NOLA Fashion Week helps local designers grow – via

Published: Friday, March 02, 2012
by: Susan Langenhennig, The Times-Picayune 

There’s a bit of tailoring being done to the schedule of NOLA Fashion Week, as the founders try to perfect the fit while moving into their third season. The upstart event, which kicks off Saturday and runs through March 10, is evolving into a festival that’s part serious — with educational workshop and networking opportunities — and part party, with a mash-up runway-show-meets-music-concert planned for Wednesday at the newly reopened Joy Theater.



Other designer events will be held in the form of presentations — with models standing still, rather than striding a runway, a format that allows for closer inspection of the clothing and gives new designers a chance to mix and mingle with potential buyers, bloggers, editors and other guests.

“I love a runway show as much as anyone else does, but we knew we needed to help the designers grow. Presentations are cost-effective,” said Andi Eaton, who last spring launched the first NOLA Fashion Week with events planner Nick Landry, both having grand ambitions to channel the city’s creativity into a marketable industry.

Those goals are still there, but after two sets of shows last year, Eaton and Landry realized most of the city’s aspiring designers need opportunities to sharpen their skills as well as to gain exposure.

“We’re going to focus on expanding our workshops and educational programs, doing them throughout the year, and helping designers really get connected,” Eaton said. “The way we differentiate ourselves is to be a resource for designers.”



  • Saturday: Fashion photography workshop with Robby Klein and Thom Bennett, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mallory Page Gallery, 614 Julia St.
  • Sunday: Fashion illustration, hosted by accessories designer Briana Burgau, Entrepreneur’s Row, 220 Camp St.
  • Monday: “The Life Cycle of a Style,” a workshop on producing a clothing line, hosted by Lisa Locono, local designer and owner of NOLA Sewn production company, 3 to 5 p.m., Entrepreneur’s Row.
  • Tuesday: “What 7th Avenue Taught Me That I Did Not Learn in School,” a workshop hosted by designer Suzanne Perron, 3 to 5 p.m., Entrepreneur’s Row.
  • Tuesday: Presentations by Loretta Jane, 6 p.m., Libellule (pronounced “libby-lou”) by Cricket Lapeyre and Leigh Reveley, 7 p.m., and BySmith by Smith Sinrod, 8 p.m., all at the Martine Chaisson Gallery, 727 Camp St.
  • Wednesday: “Where Music Meets Fashion” concert and runway show featuring designs by Jolie & Elizabeth, Blackout by Ashlie Ming and Dope, and bands Royal Teeth, Big History and Baby Bee, 7:30 p.m., at the Joy Theater, 1200 Canal St.
  • Thursday: Presentations by Andrea Loest, 6 p.m., at the Mallory Page Gallery; Amanda DeLeon, 7 p.m., at Martine Chaisson Gallery; Matt Arthur, 8 p.m., at the American Institute of Architects, 1000 St. Charles Ave.; and Cavortress, 9 p.m., at Le Mieux Gallery, 332 Julia St.
  • March 9: Branding workshop with Julie Wheat of Cavortress, 3 to 5 p.m., at the NOLA Fashion Council Office, 4122 Magazine St.
  • March 10: Fashion Market featuring locally made jewelry and accessories, all day, in the French Market.
  • For tickets and a more detailed schedule, go to

The need to differentiate comes as a result of NOLA Fashion Week falling in the same month as Fashion Week New Orleans. Like vegans and vegetarians, the two events have similar goals and confusingly close names but slightly different approaches.

Fashion Week New Orleans, held March 21-25, will be a series of runway shows featuring clothing from retailers as well as a designer competition modeled after “Project Runway,” with all events open to anyone who craves a good catwalk.

NOLA Fashion Week is more industry-focused, with educational talks and presentations by local designers aimed at luring buyers and media. It’s geared toward helping those who dream of being the next Vera Wang or Calvin Klein get serious about building a business as well as a look.

Workshops cost $25 to $75 each and will have topics ranging from branding your label to understanding the production process to tips on fashion photography and illustration. The long-term goal is to start a fashion business incubator program in New Orleans to serve as a “launching ground for designers in the region,” said NOLA Fashion Week spokeswoman Lauren Lagarde.

“We know there’s got to be a serious component to what we’re doing here,” she said. “To have an industry here, that’s where our focus needs to be right now.”

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