This year was the 25th anniversary of SXSW, so it seems only fitting for it to be the debut year of StyleX. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and while they definitely have a lot of things to edit and work out for next year, I was happy and impressed overall. Unfortunately I missed all of Friday’s events, but I was able to check things out on Saturday.
The very first thing that I did during Style X was attend a panel. I arrived a few minutes late (oops!), so I didn’t get the introductions. According to the website there were supposed to be five speakers:
The Difference Between Fashion & Style and How to Break into the Biz
– Moe Boualaphanh, new faces, development & imaging, Marilyn Modeling Agency
– Bradley Carbone: lifestyle/sneaker editor, Complex Magazine
– Chloe Dao: fashion designer, Project Runway winner
– Allen Onyia: founder, UpscaleHype.com
– Amal Safdar: runway show coordinator, OneKick Productions
Obviously from my pictures there were only 4 (the moderator is in the center). The only two people I know from the panel are Chloe Dao (far left) and Moe Boualaphanh (far right). Overall I didn’t learn much that I haven’t been told at school. It was a lot of “spend time to perfect your product”, “know yourself and your market”, “make sure you produce quality products so your consumer will come back”… etc. While it was interesting and somewhat informative a concert may have been a better use of my time. For me, as an aspiring fashion designer, I would have enjoyed hearing from Chloe more about how she got started in the business and what she has done to grow and expand her brand. That would have been well-worth my time.
Afterwards I went to the Am Appy flea market, which seemed to be a big draw for most of the people at StyleX. As soon as I got in I bee-lined it for the vintage section. It was more sparse than last year (probably because it was midway through the second day) but I was able to find an AMAZING oversized olive-green corduroy mens blazer. Seriously people, this thing is to die for. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be buried in it. I also was able to snag a pair of tights and a mens chambray shirt. I spent more than I was planning but I’m super happy with my finds! At this point I had some time to burn (over an hour) so I ran back to my car which was a mile and a half away to put my bag up and then ran back and made it just in time to get a good seat for the second panel.
This was what I was really looking forward to. Indiana Adams, of AdoredAustin.com and Kelly Framel, of TheGlamourai.com are two of my favorite fashion/style bloggers so there was no way that I was going to pass up the opportunity to go see them! In fact I missed my friends’ play their last show of the weekend in order to go to the panel (sorry guys!). Again, according to the website there were supposed to be more people speaking, but this time I know who all was there: so here’s the edited list:
Technology is Cool, but Technology+Fashion is Cooler
– Indiana Adams: blogger & co-founder of Texas Style Council
– Marissa Evans: CEO/founder, GoTryItOn.com
– Kelly Framel: creator/designer, TheGlamourai.com
– Devin Hunt: co-founder, Ly.st
– Syuzi Pakhchyan: author, Fashioning Technology
– J. Erik Schaeffer: CEO/co-founder, RetailrApp.com & DoubleStereo.com
This panel was much more informative and interesting (and much more crowded) than the one earlier in the day. Kelly and Indiana talked a little bit about their style and about monetizing their blogs, Syuzi talked about her work where she puts crazy wires and lights and stuff into her designs (way cool but so not me), but what I found most interesting was what the other three – Devin, Marissa, and Erik talked about. All three of them are really excited about a new business sector that is opening up that has to do with the merging of fashion and technology. Devin mentioned at one point he and his business partner had met with a fashion house in Paris and they were told that the house held the belief that the internet is a fad (he phrased it differently, but that was definitely the gist of it). I’m sure I laughed the hardest of anyone in the audience at that notion. I’m all about being connected online: facebook, twitter, linkedin, foursquare, bloglovin, my blog, last.fm, and I’m sure my myspace is still out there somewhere (I should probably delete it if I haven’t already…). I don’t know how any business, fashion or not, can survive without taking advantage of putting their product and branding out there for everyone globally, and not simply with their website but also by being connected to other sites like ly.st or gotryiton.com.
There were two other parts to StyleX, the booths and the fashion shows. I didn’t spend a lot of time at the booths for a couple of different reasons: 1. I didn’t have money to spend 2. Most of them didn’t interest me 3. I felt like I could design better stuff than I saw at some of the booths. It seemed like half of the vendors were graphic t-shirts/screen-printing stations. I have nothing against that kind of stuff, in fact I love screen-printing. It’s so much fun!! However, I don’t consider that “fashion”. In the years to come I think that they should incorporate local boutiques to get a more well-rounded event. Also if they could have indie fashion-designers from across the country I think that would be a great opportunity to really step up the quality of items. At the very least it would be more interesting and diverse.
I didn’t go to any of the fashion shows, but from what I’ve seen and heard I don’t think I missed out on much. They used musicians as models, which seems like a great idea… but I think it really took away from any sense of professionalism that the shows could have had. The people of Austin have great style, but somehow that seemed to be completely missing from the runway. I know they were limited because they only used products from vendors that were there, but most of the people I saw at StyleX were dressed WAY better than the pictures that I’ve seen of the runway shows. The StyleX website says the following:
“Music has always been a source for fashion trends and style and Style X is the world’s first event bringing those two together with a keen focus on the up-and-coming. Just as the music, film and technology makers reflect the innovative and creative capital of their respective industries, Style X will represent the inventive and inspired work of style makers from all over the world.”
I think it’s a great goal, I mean I want to be up-and-coming with all of my designs and in everything that I do. I want to me inventive and inspire others. I know I’m still learning and finding my way, and so is StyleX. The people of Austin, and the people who come from all over the world to attend events in Austin like SXSW and ACL, have great style but that alone does not make a “fashion-scene”. I truly hope that StyleX can change that and bring Austin to the forefront of the fashion world.
In an attempt to make up for missing all of their shows, here’s a video of Archibald Adams and the Shimmering War Choir! The drummer and keyboardist are my old roommates, and in fact I spent my last night in town with the keyboardist, lead singer, and the flutist. Great people. Great times. Sorry again guys… next time I’m in town I’ll be sure to make it out!! xo.