Fashion Week Los Angeles
Fashion Week, Multiple Venues, Los Angeles, US.
Fashion Week Los Angeles (FWLA) is returning fashion week to its industry roots. Unlike the other fashion productions in the city of angels, FWLA is closed to the public.
This decision to keep the production closed preceded New York Fashion Week falling from the number one highest grossing fashion week globally.
It is speculated that NYFW’s fall was the result of opening up the event to the public. This led to logistical issues that influenced press and buyers to stop attending shows. This eventually led designers, the lifeblood of the productions, to bow out and spend their money elsewhere–sponsors soon followed suit.
In contrast to other Los Angeles fashion week productions, FWLA does not serve as an event space where designers control everything therein. On the contrary, it serves as an opportunity to be coopted into a brand that is very much its own.
“FWLA controls the entire process of designers’ runway presentations. This includes hair, makeup, model selection, and invitees—no plus-ones at this show,” states Executive Producer of FWLA, Gio Ferrigno
The format and high degree of production control is what differentiates FWLA from other fashion production firms.
“Fashion Week production companies have greatly sacrificed their control over their presentations to the detriment of brands,” states Ferrigno. “By controlling the presentations from concept to fruition FWLA can predict and fix or remove negative influences.”
Los Angeles employs a quarter of all fashion designers nationally and is the number one apparel manufacturing hub in the country, employing over twice as many apparel manufacturers as New York City. This makes income disparities between the highest wage earners and the lowest wage earners in the industry of particular importance to the region.
The national median designer salary is $74,000 a year, forty percent higher than the average American’s salary. In comparison, the average apparel manufacturer makes substantially less than the average American at $34,000 a year. To put this in context, the average designer makes 2.7 times that of the average apparel manufacturer. This disparity is emphasized since there are eight and a half times as many apparel manufacturers than there are designers.
LA fares a bit better in the disparity due to Los Angeles’ minimum wage laws that bring up the average per hour salary of apparel manufacturers to 15 dollars from the national average of 11 dollars per hour. The average salary for designers in LA remains the same.
“My issue with income gaps in the fashion industry is not with the [wage] gap between designers and manufacturers. My issue is with the markup prices taken at different stages of the design and manufacturing process that lead for some to make exponentially more than others,” states Executive producer of Fashion Week Los Angeles, Christina Iannuzzi. “Fashion can be Marxist at times devaluing the lowest wage earners to the point of putting them in poverty. That I take issue with.”