Charlie Smith, director of productions for Philadelphia Fashion Week, said last year’s event laid the groundwork for the event to be bigger this year.
“Last year we really created a great formula,” he said. “We took the year to put the concept together. So this year, there are challenges that come up, but the formula was already written and it was like adding variables into the equation. So it makes things easier.”
Smith’s partner, Michael Anderer, executive creative director of Philadelphia Fashion Week, said that while this year’s event is reaching further into the international fashion community, it still maintains its focus on local fashion talent.
“We’re trying to support designers that are from Philadelphia who design and produce in Philadelphia,” Anderer said. “But we’re also trying to attract a lot of international interests or renowned designers that are looking to expand in the Philadelphia market. So they’re using Philadelphia Fashion Week as an event to showcase for the buyers in Philadelphia in hopes of being picked up and carried in their stores.”
Added Smith: “This year, we built upon that concept to add designers that we thought would be appropriate for the Philadelphia client or the Philadelphia fashionista. So we included designers from all different countries. We have nine countries represented. And all of the designers, wherever they’re from, we feel fit the style-conscious person in Philadelphia.”
Of course there will be some LGBT talent on display and behind the scenes at Philadelphia Fashion Week. One of the out designers Anderer and Smith are excited about this year is Dieter de Cock, who is designing for Cold Method of Amsterdam.
“It’s his first season designing for Cold Method,” Anderer said. “He’s been a very renowned designer for the past six years in Europe, designing lines such as Viktor & Rolf and also Blue Blood. Now he’s moved on to Cold Method as his new baby. Having watched Cold Method for the last two years, you can tell Dieter’s influence on it in the styling of the entire collection. I think he’s somebody who’s going to make a name for himself very soon.”
When asked if being so close to a fashion mecca like New York City had any effect on their fashion event, Smith said that people should see Philadelphia Fashion Week as its own thing, as it has little in common with the Big Apple.
“New York’s Fashion Week is industry-based and what we saw was it’s very hard for the general public to enjoy Fashion Week,” he said. “It’s a very-VIP experience. We also recognize that trying to recreate New York in Philadelphia would never work. So we created our fashion week and we look at it as a forum to celebrate all the arts in Philadelphia, but with an emphasis on fashion. With that kind of approach, designers are excited to participate because they see it as a cultural experience as well as a way to get their brands known within a new market.”
Philadelphia Fashion Week runs Oct. 6-9 at the 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd St. For more information and a list of events, visit www.philadelphiafashionweek.org.
Larry Nichols can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.