Byline: Rose Apodaca Jones
In recent months, it looks like the world — or at least, the consumer media — has tripped upon what those of us here have known for years: Los Angeles fashion can be as innovative and edgy as that of designers anywhere. When our family and friends call to inform us of this spring’s features on L.A. style in Newsweek or Harper’s Bazaar, those of us who toil in the West Coast bureau of WWD smile, knowing we’ve been doing our part to get the word out.
Certainly, the word’s already out on L.A.’s biggest fashion moment, the Academy Awards, where an international roster of design talent is deployed to show the world what Hollywood style is all about. It’s no wonder, then, that the buzz grows louder among many here to pump up the volume on our own Market Week by showcasing the homegrown talent in a setting worthy of international attention.
At press time, talk of tents and scheduling dominate the conversations among two nascent groups who are vying to stage an L.A. fashion week in spring 2002.
London Fashion Week founder Lynne Franks is guiding the development of what she hopes will become a coalition of retailers, designers, editors and educators.
“Los Angeles right now has the same exciting energy that London did in the early Eighties,” Franks told WWD in April. The fashion vet also created the British Fashion Awards and once owned a key publicity agency in London. She continues her work with fashion and beauty clients through her new agency, Globalfusion.
“I think it’s important 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 L.A.,” she added.
As enthusiastic, yet with a slightly different take, are Shannon Davidson and Megan Griffith. “This is about L.A. designers, about California fashion,” said Davidson, a 12-year veteran of fashion-show production and other nationwide events for St. John, Ferragamo, Fendi and Vogue magazine. With Griffith, she recently ended a tour of wearable technology shows that stopped in Sydney, Berlin, Chicago and other cities. “If it should become something grander, great. But what we want to do first is keep it focused.”
With alliances and a location being finalized at press time, the duo want to kick off a two-day event with Gen Art, the nonprofit fledgling designer showcase of which Griffith is West Coast director. Griffith’s resume also includes a dozen years of trade show and event production experience.
The same venue will contain a number of consecutive shows, as well as “celebrity-filled galas” by night, said Davidson. “Wherever it is and whenever it is, it’s completely buyer-driven. We want it to be a real convenient one-stop shop.”
While Griffith and Davidson will see out the production, a nonprofit group will be formed with an advisory committee from all parts of the fashion community.
Indeed, it’s going to take a great commitment on the part of the entire industry here to present a worthwhile and respectable Fashion Week. This is certainly not the first time it’s been attempted. The Coalition of Los Angeles Designers (CLAD) has staged its own one-night stands in recent years, and the CalMart erected tents and invaded downtown theaters in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties.
The mission now is for the coalitions, advisory boards and the industry at large to have the foresight to see what warrants tent attention and what does not.