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My Thoughts On Fashion Month 2012 in Tampa Bay
By Jose Gomez on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It was an action-packed September this year for those of us that are involved in Tampa Bay's fashion scene. I was honored to be involved in one of the larger events of the month and was able to experience the excitement, frustrations, and pride one feels in playing his part to put such an event on. This year, we also saw several smaller scale events that showcased local clothing and accessory designers. It felt like it was nonstop, and I am sure I missed a few events simply because of the time commitment it requires to attend all of them!

We also saw the two area fashion weeks - Tampa Bay Fashion Week and St. Pete Art & Fashion Week - pull off entire week-long events, which makes for the most aggressive attempts yet at transforming the month of September into strong venue for local and national designers in Tampa Bay. The verdict: I think we pulled the events off. At the very least, the combined efforts of every organization that held even the smallest event demonstrated that Tampa Bay fashion event promoters are committed to the vision of making our area a Fashion mecca.

Are we there yet? We're probably further than we'd like to be, but closer than we've ever been.

I was inspired by some cross promotion between the events. The cooperation between the technicians - photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and even designers was also fantastic. But, I strongly believe that we would have a stronger footprint if the fashion event promoters would start working together to preplan Fashion Month and make the transition between events cohesive. This year, there were a few things I saw that turned me off - all of it had to do with an unhealthy spirit of competition, lack of professional courtesy, and posturing. I personally know of at least several attempts to work together behind the scenes. Some of them went well. Others, not so well. But, we have an entire year to get it right, folks!

The real question (politics and judgments to the side) is if the people creating the products that we claim to promote really got something out of it. Designers: did you sell garments and/or meet new prospective clients? Models: did any new doors open up for you? Stylists and makeup artists: did you get your business card in the hands of new potential clients? Photographers: have you sold any pictures? Media: did you capture and capitalize on the events?

September 2012 is gone, but I would love to hear about how it marked history for the many professionals that put their blood, sweat, and tears - the REAL stars of the show - into making their mark. Tickets sales and sponsorships are great for event producers, but did we truly encourage commerce? Did we inspire a fashion feeding frenzy? Did we put Tampa Bay on the map?

Let me help you along - here is what one designer, Troy Anthony, had to say about his involvement in St. Pete Art & Fashion Week: "Wow - what a great fashion show with a great response! Woke [up] this morning to 41 emails, 19 text messages, and a whole lot of new friends! Shout outs to Francisco Azucar for giving me the opportunity and Dona Crowley, Arlene Williams, Mayra Gomez for putting on a faboulus show and StudioInque Prod for the hard work and all the beautiful Models who walked for me, and everyone who came out to support me...”

I'd love for others to share their experiences and success from any and all of the events that happened in September of 2012. Please share your success stories - the good and the fashionable. If you have a complaint, please do not post it here, but be encouraged to contact the event organizers of the show you have a complaint about and give them your feedback directly. I know everyone involved in these events, and how such feedback helps to make events better year after year.
 

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