Los Angeles Fashion Week returned with a new lineup from October 6 to 9, hoping to attract fashion brands and designers to the traditionally commercial-focused event.
According to LAFW president Ciarra Pardo, the organizers are committed to "doing things differently" by focusing on four pillars — fashion, beauty, technology, and sustainability — rather than a specific season and by opening up new modes of presentation beyond traditional runway shows.
Brands that are coming to Show
While LA labels like Gypsy Sport and Sami Miro Vintage are scheduled to show, the majority of the brands at the event are not from the city. An only child from New York will be there, as well as international brands Demobaza and Chris Nick, whose dress was featured on one of the first Vogue Philippines covers. Fleur du Mal is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and Guess is celebrating its fortieth, both with previously unseen brand footage. Levi's and Revise Denim will also be present.
While the majority of the participants did not appear elsewhere during fashion month, Anonlychild is making its second appearance. Following its debut in New York, the brand will bring a modified version to the West Coast. Maxwell Osborne was drawn to the freshness of LAFW. Having visited Los Angeles for deadstock sourcing, he says the opportunity to show in the city — and tell the story of the brand's materials — felt natural.
Why do we have to be a New York mainstay?
It was also an opportunity to break the rules: "Why do we have to be a New York mainstay?" he asks, noting that Anonlychild might not show in February after LAFW. "We're not going to get bogged down in rules and seasons." Or perhaps locations. According to Osborne, showing the collection in Los Angeles is his way of saying, "Why not?"
Gypsy Sport is a returning LA-based brand to keep an eye on. Rio Uribe returned to Los Angeles in 2019 after a 15-year stint in New York, and he showed at LAFW last year. On his return to the event (rather than doing things on his own time as he had done in previous NYFWs), he says that "LAFW feels fresh and new, so we decided to jump onboard."
LAFW's immersive technology is a part of this newness. According to Pardo, the Lighthouse venue will have nearly 200 projectors, which many exhibiting designers will use to add digital or immersive elements to their shows. Gypsy Sport, for example, will use this technology to celebrate Latinidad and Chicano culture by immersing the audience in what Uribe refers to as Gypsy Sport's "universe."
Following its acquisition by N4XT Experiences in January of this year, LAFW has been undergoing a rebranding. This is the second LAFW since it was purchased from Arthur Chipman, who trademarked the name in 2015. (The first under new ownership was in April). Historically, the week has struggled to attract the same level of attention – and attendance – as the major fashion weeks. Smashbox Cosmetics and IMG attempted (with limited success) to correct this for five years before dissolving their partnership in 2008. As a result, the week lacked a clear organizer and was notoriously disorganized, with multiple organizations hosting various events. N4XT Experiences is the clear showrunner this year, with sponsors including Mercedes-Benz, Bolt, and Delta Airlines.
Pardo is determined to change the LAFW narrative, crediting her previous role as Fenty's chief creative officer for informing her approach. It helps that attention has been focused on Los Angeles as a fashion destination for global luxury brands. In collaboration with Erl, Dior presented its menswear collection at Venice Beach in May. (An LA brand notably absent from the LAFW lineup). The same month, Louis Vuitton held its Cruise 2023 show in La Jolla. Gucci may have started the trend with its "Love Parade" on Hollywood Boulevard in November 2021. Ralph Lauren will show outside of Los Angeles on October 13 after skipping New York.
The city is a blank slate, according to Pardo, in that it isn't bound by tradition like other key fashion month destinations. "There is an energy in LA that has always been overlooked by the serious fashion calendar," says Osborne of LA's fashion territory's nascency — and associated potential.
Erl isn't the only LA-based brand that has vanished. While some LA labels are represented, many of the city's popular streetwear brands are not. Fear of God and Rhude, the latter of which recently debuted its Spring/Summer 2023 collection in Paris on June 22, is absent from the October lineup.
While the Los Angeles Fashion Week October lineup includes some streetwear brands, it is noticeably absent of others. Fear of God and Rhude are two popular LA-based streetwear brands that will not be participating in the event. While LAFW's immersive technology is a part of this newness, Pardo is determined to change the LAFW narrative and focus attention on Los Angeles as a fashion destination for global luxury brands.
What do you think of LAFW's rebranding? Let us know in the comments below!