As the world’s top designers dazzled a select audience of fashionistas and celebrities at Paris Fashion Week, their US counterparts quietly set out their stall in the capital.
Designers and Agents, which bills itself as an “international alternative marketplace” for more than a thousand collections, moved into a gallery on the Place des Vosges, in the city’s chic third arrondissement.
Designers and Agents already runs spring and fall collections in Los Angeles: their Paris venture was a concentrated version of what they had to offer, with 30 top US marques on display.
While American fashion has a reputation for being fresh and informal and the US has its share of top global brands, the designers there want to build on that.
The economic crisis has given them a fresh impetus — and with the euro so strong against the dollar, they decided now was the right time for them to make the push.
For many, Paris may be the world capital of haute couture, but the American still feel they have a lot to bring to the table.
“I think American fashion is very organic, earthy, and very connected to the source,” said Petra Berg, a designer with Los Angeles-based Beryll Corp.
“There’s a lot of honesty and authenticity to it.”
Designer Tracy Watts, who runs her own line of hats out of New York, also argued that US fashion had its own unique qualities.
“I think it’s easy, I think it’s relaxed, I think it’s clean, I don’t think it’s cluttered at all — and I think it’s very focused.”
This latest US marketing push is directed not at the luxury brand niche dominated by the likes of Gucci or Prada, but at a European market segment just below that level.They are not targetting mainstream customers on the high street.
This tactic has worked for them back home in the US, say the organisers: so why not in Europe.
“Europe is really interested in American fashion right now,” said Barbara Kramer who with Ed Mandelbaum helped set up D&A back in 1997.
“And I think the Americans are really good at creating this kind of alternative, young, designer, advanced, contemporary market.”
For Mandelbaum the economic climate means now is the time for US designers to send their wares into the European marketplace.
“Right now the timing for American design is the strongest it’s ever been, ever.
“And also, fortunately, the euro is so strong against the dollar, it’s really a perfect timing for us to come here.”
Not that they will neglecting the markets back home.
Having packed up their stall in Paris, the Designer & Agents will be back in Los Angeles from October 15 to set out the 2011 spring collections.
Source: Yahoo News