As a supporter of fashion in the capital, I believe in building a solid foundation for a strong fashion scene. Not one that seeks to compete directly with large markets like Montreal and Toronto, but one that can still be considered a “market” and not merely a third tier fashion city. By supporting this, it also means I am not a supporter of unnecessary reproduction. Let me explain, less than a few months ago, Ottawa had it’s first fashion week, and all of a sudden, I get a press release about something called “Capital Fashion Week“.
I am completely confused because a) the site contains no information regarding the event (only the date) and b) the press release and sponsorship package is praising the two founders for their “unique” idea rather than providing information about the show. What’s the deal?
“With small fashion-infused events happening occasionally around the city, its time the nation’s capital come together and welcome fashion-aficionados from all over to experience something fresh, bold and exciting for everyone– everyday fashionistas and industry people alike.”
Why should I think this event is so avant garde when it’s not? It’s been done before (May remember?) and continues to be done (yep, there’s another season coming up) and it’s very very new so why is it being reproduced exactly?
Capital Fashion Week claims that they would like to encourage fashion in the city: “The premise for this showcase is to, with the support of the city and its governing bodies, gather the community under one roof to finally be able to appreciate design talent. What started out as hope for something “bigger and better” for the city will now come to fruition with your support!” How about instead of starting another fashion week, contacting the organizers of Ottawa Fashion Week and collaborating with them? I don’t understand why a city with a fashion scene that is still very small requires two fashion weeks. Market research. Will people know the difference between a fashion week and a fashion show? Not likely now.
From the information I received, I can say with all honesty that the location is cool and when I was working on Ottawa Fashion Week, I did pledge interest in renting out the old Train Station (Government Conference Centre) due to its history and prestige but the price was ludicrous and availability was scarce.
The other thing that’s pissing me off about both shows, is that they are taking place at the end of November. Buying season is basically over and buyers no longer have open to buy money to spend (it’s the feedback I received after the first fashion week in May). How is anyone going to take Ottawa seriously? Did I also mention that Ottawa Fashion Week is November 12-15 and Capital Fashion Week is November 21 to 22?
This is what I have been talking about in various articles regarding the Ottawa fashion scene, elementary.
Analyzing this as a marketing and PR rep, there’s a lot of work to be done. Research. Actually, a basic google search shows this: Capital Fashion Week in Brazil. Now I’m no expert, but this runs into a little confusion and trouble. Yes, sure, two different shows in two different countries, but it’s the same as me using the name Nike for the new shoe line I’m launching in Malaysia for example. Also, when I hear “CFW” my mind automatically thinks “Calgary Fashion Week.”
The logo: I don’t understand it at all. I’ve emailed the people at Capital Fashion Week for clarification and received no response. Here’s my interpretation: this logo doesn’t resonate fashion week, it just looks like a graphic design project. Actually, it looks very similar to the Project Runway logo. Simplicity is key – when I worked for Ottawa Fashion Week, I rejected various logo concepts before agreeing to the basic font and colours they have now. I also made sure to include it in French to promote bilingualism, we are after all, the capital, and French is my mother tongue.
Advertising and Sponsorship: How come I’ve only heard about this show last week? I have not seen any advertising for it at all. And taking a look at the sponsorship package, I understand some of the proceeds are going to the cancer society but $15,000 to be a premium sponsor? You haven’t even put together one show to be asking for that kind of money. I am also not fond of the package names…fierce? I’ve worked in agencies before, I know that’s what non-fashion people think we call fashion poses. It’s not. I also don’t use the word fabulous, glam, chic or luxe in sentences. Fashion stereotypes make me happy though (seriously people keep asking me eccentric questions about fashion, I love answering them).
Tagline: Cut, Sew, Stitch – Come see the Finished Product! Sounds like Project Runway as well. Is this a fashion week or a competition? And exclamation marks at the end of any tagline are a big faux pas, they are better left for Wal-Mart flyers and considered extremely tacky (this is directly from the mouths of various advertising copywriters).
Season: There is no mention of the season but it should be Spring/Summer 2009 Collections.
Experience: I guess from the press release and sponsorship package I know who the founders are, and they seem to be the only two on the committee so my question is regarding the experience they have in terms of judging which designers make it or not. What is the designer criteria? Who checks the sewing? The samples? Press kits? Analysis of how the designers can manage wholesale, etc etc. And who are the designers? This requires judgement from someone with experience in fashion design and fashion merchandising, it’s vital for Ottawa fashion to be taken seriously.
Models: Please tell me your are using professional models from legitimate agencies? Fashion shows in Ottawa need to learn from previous mistakes. I’ll admit to many, I don’t critique without admitting I’ve made mistakes too (many factors come into play as well). There are a lot of great models in the city and looking outside the city is also an option. My question is who are the casting directors? What are their credentials?
I have an idea how this is going to end up, but I don’t think I can judge just yet because I haven’t attended the shows. I am merely asking questions and giving an OPINION.
Now I know what a lot of readers are thinking and I assure you that the first Ottawa Fashion Week was by no means perfect, but it was just that: the first one, a trial, many future seasons will be (although I have not worked on the second season and no longer work for fashion week). But we (Ottawa fashion people) need to learn from our mistakes and learn how to work together, not see everything and everyone as an obstacle.
More info on Capital Fashion Week:
Download the Press Release
Download the Sponsorship Package