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Los Angeles Fashion Week to be driven by sustainability

By Kristopher Fraser


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Image: LAFW

Los Angeles Fashion Week has returned, kicking off tonight with a gala at the Petersen Automotive Museum. This year’s slate of designers and brands includes Andrew James, Perry Jones, Puey, MM Milano, Ron Tomson, Femgraphy, Humans, Bless By Bless, Jimmy Paul, and Demobaza. As Los Angeles works on emerging from the pandemic, LA Fashion Week is taking a special spotlight this year as the event focuses on emerging talent.

Los Angeles is arguably America’s second fashion capital, playing home to many fashion designers and Hollywood’s top fashion stylists. In addition, it’s also become a major city for top fashion shows, with Gucci and Amiri recently holding runway shows there.

Sustainability to be key focus of LAFW

With the event officially kicking off tonight, what’s expected from this iteration of LAFW? For starters, designers will be taking a more sustainable approach to collections. With sustainability as the continuous buzzword in the fashion industry, designers are expected to be under scrutiny for staying green. Some are already on target with that front. MM Milano, an emerging sustainable brand from Italy & Germany, is one such brand.

The brand’s chief designer and founder, Chona Bacaoco, combines traditional practices and natural organic materials from local hand-weaving Filipino communities with individual modern designs from Italy. This season, she makes her LA Fashion Week debut. Contemporary designer Andrew James is also known for his sustainable fashion and eco-friendly designs.

A major focus for many LA Fashion Week designers is attracting more buyers. As a result, more commercial pieces are expected. Wearability is a larger focus for the Los Angeles market, where so much of building a brand is centered around getting it on celebrities and the red carpet. In contrast to New York Fashion Week, where pieces are more avant-garde with hopes of editorial placement, LA Fashion Week designers take a more commercial approach to design.

As Los Angeles Fashion Week works to position itself as a fashion capital, this season an increase in social media influencers and stylists is expected too. The relationship between fashion and social media has been longstanding since the birth of Instagram influencers, and has cemented itself with the rise in TikTok stars.

The fashion industry’s affinity with Los Angeles has been a slowly growing one. It began with the growing attention to celebrity stylists in the mid '00s when stylist Rachel Zoe’s Bravo series, The Rachel Zoe Project, became a smash hit for the network. Many celebrity stylists then began migrating to Los Angeles, and fashion also followed. Saint Laurent and Gucci recently held parties for the recent Oscars ceremony.

In addition to sustainability, there will also be a stronger focus on ethical production. Troy Sylvestor, the founder of Humans, uses only ethical production to produce his garments. Everything is hand sewn, dyed and embroidered in Los Angeles. They also pay adults living wages, refuse to profit from child labor, and try to take a sustainable approach to fashion.

Sustainability is expected to reign supreme at Los Angeles Fashion Week. As Los Angeles competes for its place on the global fashion stage in hopes of joining the ranks of New York, London, Milan, and Paris, sustainability could be its key to getting there.

Los Angeles Fashion Week
Sustainable Fashion