I must say, this next fashion event was special. Not only was my boyfriend coming along, but it was my first “really out-of-town” event. It was the 6th annual Fashion on the Square (FOTS for short) held in San Francisco at the Intercontinental Hotel.
I had met the founder of FOTS, Y’Anad Burrell through another event and it was a pleasure being able to attend one of her events. She created FOTS as a bridge between the traditional fashion weeks so it always takes place in the summer. Seeing and knowing that there were many talented designers out there who couldn’t afford the conventional shows, had also helped her vision of FOTS emerge into a yearly event. Having said that; this year, she combined two established designers with one aspiring designer who was still in school to share the same stage.
Planning the seminars and shows usually takes her nine months beginning in September. The charities that are chosen have to ideally be connected to the fashion industry. This year, three were chosen: Fashion Delivers, Wardrobe for Opportunity and KIDS (Kids in Distressed Situations). Each charity is involved with bringing awareness to the event by reaching out to the members of their audiences.
Each FOTS Institute-Seminar this year focused on every aspect of the fashion industry. From the talent/modeling agencies to photographers, marketing, the designers themselves and the hair/make-up teams. I attended the “Meet the Designers” panel seminar, where the three designers were each given questions that they were to give their personal views or life experiences. This year it was b. Michael, Oligo Tissew and Erik Stultz and delegated by lingerie designer, Simeon Dacumos of Aperitif and Tushe. In the corner of the room was a piece from each of their collections. b. Michael chose a strapless red floor-length gown from his fall collection. It had a mermaid silhouette and made of silk wool and hand-embroidered. His pieces are “timeless American glamour and beauty.” Erik Stultz, a student at the Art Institute of California- San Francisco, chose an ensemble inspired by the African tribal landscape. Oligo Tissew, who spent a year in London at Central St. Martins before heading to the States to finish out at Otis, chose a long, black knitted coat with a tulip silhouette.
The last seminar I attended was “Fashion Marketing, Publicity, Trends and Branding”, delegated by Denise Kelly and featured Marieke van der Poel of Peclers Paris, Donna Barry of Inkspot PR and Lisa Prescott of Agency Collective. As a person just starting in the industry myself, I found it very informative hearing from the PR, trend forcasting points of view on how to brand and market yourself.
After a short break, we headed back over to the Intercontinental Hotel for the fashion show, which b.Michael and Eric Stultz were presenting their collections. After everyone took their respective seats ( I was lucky enough to sit at the end of the runway), Janelle Wang, co-host from “View from the Bay” gave welcoming remarks, followed by Denise Bradley, who was the host of the show. Erik Stultz presented his collection first. There were a few menswear designs inspired by 1950’s Robots that went down the runway first, then models wearing elegant bustier lingerie whose colors were inspired by coral reefs and silhouettes inspired by the circus strolled the catwalk. The last part of the presentation showed looks inspired by the African tribes. He wanted the colors of that collection to reflect that of the African tribal landscape. The highlight of his presentation was a model in a strapless, draped, long tiered dress complete with a raffia belt. On her head with a dramatic feathered headpiece. After his presentation, two dancers, Caroline Rocher and Keelan Whitmore from Alonzo King LINES Ballet performed; followed by the runway show of b. Michael. His clothes that went down the runway were simple, yet elegant and clean with a hint of detail. His collection ranged from menswear to cocktail dresses, coats, pant suits, to evening gowns. My favorite dress was, of course, the embroidered red dress that I had seen on the mannequin hours before. The show ended with some closing remarks by Y’Anad and b. Michael being presented with an award by FOTS and a letter from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, proclaiming July 25th as “b. Michael Day.”
If you would like more information on FOTS, please visit www.fashiononthesquare.com.
Note: I was not able to attend the Children and Teen Runway Show MCed by child star Khamani Griffin. It featured looks from Gymboree, JCPenney, Old Navy, Sears, Apple Bottoms, Janie & Jack, Fabulosity, Blue Skies, Cocoa Jeans and Crazy 8.
Special Thanks: Y’Anad Burrell, April Reynolds and Manuel of the Donatello Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, Unsung Diva! Production team, the invited guests for the seminars, the designers- b. Michael, Oligo Tissew and Erik Stultz, the models, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, American Airlines, the charities, J. Garcia, Glass House Communications (www.glasshousepr.com), Taylrz Joynt Boutique is at 13549 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks. The number is (818)907-7818.