COMMUNICATE

Send a message.
Ask, advise, comment, volunteer, inform, gripe, complain, threaten or pester... Send us at REVIEWER MAGAZINE your tender love note. Want to be heard? You can!
:::

Reviewer TV


Watch:

Vimeo
Youtube


:::

Join Us, Won’t You?

ReviewerTV
Subscriptions

$5 per month or $40 per year, recurring, you can cancel easily at any time:


Memberships: monthly or annual, cancel easily any time.



:::

Reviewer TV

Members Videos

:::

In Print

PDFs of recent issues of Reviewer Magazine in print:

#50,

#49,

#48,

#47,

#46,

#45,

#44,

#43,

#42,

#41

#40,

#39,

#38

:::

Most Recent Items

Reviewer TV

Members Videos

:::

In Print

PDFs of recent issues of Reviewer Magazine in print:

#50,

#49,

#48,

#47,

#46,

#45,

#44,

#43,

#42,

#41

#40,

#39,

#38

:::

Fashion Week SD's Allison Andrews Interview

Fashion Week SD’s Allison Andrews in a Reviewer TV interview

What follows is the transcript for a nearly one-hour sit down between Allison Andrews and Robert Rowsey of Reviewer TV. Some parts were data-entried as “Unintelligible” but you can check the actual video for clarity (it’s 55:41) HERE or where it’s embedded at the bottom of the post. You’ve never met a person more passionate about fashion than Allison. ~Editor

Allison Andrews, photo Robert Rowsey.

Allison Andrews, photo Robert Rowsey.

Rob: It’s Reviewer TV, we’re here with Allison Andrews, Allison Andrews from San Diego fashion week.
[Allison smiles and nods]
Rob: How ya doing?
Allison: Good, how are you?
Rob: Good, good, thanks for meeting.
[Allison laughs]
Rob: I understand you just recently had your 10th anniversary San Diego fashion week.
Allison: (nodding) Mhmm.
Rob: And it looked huge, I didn’t attend but I should have because I saw it on Facebook and it looked like just a huge gala downtown at the San Diego harbor, uh, where was it exactly this year?
Allison: So, we had our locations we had (unintelligible) events and they were all around San Diego downtown (unintelligible) but our main runway shows, the iconic runway shows for fashion week were at The Broadway Pier here, and that’s our favorite venue. it’s Ideal for the type of production we put on.
Rob: It’s a big, big place, it’s like ship hangar or something?
Allison: It’s a crew ship terminal, yes. It’s massive.
Rob: Wow, yeah.
Allison: It’s– our runway is over 100 feet long it sits thousands of people, I mean about 3,000 come through each night.
Rob: Really?
Allison: Yeah, it was incredible. (smiling) And that’s actually not one of our biggest years, we’ve had more in the past– in attendees– but still–
Rob: (Unintelligible)
Allison: At that venue, yeah.
Rob: Okay, okay– And, um, how many designers did you have and how many models do you have typically? This year and then–
Allison: So, this year, (unintelligible), I know we talked about that earlier, like, we’ve ended up having 128 models.
Rob: Okay, okay.
Allison: Yeah (smiling) Which is a lot of bodies, just to think about that backstage.
Rob: And you organize everything?
Allison: Everything. (nodding) Start to finish. You know, making sure there’s toilet paper to stirrers for the cocktails to the actual–
Rob: All the essentials.
Allison: (waves hand in a sweeping motion) –The garments that went down the runway, yeah.
Everything.
Rob: How do you find designers?
Allison: They find us! Which is nice at this point, we have an application which is live right now, so if you are an aspiring designer, or want to be part of a traditional fashion week you fill out the paper application, and then we review it.
Rob: At the website?
Allison: On the website, just a PDF, fill it out, e-mail it back, scan it back, whatever you need to do to get it to us, you can even snail mail it if you have to, and then we review it, and then from there we will schedule a phone interview and then usually after the phone interview the last part is meeting with the whole team for like a face-to-face interview and then we make our selection.
Rob: And are they mostly from the San Diego area?
Allison: You know what was really thrilling this year was almost every single one of our designers was from San Diego originally, they might have moved to Los Angeles– there was two of them in the case that San Diego was their home city and their family and they’re tied very deeply here, so if you count those two that are L.A. based businesses currently, but originated in San Diego, then everybody that showed this year was from San Diego which is really incredible.
Rob: How many designers did you say you had?
Allison: Twenty-one.
Rob: Twenty-one, okay, how many of those out of that were from San Diego?
Allison: Uh, it would have been nineteen! [smiles]
Rob: Nineteen, okay.
Allison: That are based and working, but every single one of them, even the two that are based in Los Angeles right now, they were born and raised in San Diego, and have family here so– technically they’re all San Diegans.
Rob: And you’re from Orange County, right?
Allison: I’m originally from Orange County yes.
Rob: What brought you down here to start fashion week here? What brought you down here to San Diego and made you want to do it in San Diego, other than being here?
Allison: Yeah, no I mean growing up in Orange County, I hated it, I hated growing up in Orange County–
Rob: You’re not a beach girl?
Allison: It’s not that! I love the beach, I still live by the beach, I would die if I wasn’t next to the ocean. You know it’s funny I’m not a surfer girl but I’ve never not lived by the water, I love the water, it’s so calming. It’s my place. But, um, no I hated orange county because there’s no center of downtown, there’s no center of commerce, so you don’t have that influx of um– cultures.
Rob: What city were you in?
Allison: I was in Huntington Beach.
Rob: Okay.
Allison: But there was no central downtown, I mean, people–
Rob: Not even on main street?
Allison: No, I mean well there’s main street Huntington, but I mean like, downtown San Diego; Downtown Los Angeles; Downtown San Francisco; Downtown Manhattan; Chicago– most cities have a hub, and that’s where you get a mix of cultures, and business and creative arts, and um, a wide body of people that bring their influences and their personal take on life and when you don’t have that you get very much a divided culture and you get a very (sub-population?) of the culture and that’s what Orange County is. We used to joke that if you were you know, west of the 405 it was like wonder bread white and if you were east of the 405 depending on which area you were little Saigon or Tijuana. And, I mean that’s terrible, you know? That wasn’t cool. I mean, I hated growing up there. I loved when I was a kid and we would go to L.A. or we would go to San Diego, I grew up coming to Encinitas a lot, which is hilarious, but now this is where I live. But, um, I loved coming down because you had more– I think more culture and more stimulation and I really thrived off of that, even young, I really enjoyed that. Um, I like eating wide varieties of food, I listen to extremely eclectic music. I am very– I consider myself very progressive and very open minded so I do well in that type of environment and I’m also very inspired by it. If everything’s the same it’s very boring to me.
Rob: [listening intently] Yeah.
Allison: You know, I get– lackluster, I need those (making passionate hang gestures) different influences to keep me stimulated.
Rob: Fashion is kind of good in that way in that it kind of blends different cultures, every scene, every trend is something new from– maybe different parts of the world or different influences that people have.
Allison: Oh my gosh [nodding] Their background, anything, yeah!
Rob: What is “fashion”? Like, if you could define fashion, let’s say– I was going to say 20 words or less but how about 10 words or less, What is “fashion”? I understand we’re going to get a little meta, but, um–
Allison: I know– see that’s the analytical side of me, I can either give you the lofty like spiritual side, or I can give you the analytical side– the first gut reaction that I have is it’s the worlds largest employer. That’s fashion.
Rob: Okay.
Allison: That’s the business side of it.
Rob: Okay, so it’s an industry.
Allison: It is, I mean or I can get very spiritual and lofty with you–
Rob: Sure.
Allison: –and say it’s an ideal.
Rob: Uh-huh.
Allison: Like, fashion is an ideal that you present to the world.
Rob: How so?
Allison: Of who you are, I mean literally it says who you are, you know from your accessories to your glasses to your watch to your shoes to your bag to your fanny pack to my purse, you know?
Rob: Right.
Allison: The coffee I’m holding in my hand! [raises cup] You know? All of it brands me as a human being and says and identifies to you, my likes, my interests, who I am and who I am not. I mean, think of high school; High school is the best example of that– You know those are your geeks [pointing], you know that’s the preppy kids, you know that’s your gothic kids, you know that’s your emo kids, you know that’s your surfer crew, that’s your jocks– and you do that from, basically aesthetics.
Rob: Mhm.
Allison: Nobody has deep conversations with those people about what they love or what they don’t love, or what their views on life are. You’re totally judging them from their outer appearance.
Rob: What was your earliest experience of fashion? Like, going back into Allison’s childhood memory–
[Allison laughs]
Rob: What was your first awareness of, This is fashion, this is what I should look like or this is what I should wear, this is the label or brand that I should seek or ask my parents to buy me for Christmas or my birthday?
Allison: Yeah– [smiling and holding coffee cup]
Rob: What was your first impression?
Allison: I actually didn’t become a label whore, which the industry term–
Rob: (laughs)
Allison: I didn’t become a label whore–
Rob: It’s a “technical term”. [laughing]
Allison: It’s a technical term, it is, at this point. I didn’t become that way until actually much older, I’d say like the last 10 years, maybe 5 even. Honestly. Maybe 5. Um, but, as a kid– my first take on fashion, you know, I grew up with a single mom, we grew up in an apartment, so for me, I think it was just being able to fit in and be accepted by a wide variety of my peers. Where we grew up was a very affluent area of town, but we were far from affluent. So, I think just being able to blend in and be accepted was the most important thing, I remember one incident where I had to (unintelligible) backpack, you know, Target or whatever company at that time, whatever backpack my mom picked up for the school year.
Rob: You were judged for that.
Allison: And, yeah, it was a Jansport backpack and I will never forget it, and it like ruined my whole school year, I felt like I was like, such a loser because I didn’t have a stupid Jansport backpack. And you know the funny thing is I’m such a sentimental goofball, I still have that damn backpack once I got it, it was a black one, with like leather suede brim trim and it would actually be like super chic, if I pulled it out right now people would think I’m like super hip, hipster–
Rob: Very retro.
Allison: Yeah, it’s very cool. I still have that stupid thing, because it was so important as a kid, you know? But um, no–
Rob: I think mine was OP, I remember OP–
Allison: That was huge.
Rob: Because yeah, (unintelligible) back in maybe like the 7th grade, I think? Back in the late 70’s early– mid to late 70’s.
Allison: Yeah OP was a big brand for a long time, even in the 80’s they kept on going.
Rob: the new skateboard that we had to have — It was GS deck with uh, roadwide wheels and (unintelligible) trucks.
Allison: Oh, that’s funny. (smiling)
Rob: that was like The– and I scored that, my parents bought me that for Christmas.
Allison: That’s nice.
Rob: So I was like “whoooo–” (makes thumbs up gesture)
Allison: I remember when I got a gravity longboard and that was awesome because I could keep up with the boys because I could pump that thing like twice and I would go faster than them.
Rob: Strong legs!
Allison: Yeah, yeah, so that was cool.
Rob: Ha!
Allison: Yeah, so I was more on the skater side of Huntington Beach than the surfer side, so–
Rob: Oh okay–
Allison: Yeah.
Rob: (unintelligible)
Allison: That’s what it is, action sports, yeah.
Rob: What’s your favorite thing to uh relax now, other than (unintelligible) being at home in your sweatpants?
Allison: God, can’t beat that– um, I love to travel, and it doesn’t have to be amazing I just like to see the world and explore it so, even just a getaway like this weekend we went to Arrowhead and it was just lovely to be in the mountains and just have no WIFI and terrible cell service and just unplug and be in nature and hang out, I love to garden, I love to read, I love holding old books like I actually like to tangibly read, not just a kindle or something, and I never get to read anymore with a toddler and work so, that’s a definite treat to be able to read, and I like cooking, kind of like a domestic goddess with her garden, cooking, family–(laughs heartily)
Rob: A domestic goddess, huh?
Allison: (laughs) My husband might disagree with all of that. (laughs)
Rob: (unintelligible)
What about– you say you like to travel, what about different cities like Los Angeles, I saw on Facebook that you were in L.A. for recently for some sort of (unintelligible) party.
Allison: I did– Yeah. (nodding)
Rob: So are there any other fashion industry things that go on in L.A. or different cities that you kind of bring into play?
Allison: Yeah. I play to two of the biggest hubs in North America; Los Angeles and New York. I try to get to New York at least once a year, I’m lucky if I can do twice, but for sure once a year.
Rob: For what?
Allison: I try to go for their, uh, market season, not during their fashion week because it’s usually a couple weeks before mine–
Rob: Oh, yeah.

