Gen Art, the national organization dedicated to showcasing emerging arts talent, folded in 2010, and then returned in February under the ownership of Sandow Media. Back, too, is its annual fashion show, Fresh Faces in Fashion, held at Vibiana on Saturday, closing out Style Fashion Week L.A. The show, presented by Moroccanoil with Zoe Saldana as host, drew a capacity crowd of 800 for a cocktail reception that highlighted accessory designers Iman Toloui, Plomo, Sticks & Stones, and TomTom, followed by a fashion show showing off the runway debut from women’s ready-to-wear designers 71 Stanton, Dear Creatures, Funktional, Odylyne, Stand and Deliver, We Are Handsome, and Chambers. An after-party followed in the venue.
“There are so few programs that provide emerging designers with an opportunity to showcase their work for free. When the program went into hiatus last year, it left a real hole in the industry and L.A. Fashion Week overall,” said Gen Art co-president Elizabeth Shaffer. “Thousands of designers have applied to participate in Fresh Faces over the years, so we are thrilled to be able to provide a platform for some of these talented designers each season. When we announced we were bringing Fresh Faces back, we received tremendous support from the industry as well as [from] our corporate partners. The challenge was pushing ourselves to ensure the show not only met our supporters' expectations but surpassed them.”
The format of the event didn't change considerably. The number of participating designers and the overall run of the show were the same. But Shaffer explained that the group tweaked the concept. “We were really going above and beyond what we’ve done in the past to ensure that Fresh Faces was more than just an event but an experience. We brought in other elements of the fashion industry, from pairing the emerging designers with up-and-coming stylists, to doing an amazing pre-event editorial photo shoot.” Gen Art also integrated social media into the program in a bigger way, through blogger cafés, live tweeting from the editorial shoot, model castings, rehearsals, and backstage before the show.
Gen Art teamed with Smart to create custom car wraps to display in and around the show. The wraps were created by four of the showcased designers, and the cars will be sent on tour to other cultural and auto events around the country, giving the designers further exposure. Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics’s team collaborated with the designers to create the looks on the runway. Category partners included Andaz West Hollywood, David Barton Gym, Fred Segal, Los Angeles Confidential, Jose Cuervo Platino, Qream, RevitaLash Advanced, Stella Artois, Ketel One, Java Monster, Jana Water, and Style Fashion Week.