What Would It Take for an L.A. Designer Exodus From NYFW?

Sam Reed

"L.A. is a couple of brands away from having a moment," said Jens Grede of Culver City-based Frame. "I think if everyone comes together, we could have three days in L.A. that would be incredible."

As the Los Angeles fashion scene continues to be legitimized by award-winning emerging designers (Newport Beach's Brock Collection picked up the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund last year), as well as by major fashion houses that are choosing to show their collections on the West Coast (Dior, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent, to name a few), we've begun to wonder: What exactly would it take for L.A. designers to leave New York Fashion Week altogether in favor of a SoCal event?

A handful of L.A.-based designers, including Rachel Comey, Rachel Zoe and Raquel Allegra, already took the plunge this season by RSVPing “No” to New York, instead opting to preview their designs to local editors, celebrities and clients.

“It’s really expensive to get your whole team to New York and to do all of the logistical things,” Allegra told The Hollywood Reporter of jumping the NYFW ship. “But knowing there were other designers showing [in] L.A. was really encouraging because we knew that there would be more editors here.”

Zoe cited similar reasoning, but added that her decision to host an intimate dinner at the Sunset Tower Hotel was also a reaction to the changing nature of the industry and retail in general. "I'm not saying I won't show in New York again," she concluded.

While it's much easier for more established, big-budget brands like Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger to host shows on the West Coast — especially given that editors and other industry types will literally travel to the ends of the Earth to see them — smaller labels don't necessarily have that luxury.


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Instead, Culver City-based Frame, The Elder Statesman and NewbarK pack up twice a year and head to New York City. So what would it take for these smaller labels to show in their hometown?

"I think if everyone comes together, we could have three days in L.A. that would be incredible," said Jens Grede, co-founder of Frame. "It would be a very nice complement to what New York is doing. I hope that happens, that would be great."

He continued, "L.A. is a couple of brands away from having a moment. I think the timing is really right with Tommy being out there, and I think there’s a great set of brands — Frame, Elder Statesman, Rachel Zoe — that could make it happen. Someone would have to start it, and then everyone would follow them if they asked."

In the meantime, these three labels have managed to scope out the coolest NYC venues that embody their laid-back, SoCal-cool aesthetic. Both NewbarK and The Elder Statesman showed off their fall collections at The Bowery, while the Frame selected the Robert Miller Gallery in Chelsea for its show. That being said, neither location could live up to L.A. itself.

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