Allison: Because we’re a traditional fashion week so we all kind of hit the same time it usually goes, Paris– Milan– New York– Us– and then Los Angeles.
Rob: Is that because you’re all trying to sell fall at the same time?
Allison: Mhm. It’s the trends.
Rob: –to splurge the sales?
Allison: Yeah, so the fashion industry is going through a huge overhaul right now, um, and we’re all just trying to navigate it. But it used to be what would happen was you would show at the fashion week what was coming for the next season because then it would allow time for the retailers– the buyers, to see it presented on bodies, say, “Oh, I think that would look good in my store.”
Place the order. Then that designer or manufacturer would have time to make the garments, ship them to your store, and by the time they hit your store floor, that’s what’s ready for sale. It’s because– fashion is like bread, no one wants to buy stale bread, right? So you gotta bake it knowing that it’s gotta sell, it’s kind of like fashion works the same way.
Rob: [nodding]
Allison: So traditionally fashion weeks would work this way, we would see something– so if you saw it in the fall it would actually be for spring/summer. And when you go to a spring-summer show it would actually be for the fall merchandise.
Rob: Mhm.
Allison: But now– with the internet and the general consumer behavior that we have in our current marketplace, which I love, I wouldn’t change it for the world I think it’s fantastic– um, people want it now. So, like a lot of what we saw this year at fashion week San Diego was actually garments for fall, ready to buy right then and there. There was no delay, so what you saw on the runway you could literally buy it that next– that Sunday, the last day of fashion week San Diego at our annual trunk show. So it’s interesting– some fashion weeks are still trying to showcase what’s to come but then they might piece in some accessories, or purses, or handbags, or watches, or belts that you could actually currently buy right then, they’re called immediates.
Rob: I guess in the industry– you were saying that the industry has been going through some upheaval and maybe you could elaborate on that, but um, I was thinking– is it because of the way fashion clothes are manufactured? Like, shoes aren’t made in Italy anymore– too much, like– clothes aren’t made in France, like their really high fashion stuff they ship out to Thailand, or Singapore, is that what you’re talking about?
Allison: No. It– it has nothing to do with that.
Rob: It’s not about cheap labor?
Allison: It’s not about cheap labor, it’s just the buyer it’s the consumer. Like, think about yourself right now if you see something and go, “Okay I want that.”
You can go on Amazon, and if you have Amazon Prime in 24 hours it’s going to be at your doorstep. So now imagine going to a fashion week having this consumer behavior and power that you’re now accustomed to as the consumer and now being told, “Oh you like that jacket you just bought? You have to wait 3 months.”
Rob: Mhm. [Nodding]
Allison: You’re gonna be like, “No, I’m gonna go find a knock-off version of it.”
Or, “No I’m gonna go find it somewhere else.”
So that’s what I’m saying. So now, instead of designers showing things that are meant to be coming they’re now having to kind of move that time scale up a lot quicker then what historically you would do as a best business practice, now those business practices are being changed because it’s 100 percent because of the consumer power. And also way back to your point about labor and manufacturing– yeah– that has affected some of the industry, like you’ll see brands that really promote their branding and their whole you know platform of the fact that they’re local now, and that they’re you know, um, organic, or fair trade, and that also has affected consumer behavior. I mean, I myself am vegan. I don’t eat GMO’s, I’m organic, I’m that freak in the grocery store, you know if it doesn’t have 20 labels on it that are all my type of labels I’m not buying it.
Rob: How long have you been vegan?
Allison: Uh, since I stopped breastfeeding my kids.
Rob: Oh, cool!
Allison: [laughs] uh-huh, yeah.
Rob: So I guess your kids not vegan then.
Allison: Uh-uh. No. [sips coffee]
Rob: So it’s been like– your child is pretty young–
Allison: Couple months. But prior to her– prior to her– she’s such a puppet master– prior to her, I was a vegetarian. I’d still eat cheese. I don’t eat much dairy but I love cheese. Like a really good cheese, I would love the cheese.
Rob: You never eat meat?
Allison: Um not my thing, even when I was a kid, just not my thing. I’d eat fish. I went from being a pescatarian to a vegetarian, I was vegetarian for about 15 plus years–
Rob: Okay.
Allison: Sometimes pescatarian depending what was going on, and then having the baby all I wanted was filet mignon and burgers and hot dogs and it was gross. [making disgusted face]
I couldn’t get enough of it.
Rob: Really?

