Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that disrupted the spring collections, Style.com put together a group show called “An American View” for 11 designers last season with the support of Vogue magazine and its editor in chief, Anna Wintour. Based on the success of the event, which helped several participants find new sponsorship and retail accounts, the Web site — the online home of Vogue and W — plans to continue its support for young designers each season.
The format could likely change each season, said Candy Pratts Price, executive fashion director of Style.com, noting that the site is sponsoring two independent shows in February.
“We want to continue that tradition,” she said. “We picked two people who we believe needed the sponsorship. After Sept. 11, the show was like an emergency fashion relief fund. Now, all we want to do is tap emerging talent and say, ‘Pay attention here — this is good.”‘
Owens, based in Los Angeles, has quickly developed a reputation for his rough-edged fashion and recently signed with an Italian agent. Sarafpour introduced her signature collection a year ago after working for houses such as Anne Klein, Narciso Rodriguez and Isaac Mizrahi before taking the reigns of Barneys New York private label.
Owens’s show will be produced by Kevin Krier on Feb. 13, while Sarafpour, whose show will be produced by Deborah Hughes, has not yet set a time.
Editors from Vogue and Style.com had selected and styled the ensembles of each designer in the previous American View show, but this season, their participation will be limited to the funding, Price said. While that might raise the specter of how the publication or Web site might react to a poor showing from either designer, the point, she said, was to build the sponsorship as a way to show a commitment to emerging American talent.
“Unless we ourselves take pride in it, it’s never going to be applauded,” Price said. “We have to take the initiative to encourage American talent.”