L.A. FASHION WEEK IS IN THE WORKS

Byline: Rose Apodaca Jones

LOS ANGELES — If action speaks louder than words, then the buzz is about to get deafening.
After years of informal discussions and published hype over instituting a formal Fashion Week here, complete with official schedules and corporate sponsorships, the talk looks like it might become a reality as soon as spring 2002.
Thursday, veteran event producers Megan Griffith and Shannon Davidson told WWD that they have entered into an alliance with publicists Sara Stein and Margaret Schell to create a Fashion Week in Los Angeles.
The call coincided with an unofficial meeting with a similar agenda hosted that evening by Lynne Franks, the ex-pat living in Venice, Calif., who founded London Fashion Week in the early Eighties. The turnout included Rosemary Brantley of the Otis School of Fashion, designer Cynthia Vincent, who is also a liaison with the Coalition of Los Angeles Designers. and fashion editors.
Stein said she intended to attend the meeting, but was unable because her client, the D&A show, was opening the following morning. (See related story, this page.)
But the chorus among all interested parties is one of support and enthusiasm over the thriving design community here.
“Designers are designing here and staying here,” noted Griffith, who brings 12 years of trade show and event experience to the project, including creating the once-streetwear-savvy LOOK Show and as continuing West Coast director of Gen Art. “They’re staying here because of lifestyle. They’re proud to say they’re from L.A. now.” Stein and Schell recently founded fashion boutique agency SPR. Stein has long worked in the entertainment and fashion industries, and Schell trained in fashion production with KCD, Badgley Mischka, Vivienne Tam and others before moving west last year. The two met at their former employer, fashion PR powerhouse, People’s Revolution. Davidson also has a dozen years to her resume overseeing show production and other nationwide events for St. John, Fendi, Ferragamo and Vogue magazine. She partnered with Griffith last year to produce wearable technology shows that toured Sydney, Berlin and Chicago, among other spots.
The four said they are creating a separate company to see out their plans; they added they are interested in meeting with the other coalition.
“We all realize that L.A. is not New York, so it will have to be something very organic to Los Angeles,” noted Schell, in what became an overwhelming theme across town at Frank’s meeting.
“Los Angeles right now has the same exciting energy that London did in the early Eighties,” observed the fashion vet, whose resume also lists creating the British Fashion Awards, as well as once owning a key publicity agency whose clients included Tommy Hilfiger, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier and many others. Since moving the the U.S. three years ago, Frank opened another agency, Globalfusion, as well as founded Seed, a global women’s support network. She authored a book about women’s support, also called “Seed.”
“I think it’s important that we don’t even try to compete with the existing fashion weeks. We’d like to bring in the arts, architecture, new technology — all the elements that represent the creative in L.A. — and do it with community outreach. Having been in the industry for 30 years, I think the traditional fashion weeks are getting tired. There has to be a different way of doing things.”
Under the working banner Fashion Fusion, the coalition will meet in the next weeks to formally begin planing. The newest buzz word among all? Inclusion.

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