Allison: my cholesterol was so high (unintelligible, something about life insurance with my baby)
Rob: Really?
Allison: Yes, yes, yes– because of all the meat I consumed while pregnant with her. It just shot my cholesterol through the roof.
Rob: Wow.
Allison: So anyways– long story short, that’s a fun, interesting personal fact about me but now the pendulum has swung and I’m completely vegan and I love it.
Rob: So you do know what it’s like to experience the satisfaction of meat–
Allison: Oh yeah.
Rob: Good meat, filet mignon, just having some– meat.
Allison: Oh yeah. And I appreciate culinary arts even if it’s something I wouldn’t eat I can respect the craftsmanship what went into it if it is something that is cared for and presented with that mentality.
Rob: Sure.
[Both smile and laugh]
Allison: But not my cup of tea! Literally.
Rob: What about the other aspects of the fashion business that you might be attracted to? Are you only involved or only want to be involved in show (unintelligible) or do you think you’ll ever get your own label, have you ever been working for a label before or designer?

Allison: Yeah, yeah yeah. So my parent company, my first business is APA business consulting and that actually owns fashion week San Diego and that consulting firm this month of November turns 14 years old, so I had it 4 years prior to even starting fashion week San Diego.
Rob: So that’s your (unintelligible) to the city?

Allison: That’s my– mhm– my baby. Um, it’s a corporation but I have no partners, it’s me, myself and I, but um–
Rob: You do have one employee though, you said right?

Rob: It’s Reviewer TV, we’re here with Allison Andrews, Allison Andrews from San Diego fashion week.
[Allison smiles and nods]
Rob: How ya doing?
Allison: Good, how are you?
Rob: Good, good, thanks for meeting.
[Allison laughs]
Rob: I understand you just recently had your 10th anniversary San Diego fashion week.
Allison: (nodding) Mhmm.
Rob: And it looked huge, I didn’t attend but I should have because I saw it on Facebook and it looked like just a huge gala downtown at the San Diego harbor, uh, where was it exactly this year?
Allison: So, we had our locations we had (unintelligible) events and they were all around San Diego downtown (unintelligible) but our main runway shows, the iconic runway shows for fashion week were at The Broadway Pier here, and that’s our favorite venue. it’s Ideal for the type of production we put on.
Rob: It’s a big, big place, it’s like ship hangar or something?
Allison: It’s a crew ship terminal, yes. It’s massive.
Rob: Wow, yeah.
Allison: It’s– our runway is over 100 feet long it sits thousands of people, I mean about 3,000 come through each night.
Rob: Really?
Allison: Yeah, it was incredible. (smiling) And that’s actually not one of our biggest years, we’ve had more in the past– in attendees– but still–
Rob: (Unintelligible)
Allison: At that venue, yeah.
Rob: Okay, okay– And, um, how many designers did you have and how many models do you have typically? This year and then–
Allison: So, this year, (unintelligible), I know we talked about that earlier, like, we’ve ended up having 128 models.
Rob: Okay, okay.
Allison: Yeah (smiling) Which is a lot of bodies, just to think about that backstage.
Rob: And you organize everything?
Allison: Everything. (nodding) Start to finish. You know, making sure there’s toilet paper to stirrers for the cocktails to the actual–
Rob: All the essentials.
Allison: (waves hand in a sweeping motion) –The garments that went down the runway, yeah.
Everything.
Rob: How do you find designers?
Allison: They find us! Which is nice at this point, we have an application which is live right now, so if you are an aspiring designer, or want to be part of a traditional fashion week you fill out the paper application, and then we review it.
Rob: At the website?
Allison: On the website, just a PDF, fill it out, e-mail it back, scan it back, whatever you need to do to get it to us, you can even snail mail it if you have to, and then we review it, and then from there we will schedule a phone interview and then usually after the phone interview the last part is meeting with the whole team for like a face-to-face interview and then we make our selection.
Rob: And are they mostly from the San Diego area?
Allison: You know what was really thrilling this year was almost every single one of our designers was from San Diego originally, they might have moved to Los Angeles– there was two of them in the case that San Diego was their home city and their family and they’re tied very deeply here, so if you count those two that are L.A. based businesses currently, but originated in San Diego, then everybody that showed this year was from San Diego which is really incredible.
Rob: How many designers did you say you had?
Allison: Twenty-one.
Rob: Twenty-one, okay, how many of those out of that were from San Diego?
Allison: Uh, it would have been nineteen! [smiles]
Rob: Nineteen, okay.
Allison: That are based and working, but every single one of them, even the two that are based in Los Angeles right now, they were born and raised in San Diego, and have family here so– technically they’re all San Diegans.
Rob: And you’re from Orange County, right?
Allison: I’m originally from Orange County yes.
Rob: What brought you down here to start fashion week here? What brought you down here to San Diego and made you want to do it in San Diego, other than being here?
Allison: Yeah, no I mean growing up in Orange County, I hated it, I hated growing up in Orange County–
Rob: You’re not a beach girl?
Allison: It’s not that! I love the beach, I still live by the beach, I would die if I wasn’t next to the ocean. You know it’s funny I’m not a surfer girl but I’ve never not lived by the water, I love the water, it’s so calming. It’s my place. But, um, no I hated orange county because there’s no center of downtown, there’s no center of commerce, so you don’t have that influx of um– cultures.
Rob: What city were you in?
Allison: I was in Huntington Beach.
Rob: Okay.
Allison: But there was no central downtown, I mean, people–
Rob: Not even on main street?
Allison: No, I mean well there’s main street Huntington, but I mean like, downtown San Diego; Downtown Los Angeles; Downtown San Francisco; Downtown Manhattan; Chicago– most cities have a hub, and that’s where you get a mix of cultures, and business and creative arts, and um, a wide body of people that bring their influences and their personal take on life and when you don’t have that you get very much a divided culture and you get a very (sub-population?) of the culture and that’s what Orange County is. We used to joke that if you were you know, west of the 405 it was like wonder bread white and if you were east of the 405 depending on which area you were little Saigon or Tijuana. And, I mean that’s terrible, you know? That wasn’t cool. I mean, I hated growing up there. I loved when I was a kid and we would go to L.A. or we would go to San Diego, I grew up coming to Encinitas a lot, which is hilarious, but now this is where I live. But, um, I loved coming down because you had more– I think more culture and more stimulation and I really thrived off of that, even young, I really enjoyed that. Um, I like eating wide varieties of food, I listen to extremely eclectic music. I am very– I consider myself very progressive and very open minded so I do well in that type of environment and I’m also very inspired by it. If everything’s the same it’s very boring to me.
Rob: [listening intently] Yeah.
Allison: You know, I get– lackluster, I need those (making passionate hang gestures) different influences to keep me stimulated.
Rob: Fashion is kind of good in that way in that it kind of blends different cultures, every scene, every trend is something new from– maybe different parts of the world or different influences that people have.
Allison: Oh my gosh (nodding) Their background, anything, yeah!
Rob: What is “fashion”? Like, if you could define fashion, let’s say– I was going to say 20 words or less but how about 10 words or less, What is “fashion”? I understand we’re going to get a little meta, but, um–
Allison: I know– see that’s the analytical side of me, I can either give you the lofty like spiritual side, or I can give you the analytical side– the first gut reaction that I have is it’s the worlds largest employer. That’s fashion.
Rob: Okay.
Allison: That’s the business side of it.
Rob: Okay, so it’s an industry.
Allison: It is, I mean or I can get very spiritual and lofty with you–
Rob: Sure.
Allison: –and say it’s an ideal.
Rob: Uh-huh.
Allison: Like, fashion is an ideal that you present to the world.
Rob: How so?
Allison: Of who you are, I mean literally it says who you are, you know from your accessories to your glasses to your watch to your shoes to your bag to your fanny pack to my purse, you know?
Rob: Right.
Allison: The coffee I’m holding in my hand! [raises cup] You know? All of it brands me as a human being and says and identifies to you, my likes, my interests, who I am and who I am not. I mean, think of high school; High school is the best example of that– You know those are your geeks [pointing], you know that’s the preppy kids, you know that’s your gothic kids, you know that’s your emo kids, you know that’s your surfer crew, that’s your jocks– and you do that from, basically aesthetics.
Rob: Mhm.
Allison: Nobody has deep conversations with those people about what they love or what they don’t love, or what their views on life are. You’re totally judging them from their outer appearance.
Rob: What was your earliest experience of fashion? Like, going back into Allison’s childhood memory–
[Allison laughs]
Rob: What was your first awareness of, This is fashion, this is what I should look like or this is what I should wear, this is the label or brand that I should seek or ask my parents to buy me for Christmas or my birthday?
Allison: Yeah– [smiling and holding coffee cup]
Rob: What was your first impression?
Allison: I actually didn’t become a label whore, which the industry term–
Rob: (laughs)
Allison: I didn’t become a label whore–
Rob: Its a “technical term”. (laughing)
Allison: It’s a technical term, it is, at this point. I didn’t become that way until actually much older, I’d say like the last 10 years, maybe 5 even. Honestly. Maybe 5. Um, but, as a kid– my first take on fashion, you know, I grew up with a single mom, we grew up in an apartment, so for me, I think it was just being able to fit in and be accepted by a wide variety of my peers. Where we grew up was a very affluent area of town, but we were far from affluent. So, I think just being able to blend in and be accepted was the most important thing, I remember one incident where I had to (unintelligible) backpack, you know, Target or whatever company at that time, whatever backpack my mom picked up for the school year.
Rob: You were judged for that.
Allison: And, yeah, it was a Jansport backpack and I will never forget it, and it like ruined my whole school year, I felt like I was like, such a loser because I didn’t have a stupid Jansport backpack. And you know the funny thing is I’m such a sentimental goofball, I still have that damn backpack once I got it, it was a black one, with like leather suede brim trim and it would actually be like super chic, if I pulled it out right now people would think I’m like super hip, hipster–
Rob: Very retro.
Allison: Yeah, it’s very cool. I still have that stupid thing, because it was so important as a kid, you know? But um, no–
Rob: I think mine was OP, I remember OP–
Allison: That was huge.
Rob: Because yeah, (unintelligible) back in maybe like the 7th grade, I think? Back in the late 70’s early– mid to late 70’s.
Allison: Yeah OP was a big brand for a long time, even in the 80’s they kept on going.
Rob: the new skateboard that we had to have — It was GS deck with uh, roadwide wheels and (unintelligible) trucks.
Allison: Oh, that’s funny. (smiling)
Rob: that was like The– and I scored that, my parents bought me that for Christmas.
Allison: That’s nice.
Rob: So I was like “whoooo–” (makes thumbs up gesture)
Allison: I remember when I got a gravity longboard and that was awesome because I could keep up with the boys because I could pump that thing like twice and I would go faster than them.
Rob: Strong legs!
Allison: Yeah, yeah, so that was cool.
Rob: Ha!
Allison: Yeah, so I was more on the skater side of Huntington Beach than the surfer side, so–
Rob: Oh okay–
Allison: Yeah.
Rob: (unintelligible)
Allison: That’s what it is, action sports, yeah.
Rob: What’s your favorite thing to uh relax now, other than (unintelligible) being at home in your sweatpants?
Allison: God, can’t beat that– um, I love to travel, and it doesn’t have to be amazing I just like to see the world and explore it so, even just a getaway like this weekend we went to Arrowhead and it was just lovely to be in the mountains and just have no WIFI and terrible cell service and just unplug and be in nature and hang out, I love to garden, I love to read, I love holding old books like I actually like to tangibly read, not just a kindle or something, and I never get to read anymore with a toddler and work so, that’s a definite treat to be able to read, and I like cooking, kind of like a domestic goddess with her garden, cooking, family–(laughs heartily)
Rob: A domestic goddess, huh?
Allison: (laughs) My husband might disagree with all of that. (laughs)
Rob: (unintelligible)
What about– you say you like to travel, what about different cities like Los Angelos, I saw on facebook that you were in L.A. for recently for some sort of (unintelligible) party.
Allison: I did– Yeah. (nodding)
Rob: So are there any other fashion industry things that go on in L.A. or different cities that you kind of bring into play?
Allison: Yeah. I play to two of the biggest hubs in North America; Los Angelos and New York. I try to get to New York at least once a year, I’m lucky if I can do twice, but for sure once a year.
Rob: For what?
Allision: I try to go for their, uh, market season, not during their fashion week because it’s usually a couple weeks before mine–
Rob: Oh, yeah.

