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Philly Fashion Week 2012 Recap

runwayIt’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.P1190106

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).

P1190066Call 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?

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Sep 25 2:23 PM

mr  says:

omg…what a great review..thank you so much..someone had to say it..

Sep 26 9:43 PM

mr  says:

and the sad story is that we do have great talent in philly..its sad that we are were we are in least we know the problem and I hope it will get better

Sep 26 9:49 PM

Taylor Horne  says:

I said all the same things. They were so rude to me and told me I was not important enough to sit in the front row! haha And as a member of the press and published stylist and photographer I have no time for waiting outside for an hour haha

Sep 26 9:56 PM

Wendie hetherington  says:

Thank you Nicole, Thank you this needed to be said!

Sep 26 10:12 PM

angela monaco  says:

Great cover and I’m glad you were honest. I completely agree but I will say that next time people need jewelry we have that one covered at Concrete Polish Showroom in Northern Liberties. Next year will be better..hopefully!

Sep 26 10:52 PM

JWarden  says:

The building that the fashion show was held in looked great on the inside…but the neighborhood that it was in was a really run down slum! Meanwhile, tickets were being sold for $40 dollars at the door? Overcharging much? Hell, why not just charge a cool hundred?

After going to this show with my husband, I couldnt believe that I saw a designer with copied garments! I noticed that one of the Couture evening “designers” had sewn up pieces copied from some sewing patterns you can buy in your local sewing store. Whats even more funny is even though this designer copied the design they didn’t even do a good job tailoring it. Things were riding up like crazy, bunching up, and wrinkled all over the place. How can they call themselves a designer?! I spotted and recognized several outfits like this on the runway all with the same “designer”. In the real world its called cheating and they would get their butts sued like crazy, or if they got caught doing that in school, they would be expelled! It is sad because for as much as i love,respect, and support the idea of local fashion this particular event is just about as ghetto as it comes.

Another thing I noticed…you can always tell the designers who put their collection together with care and spend the time to finish each piece. I saw a ton of loose strings, messy stitches, loose fitting garments where the bust was not staying up on the model! Lets not forget completely unfinished hemlines, and straps that were falling off the models shoulder. Some looked like they had no time and were grabbing anything and putting it on the runway to get enough pieces to make a complete collection!

How about the designer who sews up a bunch of scarves and puts zipper harnesses over it. Is this the sort of thing that PFW recognizes as fashion? Completely unwearable garbage. Id bet that if she stopped the drug use she might just actually make something amazing. Just think, some other local talent could have actually came up with some fantastic clothes and had her spot in the show.

Sep 26 11:57 PM

KA  says:

Thank god someone finally said it. I read a few other reviews that seemed to think both the venue and execution were acceptable, which they were not. Luckily, you weren’t backstage in the extremely cramped and overheated hallway where all of the designers were expected to dress and hold their models like I was.

Sep 28 4:20 PM

JRochelle  says:

I love the honesty, but it is disappointing that Philly can’t seem to produce great fashion shows with any consistency:(

Sep 30 8:50 PM

Colleen D. Gjefle  says:

Yikes! I’m almost glad I couldn’t make Fashion Week this year! It is sad though, because though we’re a smaller fashion market, Philly has some very talented designers that deserve respect and a good venue.

Oct 8 8:56 PM

fashionista  says:

Philly has incredibly talented designers. We see them at all the other shows like philadelphia collection, phashion phest, and RAW Artists. Why can’t one of them do a fashion week?

Great article. The failure of fashion week is not designers, but the producers of this event.

Oct 19 9:19 PM

qaswer  says:

It is really difficult to bear that extra waiting before a venue but after some time we get use to it. Even sometimes we feel lucky to be there for extra ordinary events(like this one).

Dec 4 2:45 PM


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