Today’s fashion scene runs on celebrity fuel. Being able to get your designs on the red carpet is every bit as important as knowing how to draw, drape, or select fabric.
But how can a designer meet the right stylist with the right clients? One answer is Simply Stylist, a tradeshow designed to facilitate networking between celebrity stylists and hot new designers.
Featuring couture clothing and accessories, this event is a must for anyone looking to get their wares into the spotlight. Sarah Pollack of Caro Marketing (the company that started it all) gave the Fashion Spot an inside look at how Simply Stylist brings it to LA Fashion Week.
The Fashion Spot: So tell us about Simply Stylist. What prompted you to start this event?
Sarah Pollack: About four years ago, my sister Caroline and I saw the importance of stylists – whether they are styling celebrities, editorial shoots, or films.
Caro Marketing’s clients were seeking more placements in these types of outlets, and our personalities really clicked with the stylists. Our first Simply Stylist event was very small, and consisted of about five brands, a Hollywood penthouse, a DJ, booze, and lots of gifts. The stylists came, and it turned into a party until 2 a.m., so we knew we were onto something.
Over the years, Simply Stylist molded into a turnkey event where designers and stylists connect. We bring in 15 of the world’s most fantastic brands, and showcase them each individually throughout the space. The stylists get to come and discover new brands and preview brands they might already know, while getting completely pampered.
We provide complimentary haircuts, blowouts, facials, manicures, massages, food, drinks, a DJ, and even a blogger lounge for the stylists to kick back and relax in. LA seems to cater towards the celebrities, but the stylists are the ones who deserve the love!
tFS: I saw the video from That Morning Show – the range of designers is amazing! And most of it is couture?
SP: Yes, we seem to have a wide range of designers, and have had multiple international couture lines attend. We take pride in our designer selection process, and want to keep the level as high as possible. We want the stylists to keep coming back season after season, which is why we continue to impress them. The couture lines make a statement and set a certain level of precedence.
We also include brands that have unique angles, such as TOMS Shoes (which we launched through Caro Marketing back in 2006), since they give back to children in need.
We have also included art movements such as The Fear in past Simply Stylists events, which the stylists really loved. They could screen-print their own t-shirts to take home with them.
tFS: How has the event impacted the fashion community in LA? Do you have any breakout success stories?
SP: I think we have had a large impact on the fashion community in LA, since most everyone has given up hope. All of the attending stylists and editors hadn’t been to any other fashion week events, except for Simply Stylist. We strive to keep the cool here in Los Angeles because there are so many brands that deserve to be noticed.
Our Board of Advisors has given us a leg up on the competition, including heavy hitters such as Sari Tuschman (Editor-in-Chief of LA Confidential), Sydne Bolden (Style Editor of InStyle), Laury Smith (Fashion Director of Flaunt), Cher Coulter (Stylist to Sienna Miller, Kate Bosworth, Malin Akerman), Jennifer Uner (Founder of Fashion Week LA), and Louis Sarmiento (Fashion Director IMG).
Oday Shakar is one of the biggest breakout success stories of Simply Stylist. He showed his first collection during Simply Stylist in March 2010, where stylist Joey Tierney took a liking to his work. She pulled a dress for her client, Audrina Patridge, to wear to the Latin VMA Awards, which resulted in placements in US Weekly, OK!, and numerous online outlets. Within six months Oday Shakar had landed a role in the LG Fashion Touch Commercial, partnered with Eva Longoria, and was a contestant in the Oscar Designer Challenge. Most recently, he dressed Sandra Bullock for her comeback appearance on the MTV Movie Awards. His bubbly personality and red-carpet-worthy gowns may land him his very own reality show.
tFS: How does LA Fashion Week compare to the ones in New York, Paris, or London?
SP: LA is definitely a different beast. Our benefit is having the celebrities and stylists at our fingertips. New York has the established designers, and Paris has the couture, but Los Angeles is where the trends start. Specifically, with the stylists – hence Simply Stylist. We are looking to expand Simply Stylist to all major fashion cities, starting with New York in 2011.
tFS: How can someone become a part of Simply Stylists? And what do you look for in a designer or stylist?
SP: To keep our cache, each designer must submit their collection to us for approval. We look for unique, innovative collections that the stylists will use, appreciate, and get excited about. In terms of stylists attending, we have hundreds of applicants each season, but we narrow it down to 100 over two days. We set one appointment every 15 minutes, so the stylist and designer can really connect without feeling rushed. This is the first time we are opening up Simply Stylist to the public on the first evening.
For anyone ever hoping to work in the fashion industry, $75 will give people the chance to meet and network with the top tier of stylists and style influencers. Attendees will also get an opportunity to be featured in a viral video on simplystylist.com, discussing fashion, designers, and emerging looks. The most beneficial part of the evening will be seminars led by three of the industry’s elite, a gift bag, and a cocktail.
tFS: You see all the fashion in your job. What one item is a must-have for the coming fall season?
SP: Velvet. It’s going to be the next big trend for the next few months. Aryn K. makes a super affordable velvet blazer to die for!