As vague announcements and rumors swirl about town, DFW Style Daily has the real scoop on fall’s inaugural Fashion X Dallas event. Set for November 6 – 8 at the Fashion Industry Gallery (F.I.G.) in downtown’s Arts District, this new indie showcase is helmed by the man behind Austin Fashion Week. Read on for specifics, and why founder Matt Swinney is not calling his new venture ‘Dallas Fashion Week.’
At present, the Big D fashion community proudly supports many longstanding annual events focused on local talent. The Pin Show, Fashion Group International of Dallas Career Day, and Against The Grain’s Fashion For A Passion immediately come to mind. Building audience and influence each year, these events exclusively highlight the work of independent area designers.
Other ventures, however, haven’t fared so well. Specifically, events dubbed ‘Dallas Fashion Week,’ or similar, have a history of poor ideation, poor organization, and poor taste. For our part, we’ve reported on Fashion Week Dallas, Fashion Week DFW, and Dallas Fashion Week (DAFA) over the past three years. Only one out of three ever came to fruition, and it didn’t do our city proud.
Fashion X Dallas aims to present high-quality runway shows and pop-up shopping, from dozens of local designers over the course of three days this coming November. Well-known national designers, brands, and television stars, are planned to headline. The for-profit event hopes to court national media coverage and retail buyer interest.
With six successful years of Austin Fashion Week under his belt (images featured herein), founder Matt Swinney is well positioned to accomplish great things with his Fashion X Dallas concept. Many concrete details remain vague, however, and the buy-in for local designers isn’t cheap, at $2,500 for runway show participation. Is it worth it? Read on for the details in Swinney’s own words:
DFW Style Daily: How long has the planning of Fashion X Dallas been in the works?
Matt Swinney: “In the summer of 2013, I rewrote the [Austin Fashion Week] business plan to include expanding our independent and emerging designer series of events into other markets. Of course, Texas markets are highest on the priority list, and with Dallas not having an official ‘fashion week,’ we thought it was the most logical first market for expansion. Fortunately, Fashion Industry Gallery felt the same way. That partnership made perfect sense and they will host Fashion X Dallas this November.”
The plan was, initially, to present a Dallas Fashion Week-style event. How did this evolve into the Fashion X Dallas event as it will take place this fall?
“We decided against calling the event ‘Dallas Fashion Week’ for a number of reasons. Primarily, it’s not a week – it’s just 3 days, for now. Second, there have certainly been previous attempts from other groups to create a ‘Dallas Fashion Week,’ and Fashion X Dallas provides us the opportunity to present a new series of events with a clean slate.”
What can attendees expect from Fashion X Dallas?
“Guests can expect lots of runway shows. We’ve found that’s really what people want. Designers, buyers, media, and end consumers – everyone loves to see fashion come alive and move down the catwalk. Attendees will be introduced to designers that they’ve likely never heard of, but will hopefully be impressed by the level of talent. They’ll also be treated to a couple of well-known contemporary designers showing collections, and designers that have either won their season or have been featured on Lifetime’s Project Runway All Stars.
“There will also be a highly-curated gallery of menswear, handbags, jewelry, and accessories, along with pop-up shops from the runway designers.”
What can participating designers expect from Fashion X Dallas?
“Our first priority is to give designers high production value. The smaller designers have often never experienced a well-produced runway show. From models and hair and makeup to lighting, every designer deserves the best quality show we can provide them. The collateral in terms of still images and video they will receive after the show not only captures their experience, but also can be used for years to come.
“Outside of production, our goal is to secure widespread media coverage. Since the emerging designers may not be household names yet, the opportunity for media coverage that provides commentary on their collections and allows the general public to discover who they are is important. The media coverage legitimizes them within their craft, and offers an outside point of view that they can then use on their own websites and social media platforms and to show potential buyers.
“Finally, with our partnership with Fashion Industry Gallery, we hope to draw buyers. They will not only be able to see the collections on the runway, but will have opportunities [to meet] with the designers before and after shows.”
Per your answer to question three, which national designers or brands will serve as headliners for Fashion X Dallas?
“We haven’t announced this yet, but we will soon!”
Which notable editors and bloggers have confirmed so far to attend Fashion X Dallas? Have any retail buyers confirmed as yet?
“This process will begin shortly, and for more information on press credentials or buyers badges, visit our website.”
In addition to designers, media, and buyers, models are also being sought via your website to participate in Fashion X Dallas. Tell us a bit about the models you hope to cast in this open call.
“In Austin, about half of our models come from agencies, and about half are independent models. We would be remiss to not host an open call in Dallas to at least see what talent is out there. We have every intention of casting a good number of our models – possibly up to 100% of them – from agencies. But, the goal is to get the best mix of models we possibly can, and that might include some of what we see in an open call.”
Another component, V.I.P. gifting, is part of the plan. Tell us a little about the brands you hope to court for the Fashion X Dallas gifting program.
“In Austin, we host a V.I.P. Gift Wall (pictured above) each night, and have worked with brands like Kendra Scott Jewelry, Votivo, BlueAvocado, Mad & Mac, Masik Collegiate Fragrances, and many, many more. We will keep a similar focus on the Gift Wall for Dallas. We’ll be looking for quality brands and products that you may or may not be familiar with, but you will have the chance to experience first hand.”
Is Fashion X Dallas a for-profit venture?
“Fashion X Dallas is a for-profit venture, however we have also developed the Dallas Fashion Fund. A similar program launched in Austin this past year called the Austin Fashion Fund. In partnership with Bernina of America, three Dallas-based designers will receive grants in the form of products, services, and possibly cash, to help further their careers.”
All images via Austin Fashion Week and FashionXDallas.com.