The beginning of an intelligent conversation about the city of New Orleans and the Business of Fashion
When I returned to New Orleans a few years back after living and working for sometime in the epicenter of the fashion world, I was skeptical that I would able to satiate my mind for an intellectual dialog about the fashion trade. I was doubtful that there would be anyone in the tri-parish area deeply concerned about critical design, manufacturing logistics or the media machine of fashion commerce. I never projected this visually appetizing and salacious city to aspire to be anything more fashion forward than a bedazzled Saints game day ensemble or a charity fashion show. I anticipated my home to be full of cocktails, cuisine and clown-like politics, but a think tank for aspiring designers, not so much. I am not being irreverent. The same holds true when ordering a soft-shell crab po-boy in Manhattan; it is just not their thing. This past March 2011, I was abruptly yet blissfully blindsided. By no account was I prepared for what that following week provided.
The NOLA Fashion Council, formally “#LA is the new LA,” successfully hosted a dignified industry-based affair dedicated to Southern-born or Southern-based designers, retailers, writers and stylists. Partnering with the Downtown Development District, the Ogden Museum as well as local galleries and venues, the infrastructure and vision of the NOLA Fashion Council became reality. This brainchild of Andi Eaton and Nick Landry, the NOLA Fashion Council will host its second New Orleans Fashion Week from October 15 through October 22. Building on the momentum and critical acclaim stemming from March 2011 Fashion Week, which consisted of educational workshops, a market, installations, Summer/Winter Runway shows and presentations, the NOLA Fashion Council has created an even more in-depth and globally publicized week this for October.
Style and beauty professional Andi Eaton and owner of the event marketing company NLE, Nick Landry, share a deep appreciation for the city of New Orleans and the rich artistic culture it generates. The two individuals met through a mutual client, designer Matthew Arthur, and upon discussing their creative ambitions and professional backgrounds, the NOLA Fashion Council was conceived. Eaton explains that the purpose of the NOLA Fashion Council is “to elevate the creativity in the city.” The council’s ambition is to link young designers, photographers and stylists with trade insiders.
“There is so much talent in New Orleans, yet these individuals may not have the means to connect with mainstream fashion. They do not necessarily have the resources to get to a New York or other fashion-driven city,” says Landry. “We hope to be their voice.”
The NOLA Fashion Council will host an industry colloquium the week of October 15 through October 22 for those interested or involved in various aspects of the business of fashion. Besides the runway presentation, there will be seminars, pop-up retail shops and lectures.
“The educational classes and events build connections between local participants and those involved in fashion commerce,” says Eaton. “In March 2011 we had such strong feedback from lecture attendants we realized that there was a need for more comprehensive instruction.”
The program for the workshops and fashion marketplace during this week are equally as significant as the runway presentations.
Similar to the movie industry’s growth, the NOLA Fashion Council has attracted the attention of businesses and city resources and the council expects to maintain that awareness. The financial impact, like Hollywood South, has the potential to bring revenue to the city. However, these sorts of economic developments will not happen overnight, but the energy and consciousness is there to make that transpire. The city and the South in general is a hot bed of talented individuals and with events like these it compels locals and visitors to listen.
Here is a select schedule of the events happening during New Orleans Fashion week:
Saturday, October 15: Retail shopping day and kick-off party
Sunday, October 16: Kids Fashion Day at the Louisiana Children’s Museum
Monday, October 17: NOLA Fashion Council Luncheon at Ste. Marie
Tuesday: October 18: 7 p.m. Presentation: Andrea Loest
Wednesday, October 19: 7 p.m. Runway Show: Ashlie Ming of Blackout and Rogersliu at Ogden Museum
Thursday, October 20: Runway Shows: Varela + Brooks at 7 p.m., Matthew Arthur Apparel Architecture at 8:30 p.m. and Fashion Market at Ogden Museum
Friday, October 21: Runway Show: Amanda deLeon, Jolie & Elizabeth at 8:30 p.m. and Fashion Market at Ogden Museum. Wrap party at Eiffel Society at 10 p.m.
A more detailed schedule is on www.nola-fashionweek.com and interested people can keep up with them on www.twitter.com/NOLAFW – Twitter & www.facebook.com/NOLAfashionweek – Facebook.
It will be an incredible and inspirational week for visitors, students and those who flourish on design and beauty. Be advised that one will not come across any bedazzled black and gold attire, an appliquéd fleur di lis or a Mardi Gras hued rugby shirt. This will not be a “New Orleans” themed event but a fantastic event taking place in a fantastic setting, New Orleans.
– Aimée Gowland