Allison: Because we’re a traditional fashion week so we all kind of hit the same time it usually goes, Paris– Milan– New York– Us– and then Los Angelos.
Rob: Is that because you’re all trying to sell fall at the same time?
Allison: Mhm. It’s the trends.
Rob: –to splurge the sales?
Allison: Yeah, so the fashion industry is going through a huge overhaul right now, um, and we’re all just trying to navigate it. But it used to be what would happen was you would show at the fashion week what was coming for the next season because then it would allow time for the retailers– the buyers, to see it presented on bodies, say, “Oh, I think that would look good in my store.”
Place the order. Then that designer or manufacturer would have time to make the garments, ship them to your store, and by the time they hit your store floor, that’s what’s ready for sale. It’s because– fashion is like bread, no one wants to buy stale bread, right? So you gotta bake it knowing that it’s gotta sell, it’s kind of like fashion works the same way.
Rob: [nodding]
Allison: So traditionally fashion weeks would work this way, we would see something– so if you saw it in the fall it would actually be for spring/summer. And when you go to a spring-summer show it would actually be for the fall merchandise.
Rob: Mhm.
Allison: But now– with the internet and the general consumer behavior that we have in our current marketplace, which I love, I wouldn’t change it for the world I think it’s fantastic– um, people want it now. So, like a lot of what we saw this year at fashion week San Diego was actually garments for fall, ready to buy right then and there. There was no delay, so what you saw on the runway you could literally buy it that next– that Sunday, the last day of fashion week San Diego at our annual trunk show. So it’s interesting– some fashion weeks are still trying to showcase what’s to come but then they might piece in some accessories, or purses, or handbags, or watches, or belts that you could actually currently buy right then, they’re called immediates.
Rob: I guess in the industry– you were saying that the industry has been going through some upheaval and maybe you could elaborate on that, but um, I was thinking– is it because of the way fashion clothes are manufactured? Like, shoes aren’t made in Italy anymore– too much, like– clothes aren’t made in France, like their really high fashion stuff they ship out to Thailand, or Singapore, is that what you’re talking about?
Allison: No. It– it has nothing to do with that.
Rob: It’s not about cheap labor?
Allison: It’s not about cheap labor, it’s just the buyer it’s the consumer. Like, think about yourself right now if you see something and go, “Okay I want that.”
You can go on Amazon, and if you have Amazon Prime in 24 hours it’s going to be at your doorstep. So now imagine going to a fashion week having this consumer behavior and power that you’re now accustomed to as the consumer and now being told, “Oh you like that jacket you just bought? You have to wait 3 months.”
Rob: Mhm. [Nodding]
Allison: You’re gonna be like, “No, I’m gonna go find a knock-off version of it.”
Or, “No I’m gonna go find it somewhere else.”
So that’s what I’m saying. So now, instead of designers showing things that are meant to be coming they’re now having to kind of move that time scale up a lot quicker then what historically you would do as a best business practice, now those business practices are being changed because it’s 100 percent because of the consumer power. And also way back to your point about labor and manufacturing– yeah– that has affected some of the industry, like you’ll see brands that really promote their branding and their whole you know platform of the fact that they’re local now, and that they’re you know, um, organic, or fair trade, and that also has affected consumer behavior. I mean I myself am vegan. I don’t eat GMO’s, I’m organic, I’m that freak in the grocery store, you know if it doesn’t have 20 labels on it that are all my type of labels I’m not buying it.
Rob: How long have you been vegan?
Allison: Uh, since I stopped breastfeeding my kids.
Rob: Oh, cool!
Allison: [laughs] uh-huh, yeah.
Rob: So I guess your kids not vegan then.
Allison: Uh-uh. No. [sips coffee]
Rob: So it’s been like– your child is pretty young–
Allison: Couple months. But prior to her– prior to her– she’s such a puppet master– prior to her, I was a vegetarian. I’d still eat cheese. I don’t eat much dairy but I love cheese. Like a really good cheese, I would love the cheese.
Rob: You never eat meat?
Allison: Um not my thing, even when I was a kid, just not my thing. I’d eat fish. I went from being a pescatarian to a vegetarian. I was vegetarian for about 15 plus years–
Rob: Okay.
Allison: Sometimes pescatarian depending what was going on, and then having the baby all I wanted was filet mignon and burgers and hot dogs and it was gross. [making disgusted face]
I couldn’t get enough of it.
Rob: Really?

