It’s crazy to think that my very first assignment as a PW Style contributor was covering the 2010 Philadelphia Fashion Week.
Back then there were actually two different local fashion weeks: the “official” Philadelphia Fashion Week that I attended which was hosted by The KB Experience and the not-so official Philly Fashion Week by FBH Agency. Due to financial troubles, The KB Experience hasn’t been able to produce the event since, thus relinquishing the “official” PFW status to Kevin Parker and Kerry Scott of FBH Agency.
Now that this has been explained, allow me to cut to the chase: of all the runway shows, store openings, trunk shows and general fancy style events that I’ve been to the past three years, none have been as poorly organized as those hosted by Mr. Parker and Mr. Scott.
I opted to hold my tongue after PFW last year and after the terrible charity runway show FBH held a few months ago, hoping that things would be different this time around.
But I was wrong. So very wrong.
As usual, the runway shows on Friday and Saturday night didn’t start on time. In fact, they started over an hour late. And for whatever reason, they always insist on making everyone wait outside the venue. Last year, I was told that press needed to arrive an hour early, meaning that I was left to twiddle my thumbs for two hours.
Once inside the massive warehouse, there’s was nothing for guests to do to kill time before the show—just two vendors and a cash bar. First of all, the lack of free booze is totally mind-boggling. I say this not just because I’m a total lush who demands free shit wherever I go, but because a runway show without complimentary champagne, wine or cocktails is simply unheard of.
Especially when you’re charging people $40 a ticket and excepting them to sit through a two-hour fashion show on a Friday and Saturday night.
I realize that the agency is trying to make a profit, but considering that PFW had almost 30 different sponsors this year, paying $6 for a lime-less Corona or $10 for a tiny cocktail seems like quite the rip off. Seriously, GET A DRINK SPONSOR! It’s actually quite easy. As for the lack of vendors, I could name at least hundred local crafters and artists who would have loved the opportunity to showcase and sell their wares. Again, all if would have required is FBH to take a little more initiative.
Once the show finally started, photographers and bloggers in attendance had no way of keeping track of the designers. I assume that Mr. Parker and Mr. Scott have been to fashion shows before. So they should know that it’s customary to provide the audience with a program that lists the featured designers in the order that they appear, maybe even offering a little background on the collection or a description of the individual garments.
Nope. Instead the MC just announced their names and you were expected to figure out the spelling yourself. Here’s the kicker: they didn’t even have a list available upon request (or online).
Call me crazy, but I do believe that the whole point of a fashion show is to promote a deserving group of designers. Providing the names of said designers seems about the most basic part of the promotional process. The second most basic would be responding to local fashion bloggers when they request tickets (as oppose to making them send multiple emails).
This brings me to the whole point of my lengthy rant: Philly Fashion Week is doing a terrible disservice to the local fashion and design community.
Due to the continual lack of preparation, consideration and organization put forth by Mr. Parker and Mr. Scott (which is absolutely inexplicable since, according to their Web site, they’ve been producing PFW for six years now), basically they’re alienating local journalists, designers, fashion enthusiasts, retailers and potential fashion buyers.
Hell, on Friday and Saturday, they couldn’t even find a designer or boutique to provide jewelry or footwear.
The fact that the PFW runway shows are scheduled on the same night as several of the bigger Philadelphia Collection events only makes matters worse. Why would you want to be competing with one another? Why not milk the opportunity to generate excitement about our local fashion scene as much as possible and have Fashion Week be an extension of the Collection?
Let’s face it, our fashion week is always going to be a joke compared to that of New York. But does that mean we shouldn’t even be trying to take it seriously?