It’s back, and bound to be bigger than ever. When we heard that LA Fashion Week was reinventing itself and relaunching, we had to know more. We called up LAFW president, industry veteran Ciarra Pardo, to get the lowdown on what to expect.
Hi Ciarra! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a Puerto Rican, from the Bronx. I spent the beginning of my career in the entertainment industry working as a creative director. I held the creative director position at Geffen Records and Island Def Jam, before launching the production company Les Enfants Terribles with partner & director Anthony Mandler, where we collaborated with Jay-Z, Eminem, David Beckham, and Rihanna, amongst others. I then went on to become the creative director for Rihanna and later the chief creative officer of Fenty Corp, that founded Fenty Beauty, Fenty Puma, Savage. I’ve recently partnered with Imad Izemrane, Marcus Ticotin, and Keith Abell and co-founded N4XT experiences that acquired and is reimagining LAFW, where I am the president as well. We acquired LAFW in January, and since then we have been working towards a reimagined event, our first being October.
How is the format changing and why?
This question makes me think of the opening show that we did for Savage when I was the CCO at Fenty. We launched with a 13-foot hologram of Rihanna that glitched and changed looks and we did it in partnership with Fenty Beauty. The experience led to a pop-up shop that really combined the elements of beauty, fashion, and tech. With this in the back of my mind and also understanding the format of what a fashion week has historically been, it gave [me the idea] to reimagine fashion week in LA, taking into consideration all the industries that have a new presence in LA: tech, entertainment, fashion, beauty, and sustainability. LA has really become the mecca of sustainability in the US and with the progressiveness of California, and we wanted to celebrate that cultural Renaissance.
What do your days currently look like now that you’re a month out from the relaunch?
With NYFW happening recently, I spent time in New York immersing myself in the shows and seeing what has been happening. But other than that, every day has been about speaking to sponsors and partners, and figuring out programming for masterclasses and panels and our experiential gifting suite. I have also been confirming designers and helping them figure out creatively incorporating beauty and tech. For example, [Maxwell Osbourne’s upcycled label] An Only Child moving into sustainability and working with his team to find some cool creative ideas and projections for the show which we are really excited about!
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What are some of the events or happenings that readers should get excited about?
An Only Child will be opening LAFW, and has a really cool full immersive experience that we are working on. Also Gypsy Sport, as we are currently celebrating LatinX month and we are really excited to have a big show and partnership with them. We are doing a 40-year anniversary event for Guess with some never before seen footage that they will pull out of the vault for us. Sami Miro Vintage is doing a cool sustainably-focussed private event that is going to be exciting. Fleur du Mal, an amazing lingerie and ready-to-wear brand, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary which will also be an awesome event.
What’s the overarching message you want to convey with the new LA Fashion Week?
To me, it’s interesting and cool and innovative to be daring and disruptive. To create a playground where all of these verticals can foster new ways of presenting in a seasonless environment that does not pigeonhole brands into a formal way of showing collections, while of course still paying homage to the traditional concept of a fashion week. There is also a strong effort to step toward a sustainable and inclusive initiative encouraging new ways of presenting fashion, beauty, and tech and building a new creative lane for the industry to explore. In terms of beauty brands, we are doing things with Dr. Barbara Sturm, Estée Lauder, Too Faced, and K18.
Who are your other partners?
Mercedes Benz, BOLT, LVMH, Diageo (Tequila Don Julio, Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, and Tanqueray), Delta Air Lines, Red Bear Winery, Delos, Asian Journal Group & Tech Edge Solutions, and Moss Adams.
Technology is going to play a major part. How so?
Well, tech right now is infused in everything we do, from innovation in how we create beauty products, how we manufacture fashion, and how we integrate technology into fashion garments, to following its trail and carbon footprint, to gaming and e-sports, which is now the biggest sport in the world. Tech is at the helm of e-sports, and fashion has become a huge part of that as well. We are excited to showcase new options and possibilities of tech with emerging designers and beauty brands.
How will sustainability and sustainable fashion come into the picture?
It’s definitely the four founders’ collective ambition to really implement and have every single brand, partner, designer, and sponsor have a foot or toe in the direction of sustainability. Obviously, there is a lot happening in the world with tech and fashion being contributors to the overall carbon footprint. Through education and our efforts, we want to do our part in helping to shift this. We partnered with Eco-Age to really figure out how best to do that and to offer Eco-Age and its brilliance in leading companies crossing into sustainability to all the brands and partners we are working with.
How can people attend or take part?
When the event is posted online, there will be RSVP links for each event.
What element are you personally most excited about?
Really bringing to life this concept of incorporating all of the pillars: Tech, Fashion, Sustainability, and Beauty to celebrate fashion.
What kind of talent and creatives are you hoping to attract?
With our TikTok initiatives being an important part of our overall LAFW Experience, we are really excited for some of the amazing creators that they are inviting. Brands like An Only Child have historically attracted some of the who’s who in entertainment too.
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Where will the events and programming take place?
The events will be in Citizen news, The Edition Hotel West Hollywood in their Sunset Room, and mostly at The Lighthouse Immersive Art Space in Hollywood where our projection mapping will take place.
What makes LA exciting for the fashion community right now?
There are a lot of really cool homegrown LA brands that are making a splash in the industry across the board like Amiri, Fear of God, Cherry LA, Rodarte, and Gypsy Sport with LA-born Rio Uribe. These really cool, innovative brands that were born and bred in LA are helping to pave the way and paint LA through a new lens. This goes back to the fact that Los Angeles is going through a cultural Renaissance and becoming a hub for all of these different industries.
What do you hope people take away from the new LA Fashion Week?
That there are just new ways to do it and to experience it. We also want to create visibility that isn’t so, quote unquote, exclusive by partnering with companies like TikTok and finding new ways to take this outside the room and give visibility to people that aren’t able to be in these amazing places and cities.
How can people find out more?
We will be posting our programming on CFDA and will be updating the site, so you can find all the info there!
When in town for LA Fashion Week, what are some other places that you recommend people do too?
Well, I’m pretty sure that Caviar Kaspia will have officially opened in Los Angeles by the time the event happens, which I’m really excited about. Also part of the Thompson hotel group houses one of LA’s most popular restaurants, Mother Wolf, which is definitely something you shouldn’t miss. Sushi Park is hands down the best sushi in Los Angeles: it’s in a mini-mall, very typical to Los Angeles, and very unassuming but an incredible experience. Then The Edition Paradise Club and The Edition Rooftop for cocktails and incredible views, if you can get there.
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What are your biggest dreams for the future of LA Fashion Week?
The biggest dream for this reimagined experience is to grow legs and for it to happen in other parts of the world. What we are looking to create is a cohesive festival experience that can happen everywhere and explore the possibilities that fashion, beauty, and tech can hold in creating a more sustainable and innovative future!