Allison: my cholesterol was so high (unintelligible, something about life insurance with my baby)
Rob: Really?
Allison: Yes, yes, yes– because of all the meat I consumed while pregnant with her. It just shot my cholesterol through the roof.
Rob: Wow.
Allison: So anyways– long story short, that’s a fun, interesting personal fact about me but now the pendulum has swung and I’m completely vegan and I love it.
Rob: So you do know what it’s like to experience the satisfaction of meat–
Allison: Oh yeah.
Rob: Good meat, filet mignon, just having some– meat.
Allison: Oh yeah. And I appreciate culinary arts even if it’s something I wouldn’t eat I can respect the craftsmanship what went into it if it is something that is cared for and presented with that mentality.
Rob: Sure.
[Both smile and laugh]
Allison: But not my cup of tea! Literally.
Rob: What about the other aspects of the fashion business that you might be attracted to? Are you only involved or only want to be involved in show (unintelligible) or do you think you’ll ever get your own label, have you ever been working for a label before or designer?

Allison: Yeah, yeah yeah. So my parent company, my first business is APA business consulting and that actually owns fashion week San Diego and that consulting firm this month of November turns 14 years old. So, I had it 4 years prior to even starting fashion week San Diego.
Rob: so that’s your (unintelligible) to the city?
Allison: That’s my– mhm– my baby. Um, it’s a corporation but I have no partners, it’s me myself and I. Um, but–
Rob: Don’t you have one employee, you said right?

Allison: I do! I love her oh my god, I always joke she’s not allowed to go anywhere, I’ll find her, she can never leave me. If she leaves–
Rob: Do you have a chaperone for her?
Allison: No seriously, if she leaves me I’m out too, she makes my life amazing at this point I’m spoiled by her, I could not do it without her– Samantha shout out to you, you’re amazing. [points to camera and waves]
Rob: Samantha?
Allison: Dwarf. She’s the bomb dot com. She’s a new mom now too so it’s fine now we have our kids and we work it’s a whole thing. But um, that consulting business, you mentioned I was in L.A.– I’ve been in L.A. every week for a minimum of one to two days for the last– it’s going on six weeks straight.
Rob: Downtown fashion district?
Allison: Mhm. And what I’m doing is I’m working with clients so I only take about five clients a year, right now I have three and I’m full I’m not taking anymore because they’re pretty big projects and they’re all different. One is launching a new patent pending swimwear item for children, the other one is a jewelry line that has already existed that’s trying to get showroom representation and kind of get out into bigger stores and become a bigger brand that’s well recognized. and then the third is a very interesting developer who came up again with another patent pending contraption for menswear, so it’s very interesting.
Rob: What kind of contraption?

Allison: It’s a tie, but I can’t say too much. It’s a menswear accessory it’s like a necktie– but the funny thing is– so I’m dealing with menswear accessories, women’s accessory, and childrenswear, and they range– and now they’re all trying to– they’re all manufacturing, they’re all making these goods these products, and they’re having me as their consultant in different areas whether it’s you know helping them find the textiles from the textile mill that they’re looking for that specific fabric, to manufacturing it here or abroad, pricing that out, to helping them with their patent and working with a lawyer and doing logo and branding and marketing and then just general sales and marketing plans to help them develop this business so it can be sustainable and actually make some money so they can follow their passion. So it’s very stimulating and it’s a lot of work, I deeply care for my clients when I get invested in them, I take them on as my own project and I mean after going through that recession which we talked about in 2007-8-9 basically 10.
Rob: Oh right, we mentioned before we started rolling that there was one year that you skipped.
Allison: Yeah, I mean– my heart is in these entrepreneurs. I mean like I said, I’ve seen people have to give up everything and it’s like the biggest defeat of their life, you know, these hanging heads because they didn’t make it work, so—when I take on my clients, I’m different than most consultants, I’m extremely hands-on and I do deeply care about what they’re trying to do and I’m also very cautious and I think that I’m actually a better consultant now because I’m so cautious and understand the value of their dollar and where it’s coming from, I mean some of my clients literally take second mortgages out on their homes to follow this dream, so I mean their is a lot of the line here, you know, they’ve quit great jobs, they’ve taken big risks, cashed out 401ks, I mean the whole game—total entrepreneur spirit. And those are my people that I work with, those are my people! So—
Rob: (unintelligible)
Allison: I take that very seriously! I take my job as a consultant extremely seriously. It’s not even the right title. I hate the word consultant because it sounds very hands-off, pay me and I’ll speak for finance and I’m out the door, that’s not what I do I mean I’m extremely hands-on, I mean I’ve gone to L.A. and physically walk into the place and make introductions.
Rob: It’s like being a life coach.
Allison: Kind of! For business, I guess, yeah. And I can’t help it, I’m a caring person, so I do—I do care.
Rob: Well the people in this business, like any of the arts—a lot of the people who (unintelligible) are so talented and bright that they could make a lot more money in Wall Street (unintelligible bunch of ran together words)
Allison: It’s like the creative arts, my clients are wickedly smart.
Rob: Mhm.
Allison: Wickedly smart. They’ve all had very successful careers, they’ve all done very well, um, they’re at a place where they can strategically take this risk and there wouldn’t be a lot of loss of their time, their money, and their effort. But still—that’s not an option. But all of them—I mean the one woman is at the top level of her brokerage firm, the other one, she was a doctor—I mean c’mon! And then the other gentleman had his own—a slew of like car auto body shops and had them all over Las Vegas and Nevada. So they’re all very savvy and very highly intelligent people, it’s not like they just drew something and said, “This is pretty, let’s go start a fashion business.”
Um, most of my clients are pretty incredible people, I truly enjoy working with them too, because I learn from them too in different ways.
Rob: Who’s your favorite designer right now?
Allison: Oh gosh.
Rob: Can you give me any names? Can you give me like two or three names that you think are most worthy of talking about or mentioning? Just currently I mean this is fall 2017.
Allison: well I’m going to be a little biased and say that you know since I do fashion week San Diego and I’m all about emerging brands and the entrepreneur spirit and you know it’s obviously the theme to my whole career, um, I really think people need to watch (Vaughnberry?) from Fashion Week San Diego. He’s participated—this was his third year he brought women’s wear, he started with menswear, he’s just such a raw talent with a very specific viewpoint. And see in fashion that’s probably the most challenging thing, because you’re not creating anything really new, a shirt is a shirt is a shirt! It’s just what’s your viewpoint? And what is the story? And how did you make it all come together to make it so unique and so creative?

