San Diego's bikini-clad, flip-flop-wearing and board short-donning locals may seem out of place in the world's most prestigious fashion houses of today; but Fashion Week San Diego™ (FWSD) is back again this year to prove that the city isn't just another community of beach bums. Founded in 2008, those behind the week-long event desire to establish SD as a place for finding emerging designers — a fashion center of the West Coast.
As a collaborative effort, FWSD will host an assortment of events from September 30-October 6 including talks panel talks, runway shows, live DJ performances and a trunk show. Prior to the affair, FWSD puts their designers through a yearlong program in which participants receive mentoring and coaching to help them develop and sustain their businesses. This year 26 designers will showcase their work in hopes of winning the grand prize Designer Business Package which includes exclusive meetings with top buyers at Mod Cloth, $500 prize money, a feature in LOCALE Magazine and business services from APA Business Consulting, Inc. Chosen by the audience, the winner will be scored on creativity, wearability and quality.
Photo Courtesy of Fashion Week San Diego
Wednesday, October 2
Wednesday night opens with The Art & Beauty experience. This interactive evening includes talks from four industry experts giving a behind-the-scenes look at their own experiences in the fashion world. Local TV personality Jeff Krapf will host the night and a panel of experts will discuss how beauty affects fashion and vice versa. During the event, artsits will take part in a live art demonstration in which ticket holders can be a part of. The finished product will be displayed throughout the week and guests will have the opportunity to bid on the piece.
Thursday, October 3
FWSD's first set of runway shows kicks off on Thursday at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. Of the 26 emerging designers showcased, seven will present their designs for their upcoming Spring/Summer 2014 collections. The show begins at 6:30 but make sure to arrive early to secure a good viewing location. Prior to its 10 p.m. finale, be on the lookout for a surprise during the evening.Photo Credit: Andrew Casey
Friday, October 4
Continuing the week, Friday night's runway shows will include nine more designers and will feature a Doggie Fashion Show. The adorable pets will walk the runway in their latest designs and as a special treat, the dogs will be available for adoption through Rancho Coastal Humane Society. The organizers hope to find homes for each dog at the show.
Saturday, October 5
On its final night of runway shows, ten designers will present their collections and the night will feature a performance from DJ Who and Paulo da Rosa of Sleeping Giant Music. And, after the last model walks the runway, you won't want to miss the after party with special guest DJ Demon from Sleeping Giant Music.
Photo Credit: Andrew Casey
Sunday, October 6
For all those shoppers out there, Sunday may just be the highlight of the week. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to visit the Trunk Show. After a week of seeing the fashions on the runways, it's now your turn to purchase the designs you love. Also, the #FWSD VIP gift bags for VIP ticket holders will be available for pickup. The Winning Designer of the Business Package will be announced as well, so you won't want to miss it.
Last year marked the second year of the event and was held at W Hotel in downtown and the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego. Over 2,500 guests showed up during the week for the runway shows and five designers were invited to participate in New York Fashion Week in 2013. Sponsorships included a number of local businesses like Phoebe Street Creative and Energy 103.7 as well as larger names like FIDM, BMW of San Diego, and Luna Bar.
With the success of last year's event, we're interested to see how this year will compare and how sustainable it will be for the coming years. Will San Diego be a highly-sought after location for emerging fashion designers? Only time will tell, but in the meantime looks like San Diegans will be tossing aside their Sanuk sandals for designer heels in October.