Next week, Fashion Week LA kicks off, and I am sort of tempted to cut three holes into a trash bag, belt it, and wear it to the shows with some Prada mary-jane heels, telling people it’s a part of the “Derelict” collection. The third person to ask me if my hair is a wig (yes, this happens often… why it’s an “OK” thing to ask someone, I have no clue) will get an undisclosed mystery prize which may or may not harbor infectious disease.
We have been really trying (for the past 5-6 years) to recover from losing Mercedes Benz and Smashbox as the main backers of LAFW, but it’s been a slogging, uphill battle.
That’s not to say that there is no fashion in LA (quite the contrary); it’s more to do with a terrible lack of cohesion, funding, and curation.
Los Angeles has over 3500 fashion manufacturers, but with a pay-to-play mentality (“Style Fashion Week” seems to allow pretty much anybody to show, as long as they can fork over the fee), it’s a hodge-podge of designers whose collections seem forced out onto the runway, Elmer’s glued together with hopes of fame and fortune… —Or at least a PR rep/buyer/WWD writer to see it.
Meanwhile, with smaller shows (like LA Fashion Council’s) coming up this week, a much more careful and prudent selection of designers arises, but not as much fanfare comes. While I personally find this show a bit more legitimate and tight-knit, they don’t seem to do much with their PR to get the attention that it deserves.
GenArt is another show which actually has great production value, but serves as some sort of safe-house for flimsy designers who are at a fledgeling state in their careers.
I know that what I am saying sounds bleak, but I do have faith. The problem is that many of these designers aren’t actually ready yet for a showcase of their work. They need showroom placement and conversion (ie: SALES) before taking this leap.
Yes, the show production companies are there to make money, but taking the vetting process more seriously would actually only serve them better in the long-run. By being more selective with the designers they allow to show, bigger brands might be more willing to fork over the money for a showcase of their own. Most big fish don’t like to swim with tadpoles… —ESPECIALLY not with tadpoles who are wearing neon velour.
—We need better models, slicker looking designers, and more meticulous weeding out of strange guests (someone actually believed me when I told her I was a goat herder who was there to pitch my “special cashmere” to fashion designers in LA) and hangers-on whose main goals of the evening include posting to Facebook about how they saw a “Real Housewife of __________” and taking selfies next to the stage after trying to steal a gift bag of detergent (yes, this was in a real gift bag last season).
We also need a cohesive single web site that lists all of the shows in LA, as well as a place for buyers to canoodle with the designers. If we could approach WWD or Apparel News as co-producers (instead of just media coverage), we could start courting their advertisers to sponsor the show. What are we doing to ourselves by not having major media coverage? Where is all the money these designers are paying going to? (My guess is that it’s being sort of wasted on outlandish/unnecessary venues.)
There needs to be more regulation, moderation, and organization to really get us back on track. It’s not impossible, and we have the talent to do it, but the gospel needs to start spreading. It can start here, on my mini-rant, and move forward to LA-level virility… One can only hope.
Meanwhile, this trash bag dress is getting hot. My goats are getting nervous, and my wig is getting itchy. Please place your cashmere orders with my assistant, Cindy the Sherpa, and she’ll hand over your swag bag full of hypodermic needles she found outside on the street.