Rob: So how do you do that?!

Allison: Right?

Rob: Like how did Versace or Gucci become big?

Allison: [Laughs] Well Gucci I could give you a history, Gucci is actually my favorite fashion house, so if you’re asking me about a label, I ’m a Gucci girl I’m an Italian fashion house all day long.

Rob: So how did that happen?

Allison: For me?

Rob: For them.

Allison: For them, well, they started out in some ridiculous time period—like 18-something, making leather gloves and belts and selling them on the street as a vendor in Florence and (unintelligible) And—best construction, best leather and just had a great following and it grew from there into the empire that it is today. All of them started out—I mean Chanel was the same thing. Literally, Chanel started with a woman saying, “F- skirts! I wanna wear pants and a hat.”

That’s Chanel. [smiles] Now look at the empire.

Rob: Mhm. [nods]

Allison: You know, and obviously things happen as all businesses—the founders and the people who originally created it—deceased/retired—it makes enough money that now you get a board of directors and then it becomes you know—it’s a business now.

Rob: Mhm.

Allison: The harder part is trying to keep some of that original essence of the designer passion and viewpoint, so you’ll see them bring in other designers like Tom Ford, or—he was with Gucci for a moment, or Collin (unintelligible last name) with ya know Chanel, to keep kind of those different viewpoints and keep it stimulating and fresh and keep it still authentic to the designers eye, not this just commercial mass branded mass produced frivolous thing. And fashion is not frivolous and that’s one of my favorite things to educate you on, it is so far from frivolous.

Rob: How so?

Allison: Well it’s the number one worlds employer like I told you.

Rob: Mhm.

Allison: So if you want a job—Yes, fashion.

Rob: Fashion.

Allison: [deliberately] Fashion.

Rob: Not defense—not medicine or health.

Allison: Fashion.

Rob: Okay. [shrugs]

Allison: So think about it. Let’s just start with one example. Okay, and imagine all the jobs in all the designated industry just to this one component of fashion. So—planting and harvesting—cotton, cotton farmers. Their whole crops get sold to the fashion textile plant. So you have all those farming/agriculture jobs right? And this is one scenario, I can do this for multiple things and then you’ll see the impact that this has.

