The annual Los Angeles Fashion Week is held every March and October in venues throughout the city. The event began as ‘Press Week,’ in which fashion journalists nationwide were invited to see SoCal clothing collections. Most of the action happens in the L.A. Fashion District, a business improvement district supported by more than 700 property owners. The District spans about 90 blocks and is the fulcrum of the Los Angeles apparel industry.
Historically, Fashion Week has been run by a consortium of regional fashion designers, journalists, and marketers since the late 1990’s. In 2002, IMG’s fashion department, which operates the New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, came westward to put on a show in downtown Los Angeles. Dozens of designers show their collections to interested parties at various venues, while others tout their wares in nightclubs, private houses, churches and lofts.
In late 2005, the Fashion Awards were established during Fashion Week to honor the best Los Angeles apparel designers. The Awards are given at the close of Fashion Week, and are judged by a nominating committee of over 40 of LA’s top fashion journalists, merchandisers and designers. The entire event is produced by LA Fashion Awards, LLC, which was co-founded by two fashion industry veterans.
The biggest attraction of the Fashion Week is the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz show held at Smashbox Studios. Other important events include the Atmosphere Trade Show, BOXeight Fashion Week and Gen Art’s Avant Guardians.
With the assistance of various fashion industry influences, the success of the Los Angeles Fashion Week continues to increase. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has understood the positive effects of the Week, and has connected with the local fashion industry. In late 2007 he acclaimed the industry’s contributions with a speech at the opening of the LA Fashion Awards, toured one of the runway show venues, and visited others. The mayor’s office is currently in the process of establishing a committee to attempt to utilize the energies of the Fashion Week to bolster the reputation of Los Angeles as a fashion capital and to improve the bottom lines of the businesses operating there.