Fixing L.A. Fashion Week

Here’s the thing about Los Angeles Fashion Week: It doesn’t exist. At least, not in the traditional (and much more respected) format that we have come to know from Mercedes-Benz fashion weeks in New York, Paris and the like.

The scene at Designer & The Muse, which kicked off L.A. Fashion Week Oct. 3 at Sofitel Beverly Hills’ Riviera 31 Lounge.

But it did exist at one point, most recently in 2008, when Mercedes-Benz, IMG and Smashbox studios were on board and uniting the industry in L.A.

Since those three left the scene, there hasn’t been an official fashion week. Style Fashion Week L.A. has come close, and Concept L.A. isn’t far behind, but we don’t have anything that really puts us on the map of “must-attend” runway shows. To sum it up politely: No one cares about LAFW.

This is a large part of why I started Fashion Maven Los Angeles; there are plenty of talented Los Angeles-based designers, and they deserve to be highlighted, singled out, shown as unique.

But others have their own reasons why LAFW isn’t influential in the industry (to the point where we’re almost a joke). Writing for Los Angeles Magazine, Linda Immediato points out:

“The idea behind fashion week is to create a platform for designers to present their collections to buyers who enable supply and to media editors who selectively create demand. And let’s forget for a second that, when it did happen, L.A. Fashion Week took place a month after designers have already shown in NY, Paris, London, and Milan and that buyers have by now already bought and editors have already published their trend reports. Some critics have argued that an LA Fashion Week can’t help but be irrelevant because of when it did/would fall in the calendar. Nowadays, some West Coast designers show in NY and then go to Project or Magic in Vegas to show their collections to West Coast media and buyers there, though the clothes hang on racks instead of models and the vibrancy and excitement of a runway show is missed.”

Be sure to read her entire article, because she hits the needle on the head. But not all hope is lost. There are plenty of great things about our unofficial fashion week. Though it’s rather fragmented, this leaves plenty of opportunity and time to attend shows. Plus, we use models who lean more toward the California aesthetic: curvy, tan and happy. No grumpy, hungry facial expressions here.

Tell me—what do you think about LAFW and how do you wish it could be different (if at all)?

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