Realizing some of the set backs with last year’s Alberta Fashion Week, the event is back – bigger and stronger
With less than a month to go, this season’s Alberta Fashion Week is fast approaching. The weeklong event, which will be held March 20-27, is set to be a much bigger and more polished event than the first – which took place in October 2009 – says David Politi, director and co-founder of Alberta Fashion Week.
“As pedantic as it sounds, because it’s our second year, we’re going to get a better turn out,” Politi said. “Now that we’ve kind of proven ourselves with a solid show, there’s a bigger community that can get on board with us.”
Despite the growing lines that Politi says have appeared underneath his eyes, both he and Nicholette Freele, project manager of Alberta Fashion Week, say they are ready.
Last season’s Alberta Fashion Week was a learning process for Politi, who said he didn’t really know what he was doing. However, with more experience under his belt, and with the feedback that was given through the distribution of report cards – which were sent out with Alberta Fashion Week’s newsletter in December – Politi and his team were able to address some of the concerns with Alberta Fashion Week that they had overlooked.
David Politi, director of Alberta Fashion Week, gives thumbs up to Mode Models, Robbie Edwards, during Alberta Fashion Week's model casting call at Seven Restolounge, on Tuesday, March 2.
Photo: Melissa Renwick/Calgary Journal
“We like to be transparent, like the government should be, and we were trying to get an idea of what people thought, but without asking them,” Politi said.
The most significant change to the event is the price for designer entry, which has more than quadrupled in cost. Last year, the entry fee for designers was $200, which only covered the cost of hair and makeup. As a result, many of the designers used their friends to model for them, which created inconsistency between shows. This season, along with the cost, Politi and his team have stepped up their standards.
“The $850 covers everything, so you don’t have a choice whether you use professional models or not,” said Politi, who also said that the new fee covers: hair, makeup and makeup artists, look-book entry, program entry, production and dressers.
Realizing that not every designer can afford the new entry price, a designers-supporting- designers mandate was created.
“If they (the designers) have balls enough to ask us for a discount, we actually let them in for free; we subsidize one designer in every category,” Politi said.
Last seasons failed attempt of incorporating a retail element, by way of trunk shows (designers selling their stock), was eye opening for Politi.
“This year we have some stylists called The Style Finders. They’re doing a styling event and we’re involving eight retailers in Calgary, so that’s going to be the retail component this year,” Politi said. The Style Finders’ Karen Judge, Kim Flanagan and BR Pirri will be pulling outfits from the Calgary stores and showing them in a fashion show. Featured stores include: Henry Singer men’s apparel, COCO+VIOLET and Ooh La La.
“These ladies have been doing this for 20 years, and they’re getting on board with a bunch of kids. That’s a really good sign or omen for us,” Politi said.
With six times as many volunteers as last seasons, and with the fine tuning of details like the lighting, while also incorporating a newly raised white runway that will divide the crowds at BR& - at the Banke (where all of the fashion shows will be taking place), this season’s Alberta Fashion Week is set to be much more refined than the last.
Staying true to the name, Politi says that by October, Alberta Fashion Week is not only going to show in Calgary, but Edmonton as well.
“It’s almost like a relationship,” said Politi. “Katie (fashion director) and I are the man, and fashion week is the woman. It’s like we’re just getting to know this entity that we’re building, and it’s very moody because it’s such a touchy thing. If we screw one thing up we’re ruined.”
Despite Alberta Fashion Week’s occasional mood swings, Albertans have remained supportive. Alberta Fashion Week’s Facebook group now has over 1,000 members, and based on the continuing stream of emails that Politi says he has been receiving, it seems that he has yet to screw up.
“I think this time around it’s going to be rather surprising just from the lineup,” said Kimberley Jev, editor-in-chief of CalgaryFashion.ca, a local fashion blog.
To buy tickets or to learn more, visit Alberta Fashion Week's website.