Patt Morrison for October 14, 2011

LA: Fashion trend setter or second to New York, Paris?

83rd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actress Hailee Steinfeld arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011, in Hollywood, California.

With L.A. Fashion Week underway, many wonder if Los Angeles has a role in the fashion world at all.

Though Los Angeles is known for its surfwear and denim markets, the serious trend-setting has long been associated with cities like New York, Paris and Milan. But L.A. fashion experts disagree with that idea, saying that Los Angeles may have more style clout than traditionally thought.

Amy Brown, director of business development at the California Fashion Association, says, “The L.A. fashion market is really underestimated. We produce, manufacture and start trends here.” Brown says the retail buyers who are responsible for putting products in front of consumers are in L.A.

According to Brown, L.A. is the key trendsetter for young menswear. Buyers from all over the world come to Los Angeles to view and purchase men’s skate and surf apparel.

Los Angeles also pioneered the fast fashion industry, with brands such as Forever 21 and Papaya. These L.A.-based companies take runway trends and quickly turn them around for public consumption.

L.A. Times Image writer, Adam Tschorn says that the media buzz surrounding runway couture shows needs to be separated from fashion itself. “If you just went into any mall and looked around, it would be 75 percent empty without Los Angeles and Southern California based brands,” he says.

Although Los Angeles does not have a high-profile fashion week like New York’s, it does have celebrity star power, which Brown and Tschorn say may be more powerful than the runway. “I think the concept of LA style is constantly propagated by the media obsession with Hollywood celebrities,” Brown says, “So we see someone step out in a certain outfit and that’s the trend.”

Tschorn points to the bump in sales that brands get when their clothing appears on the red carpet, TV and in movies. Having access to the entertainment world gives L.A. brands a unique edge when it comes to style-making.

Show us your L.A. style as part of our campaign to show the real Los Angeles, #LoveLA. To send us photos, just mention us on Twitter, @Patt_Morrison and use the hashtag #LoveLA.

Fashion Week LA has events running through Oct. 28.

Guests:

Adam Tschorn, staff writer, L.A. Times Image

Amy Brown, director of business development, The California Fashion Association, a non-profit organization that provides information for business expansion and growth to the apparel and textile industry of California


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