Young Money: The business of fashion
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • October 04, 2012 @ 10:00am
The Mercedes Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week was on the tip of everyone’s tongue for the past week, and the Young Money blog had the opportunity to attend the Main Event on Thursday at Statler City. You probably read that sentence and wondered why a young professional blogger would need to be at Fashion Week, but there is big business behind the world of fashion that you might not know about. I was given the opportunity to take a look at it from a front-row seat.
I was overwhelmed by the activity I saw when I walked up the stairs at Statler City. There were 30 vendors in the lobby area of the building, all showing off their goods and selling their products. Many of the companies there were local and it was great to see some of our smaller businesses get their names out there and show their product to a new audience.
Not only was I curious about the business behind fashion, but I enjoying shadowing young professionals at work—especially when they do something different from the norm. My fabulous, but busy, hosts for the evening were young pro’s Curt Rogers and Karina Lopez, also known as KC You There, a public relations and event planning company from the Queen City. They led the fantastic team that handled the PR for this year’s Fashion Week and brought me on my very first Take Your Blogger to Work adventure.
While I was there to check out the business behind the fashion, most of the press in attendance was there for the style. Curt and Karina had their hands full throughout the night and left me to my own devices.
Along the way I saw some great fashion, met up with interesting people (oh, hey there, Kat!) and came up with some questions for Karina when she had a few minutes to take a deep breath.
KC You There ensures that Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week gets plenty of press coverage throughout the show’s run. On the day of the main event, they sent out three different advisories —in the morning, the middle of the day and an hour before. The entire day is hectic for them, making sure the press and bloggers are taken care of and the designers (like Real Housewives of Orange County star Alexis Bellino) get where they need to be on time.
Once the show is over, the work does not end. Curt and Karina make sure that all press in attendance get what they need and then, in the days that follow, measure all of the coverage the event received.
This year, KC You There secured a lot of press from outside the Buffalo area to attend Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week. I asked Karina why it was important for out-of-town coverage. She told me that outside press can help the event get to a point where those involved in the fashion industry, and those who have always wanted to attend but don’t get the coveted New York invitation, will want to be at Buffalo’s version. In her opinion, having outside press and bloggers validates Mercedes-Benz of Buffalo Fashion Week even more.
Curt and Karina also had a huge role in the new-this-year VIP gifting suite. The gifting suite added yet another element of glamor. KC You There teamed with Buffalo Magazine to host the gifting site for VIPs, press and bloggers. Around 17 companies participated in the gifting suite, providing actual-sized items, not samples, for attendees. Each attendee received four tickets that they could use to collect some of the items being offered by the participating companies. The goal of the gifting suite was to be an amazing addition to the ever evolving week, and with items like $250 gift certificates, gym memberships, jewelry and beauty products, they definitely accomplished what they set out to do.
The entire event ran pretty seamlessly, so it’s almost hard to believe Karina when she told me that there are often at least 100 people behind one show segment that lasted just five minutes, and a whole year can go into preparation.
As an event and PR company, KC You There is always on the go, so I virtually caught up with Karina while she was in Las Vegas for their next event to ask a few final questions about Fashion Week. Fashion, Karina explained, is not a joke. Fashion is one of the top-three revenue-producing industries in America. It’s not just about the clothing, either—Karina reminded me that fashion allows boutiques, stores, photographers, production teams, models, assistants, editors, PR teams, musicians, stylists and more to make money. Fashion is a true economic engine for small business.
Throughout the night, the KC You There team looked as if they were in control of the chaos. Good thing, too, since it’s what they do for a living! Thank you so much to Curt and Karina for allowing me to tag along for the fun.