Rob: Okay.
Allison: So! Cotton farmers. All those jobs are fashion jobs. From there it goes to a textile mill so it can actually get used and not be just raw cotton—all those jobs. From there from the textile mill now in usable fabric now it goes to a dye house or a print house so it can be this beautiful crème color, right? And different (spuns?). And that’s a whole other job. And from there that piece of textile either goes to a manufacturing plant so that they can use it to develop their own line, or it goes to a fabric store, or it goes to a high-end design house because it was specially made for Gucci. Job—job—jobs. And when I say jobs, jobs, jobs, I’m talking sales clerk—office manager—trash picker-upper—whatever!
Rob: Mhm.
Allison: Okay, jobs. Then from there after that textile being in use, now it’s going to be made. So, that’s cut and sew, that’s the manufacturing. Everybody that’s going to cut and sew it and package it and put it in the packaging and put the label on it, all those are little jobs.
Rob: (UNITELLIBLGE AGAIN)
Allison: Over my dead—oh my goodness!
Rob: [laughs]
Allison: This is a huge industry! I mean this is trillions of dollars. This is the world’s largest employer. And when I’m saying this example we haven’t even walked into the store yet, this isn’t even to the consumer—the consumer is way down at the end of this table [points to the end of table]
I mean, I can literally take you through this chain. But you’re talking about– In that scenario like we didn’t even get halfway to the end of the line here, but you can see where I’m going about why it’s the worlds largest employer. That could happen in Thailand, that could happen in North America, that could happen in Canada, that could have happened in Australia, that could happen in Japan, this is happening everywhere! Finland, Denmark, Ireland, that whole everything.
Rob: Yeah just thinking about, the local few blocks of shops that are around here, there’s so many fashion clothing boutiques.
Allison: And that’s the end use. You’re not even talking about the chain it took to get that shirt to hang up in that store.
Rob: Yeah. Getting back to designers, you mentioned one designer that you like but what about local fashion culture like—what about surf culture?
Allison: Oh it’s great.
Rob: Surf um—do you use a lot of that in San Diego fashion week or is it more a high fashion—haute couture—or whatever it is—
Allison: [laughs]
So fashion week San Diego– the way that it’s recognized by the world industry– which we are a world recognized fashion week– how we got to be there was we played to emerging brands, so we’re not category specific. So, when I say category specific I’m not talking about “action sports”, or you know, bathing suits, or gowns. We don’t care about what category. We care that you’re an emerging brand, that you’re someone who does a million in sales or under in a year. And that you’re serious, it’s not like “I watched project runway and now I’m going to be a fashion designer and go be in fashion week San Diego”, you wouldn’t even make it through the paper application that’s why we have these applications.
Rob: So when people are putting out the application do they send a banking statement too?
Allison: No. [smiles] We’re not that hardcore but we do ask some sales numbers, we ask how many stores they’re in– what their revenue is, um, what current orders they have out in purchase orders, we do ask for that. And that’s pretty common in the industry that’s not anything– they have to be used to saying that. if they’re a true fashion brand, that’s what you want to talk about, it’s not a negative it’s actually very positive. So, that’s why we can easily screen people out. I can talk to someone for five seconds and know if they would be appropriate to put on the runway at fashion week or not. And it’s not because they’re not good enough, I really want to clarify, it’s not because they couldn’t hang. Our event– it’s on such a high level and the exposure is so high and the demand for what we’re asking of these designers is so high, it’s all professional barred excellence, we’re not creating anything that’s not abnormal but we play to that high professional game. So we want to make sure that the designers that come on board can do that. And do that comfortably. And be ready for it! the worst thing you can do is put somebody in a situation they can’t handle. In anything in life, right? So that’s really why we screen designers, not because what they make is not my aesthetic or I don’t like the clothing they create, that has nothing to do with it, that’s just opinion. It’s– can they handle the business opportunities that are going to come out of it and be able to run with that and take that and run and use it as a catalyst and a launching pad because that’s what we’re meant to do.
Rob: So you work with the best. Or the up and coming best.
Allison: The best of the up and coming, yes.
Rob: Before I got you sidetracked you mentioned one name–
Allison: Yeah!
Rob: One designer, Vaun– um–
Allison: VaughnBerry. He’s a local San Diego designer and he’s fantastic.
Rob: Okay. A couple of others?
Allison: Yeah, so he’s fantastic– this year’s tops designer was Balza. And she does beautiful gowns which are phenomenal and I could see her being another (unintelligible designer name) from Los Angeles and blowing up, um, she got more into (unintelligible) and that’s a whole different market. And then last year the winner designer and local, and this year’s 3rd place winning designer is (unintelligible designers name) and she’s fantastic because her style is polished, it’s gorgeous, but it’s ready to wear. Which means you don’t have to overthink about it, it’s not like you have to be like about, “Am I going to a high-end outfit?”
You can be like, “I like it, it fits good, I can wear this work, I can wear it to happy hour– I can wear it for this interview right now.”
Rob: Mhm and these three are from San Diego?
Allison: they’re all from San Diego. which is amazing, and the last one– I’m really impressed with her, constantly in awe and I think very highly of what she’s doing is (Taylor? unintelligible) and she does knitwear similar to what I’m wearing right now right here [points to her shirt]. This is called knitwear. And it’s very modern it’s very– knitwear is on the rise right now in fashion, women’s fashions especially. And she does it and it’s an art. it’s honestly like a lost art.
Rob: My mom would be proud of that. [makes a fist]
Allison: Yeah it’s a lost art and it’s on the rise. People who understand it greatly appreciate the work that goes into knitwear, because it’s something that really– it can be mass produced, it is mass produced– but it’s aesthetic is not that. It’s very much a handmade artisan piece of clothing, and Taylor (whit?) is local, she does that and she launched this year at fashion week San Diego and her momentum is just very high and if she keeps it going I wouldn’t be shocked to see a lot come from her.
Rob: What men’s fashion designers do you like currently?
Allison: Like, major labels, or?
Rob: Or that you are uh–
Allison: Working with?
Rob: Developing yeah, that you’re working with yeah.
Allison: Ohh– I would say Vaughnberry again. I go back to him and the reason why I think he is on the mark, so to speak, in menswear specifically to your question, is because he’s playing a lot with textiles that usually you don’t see in menswear. So if you’ve seen a little bit with fashion, and this is also a hot trend right now in fashion, is binary fashion. It’s kind of an “It” word that you’re hearing thrown around– binary fashion. And basically what it is, is its non-gender specific clothing so instead of going into the men’s section of the store or the female section of the store, it’s an anybody section. So a shirt that you could wear I could wear essentially.
Rob: It’s unisex.
Allison: It’s unisex. But unisex isn’t sexy. It doesn’t sound cool. Binary is you know, a little modern and progressive and funky. So it’s more– binary fashion is the key term. But his menswear is menswear but the textiles he’s using– for example, he’ll use silk and make a silk shirt. You never see men in silk shirts unless it’s like a bad 70’s polyester throwback costume party. I mean it’s not a commonly used thing.
Rob: I’m all for that though. I like women to be feminine and I want to be masculine you know?
Allison: And there’s nothing wrong with that! And he does too, he does too! And that’s the beauty of it. He’s not trying to make men look like women and he’s not trying to make women look like men he’s just using textiles and doing the same cut for a normal men’s shirt it just happens to be a really bomb silk or a really beautiful knitwear or tweed. Which tweed, you usually don’t see men in tweed jackets unless it’s like a smoking jacket and they’re going to go play polo or riding out in ya know England or something like that. It’s very iconic of that, but the way he’s using it is very modern very contemporary and very palpable so to speak where you would feel comfortable wearing it as and not as a man. That’s why I like him and that’s why he’s one to watch because even though he’s being modern and progressive he’s doing it in a very smart savvy way– where yes some of the pieces on the runway are going to shake up the envelope because that’s a runway show that’s meant to kind of shake things up and put on a little bit of an entertainment you know visual spectacular, but in general his pieces I think they’re very easy for people to buy and use and they’re done meticulously they’re beautiful.
Rob: I was going to ask– what is the most revolutionary thing happening in fashion right now? I mean I think about a few years back when Obama was president he was kind of shaking things up a little because he would appear for press briefings sometimes without a tie– and it was like “Oh!”
But you know like three or four decades ago, uh, what was that guy’s name again– he was affiliated with the Sex Pistols? And he or she had that London boutique called Sex. And they would deal with all those punk rock t-shirts you know with the ripped up shirts and they had started that whole fashion trend you know with the punk rock thing.
Allison: Punk rock is never dead. It’s always there, it’s always in fashion. [smiling]
Rob: Right, right, but it’s already happened.
Allison: it’s already happened.
Rob: What’s happening now that’s revolutionary according to what you’ve seen?
Allison: So, I’m going to go back a little bit to binary fashion. I think that’s very revolutionary, I think that’s a whole– I mean the thing about the industry right now– imagine if that catches on that’s going to be like whole department floors, different looking manikins, I mean this is big, and this is transiting in every area you are starting to see things that are very gender neutral and it also is showing that the times of transgender, and be people being different. Fashion reflects its mirror, fashion reflects the culture, so whenever there is shit going on politically you’re going to see fashion take that on, in music too! It’s all art, it’s all art! You’re going to see it in the graffiti art, from the song that’s playing on the corner to what the person is wearing. It’s completely a mirror of culture. So the binary fashion and being very– also with women’s empowerment and women having this big movement which I love, I would consider myself definitely a girl power, um, this is great because women are saying, “I don’t need to wear fucking’ a skirt, I don’t need to wear a dress, I can wear whatever I want to wear.”
So this plays to a lot of different cultural things happening with a broad stroke.
Rob: Binary fashion.
Allison: Yes.
Rob: It opens up more options for people.
Allison: Correct. I think it’s a very very big category and I think it could be something very big for the industry and it would a big change because it would effect–again, the whole industry. And for the consumer in use of it, it would be a huge game changer. For the other big trend I would say sustainable materials, and this is something that doesn’t catch on as quickly because it’s very costly, it’s not widely used, I mean it’s just very expensive still because it’s just not out there as much but, different fabrics that– for example there’s now leathers that are synthetic that are made out from mushrooms. And it’s incredible, and actually, Tesla just announced that they’re using their vegan leather in their cars. Um, so these alternative textiles are fantastic and they’re good for the ecosystem and the economy and just in general for the world. So sustainable fibers are good, along with sustainable fibers and kind of that area– they’re even making fiber from milk. Milk fiber. I mean theirs some really cool, cool stuff. even recycled plastics into textiles. I mean the eco-sustainable category of fashion is incredible and it’s very scientific but it’s very cost expensive and cost prohibitive that I would love to see that grow more because then it would become just common and relative and then more people can use it when they are launching their new line they’ll think of these fibers instead of maybe cotton. So, that’s something that hasn’t change, I mean 3D printing I would put in that category too that’s something else that was huge, and actually two years ago we were lucky to have the 3D printing collection in one of the developers from Paris fashion week show behind the scenes footage and guest speak at fashion week, San Diego, I can send you some names and lists and all that.
Rob: So they’re 3D printing clothes?
Allison: Mhm. All the garments, it was incredible, it was huge. But again, that came onto the scene blew up, and now it’s kind of quiet again. So this whole area has been something that has been on the rise and could be a huge game changer and it’s slowly but surely trying to do it. Organic textiles hit and that was good and that’s relative and you can find that everywhere now. But the sustainable fibers is really– I personally would love to see that become the big game changer. Slowly but surely it’s getting there but I’d like to see it more.
Rob: No fur?
Allison: No absolutely not, that’s just terrible.
Rob: Leather from animal skin?
Allison: That’s terrible too.
Rob: Raising animals just to slaughter them for their skin?
Allison: Yeah, it’s gross. it’s super fucking gross. Yeah, I’m a huge animal lover so it’s not– it’s not necessary. I mean I have heirlooms pieces from my grandmother you know some furs and stuff, and they’re sentimental, but I never– they just hang in my closet.
Rob: Do you think you’d go back there and talk to your grandmother (unintelligible)
Allison: [laughs] I don’t know. it was a different time period–
Rob: It was.
Allison: And things were different and the environment was different and things were used and well cared for and not just abused in some ways.
Rob: Well if you could sit down with some future industry giant, be it a model or a designer, what advice would you give? I mean if, you know– if you were gonna like talk to someone who was gonna be huge in the future, what would you say?
Allison: Oh! I would say everything that I say to my designers now and my models now, um, I would remind them just to be very aware, aware of everything, you know we try to be very mindful at fashion week and remember the bigger picture and I think that’s very important especially with obviously my passion points as usual– vegan and blah blah blah– but when you’re mindful of the world you live in you’re a better (unintelligible) of the world which in my opinion makes you a better business owner, and if you’re doing good business and if you’re doing things for the right reason then you will always make money and I believe that to my core, I’ve operated my whole business, I survived the recession, I started my business, I had 20– I couldn’t even go to a bar and order a drink and I’m here now, ya know? I’ve created a beautiful life for myself but I do everything for the right reason and it’s never been the paycheck. I’ve never woken up and said, “How much money am I going to get out of people today?”
It’s just not the game. It’s not the end game. So I think when I talk to people who want to get into fashion, remember when I said it’s the worlds largest employer– it’s a trillion dollar industry?
Rob: Everyone wants to get into fashion.
Allison: Some people want to get into it because they want the fast buck, right? They think oh, fashion! I’ll do shirts, I’ll make a shit ton of money and then I’ll get out and I’ll do something else. That’s not a good business. That’s not a good way to do business. So that shouldn’t be the big picture. You need to think farther, what are you doing? What is your contribution? I mean, at the end of the day if you are going to do anything for yourself, whether you’re a musician, an artist, a reporter an owner of a magazine, whatever you’re gonna do– What the fuck are you doing? Like, make it worth your time, like make your contribution something later that you can sit back and go, “Oh, that was awesome, I did that.”
Like, I went back and I think about all the brands and all the entrepreneurs I’ve been able to help and do something for and be a service to, and it’s incredible in just 10 years I’ve worked with over 100 plus brands and each of those brands are run by a designer or an entrepreneur like you and me and I’ve been able to hear their stories and their passion and be a part of that journey and that’s really special! You know, there are some people that wake up and they sit at a desk job every day doing the same medial task and not knowing what the larger impact is of what they’re doing is of what they’re doing. That is purgatory to me. Ya, know like, so at the end of the day if you’re gonna do something and if you’re gonna be in this industry and if you’re gonna be a model, and if you’re gonna be a designer or if you’re gonna develop a retail store or make a chain of retail stores, what is the big goal? What is the thing you’re trying to do? If you’re doing it because you think your hot and your a pretty face and your skinny and you just wanna make some money because you hear models make a lot of money and get to go to parties and have fun, probably not the best business plan you know? You might want to recheck that. because what happens if you get pregnant? What happens if you get in a car accident?

