectively support both manufacturing and market.
What do you think? Is LA up for the challenge?
Devon Poer is a fashion stylist, marketing consultant and journalist based in Los Angeles. In 2010, she founded The Stylist Handbook, the first magazine and resource book for fashion and wardrobe stylists. She has styled celebrities such as Busy Philipps from the hit tv show “Cougar Town”, movie actress Radha Mitchell from “The Crazies”, “Man on Fire”, “Pitch Black”, actress Jane Leeves from the hit show “Hot in Cleveland” and has worked with the California Market Center, French Connection, Cythnia Steffe, Banana Republic, Juel Park, Marc Ecko, Maria Bianca Nero, Kao Pao Shu, Carmen Steffens, Jerell Scott, and others. Follow her on Twitter @devonpoer