Rob: A lot of models do that, they don’t really care about the money, they aren’t living for the money a lot of them don’t even want to be paid, they just wanna have a good time and be a good model.
Allison: And that’s awesome, that’s awesome, but you should get paid too.
Rob: well yeah yeah. But I’ve met a few designers and seems like they’re not really like– they either have money or come from money or they got someone helping them out with money but they just want to do it because fashion is their passion.
Allison: It’s true. Passion is everything.
Rob: Yeah.
Allison: Passion is everything.
Rob: But, um, give me an example of mindfulness in the fashion business, I mean– like (unintelligible) there was somebody who was doing a class online (unintelligible) state prison.
Allison: That’s (unintelligible) that would be interesting, I’d love to sit in on that. [laughs]
Rob: Yeah. It would be educational for sure because I really uh– in fashion mindfulness would be exemplified by the big picture that you’re trying to develop a new fashion that is– you know, unisex or binary or–
Allison: I think there’s that too. I’m thinking of end goal when I say mindfulness, I’m talking about the big picture at the end of the line, because if you’re going to give your time and you’re going to work on something you should always go to what’s the end goal. And I always tell my clients and anybody in general when you are an entrepreneur and you start something off and you go to create, you automatically have two options at the end, you’re either going to sell it or you’re going to close it. Selling could be– your kid takes on the business or you get investors and you become publically traded or you hire a (unintelligible) and you just get a severance package and they run your company. But that’s all selling, right? We all know what selling looks like. Or you are closing. Closing is– I kept my fist tight, I didn’t work with anybody, I brought in new partners and now I’m old, I’m tired, I’m retiring, I’m closing my business. Or– I couldn’t make enough money– I didn’t develop it right, where you’ve run out of money and you have to close by default. So you know automatically going into starting something these are your two options, so knowing that you would probably want to be more on the selling, because who wants to start something just to close it? That just sounds very silly. So knowing that you want to be on the selling side of thing, what is the big picture of that? What are you doing? What is your legacy? What is the mindfulness behind this brand, you know? What’s the bigger picture? So depending on what your hot points are– if you’re somebody who– I’ll keep using my self as an example because it’s obvious because I have all of these (unintelligible). But, you know, for me– I’m vegan, I’m girl power, and I’m definitely a total hippie, I care about the environment– I’m totally the hippie my mom warned me about it’s hilarious.
Rob: Your mom wasn’t a hippie? [laughs]
Allison: No far from it. [laughs]
But I– you know, but I at the same time– I like nice things, I appreciate craftsmanship, I want a certain aesthetic in my life, but if I were to create a brand, right? Myself. If I were going to become a fashion designer, I would probably look at using sustainable fibers first of all, so whatever I could get my hands on I would start with that, and that’s how I would develop out my collection. From there I would probably work with a local manufacturer because that’s important to me. And I would want them to be you know fair employees, with breaks and lunches, and just a good business with a good work ethic.
Rob: (unintelligible)
Allison: Yeah, I don’t want little kids with missing fingers making my clothing, you know– getting paid 25 cents for the week, like that’s not going to fly with me. And I would probably hire a lot of women because I already do that which is my thing. And, you know I would work with a lot of women entrepreneurs to help me launch this because that’s why I would want to invest my money. And my brand would probably serve on women consumer, at some point in her life, where she needs whatever product I was trying to develop to fill a gap because there are so many options out there I don’t want to be another option I want to fill a gap, because it’s just– again, what are you doing? So for me, I would like developing out that business because I know I’m having an impact at each step of this evolution of this career of developing this fashion brand, I’m doing something that has a good effect for me and my value system, and for the bigger picture. Now everybody’s different and everybody has different goals, but if I can impart one thing, I always just tell people to think about the world they’re living in and others and try to be a good person at the end of– just be a fucking good person and be nice to people. you know, anyway, that’s the end of the day. So if you’re developing a business, develop the business with that in mind too, not just the money.
Rob: So mindfulness is being kind of big picture conscious and eyes on the prize and goal kind of oriented.
Allison: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Rob: Thank you.
Allison: I don’t know if anybody likes what I have to say, but that’s what I have to say!
Rob: And I’ve never heard that explained before so thank you for that.
Allison: Okay.
Rob: But um, you’re already planning fashion week 2018.
Allison: Yeah. It’s crazy. No downtime, no downtime, just rolls.
Rob: And it’s going to be downtown again, or you don’t know?
Allison: I don’t know I have a couple bids out to locations, and there’s one that I’m not going to lie I very very much want for it to be accepted and for us to meet in the middle and then everything will fall into place from there.
Rob: And does it have to be downtown? Could but in La Jolla?
Allison: No. It could be anywhere.
Rob: Rancho Sante Fe?
Allison: It could be anywhere. But I don’t think from our consumer and our audience– um I don’t think we will be back in La Jolla, we did that for two years and that was great and I think we are ready either to stay downtown or in neighborhoods um– but I don’t see us being in Rancho Sante Fe either.
Rob: Too out in the sticks? Nice place but just too far away.
Allison: [smiling] Mhmm. yeah.
Rob: Where were you in L.A.?
Allison: We closed Wall Street between (unintelligible st name) and (unintelligible street name) we closed a street and erected a stage and it was pretty amazing. It was incredible.
Rob: When I saw you, you had something going on at the one little corner sushi shop at the corner across from the Hard Rock? Remember that, you had a little show there? Remember that, was that 2010 when I was there?
Allison: Oh my gosh– so yeah, so remember how you were saying you know– before when I was a consultant I would do for my fashion brands little small fashion shows, so that was probably one of those little fashion shows.
Rob: C’mon!
Allison: They were great! Actually, the smaller fashion shows are a ball because they’re fast they’re furious they’re easy and you can just have a great time and low stress.
Rob: (unintelligible)
Allison: Yeah they’re great, I love those guys.
Rob: When are you going to do the next one? What is the next thing you’re planning?
Allison: Spring showcase will be the next one.

Rob: Oh really? That far out?
Allison: So we go dark– as far as events– we come off fashion week San Diego in October and we don’t do anything until about March. March– February/March we look at doing something. But then Spring showcase– that event is somewhere between March, April or May.
Rob: And where will that be?

Allison: I can’t tell you yet. [smiles]
Rob: You can’t huh? Oh okay. it’s a secret.
Allison: [nodding] See the thing about location I’ve found is if I give people options and if I say, “I’m thinking about this– I’m thinking about this– I’m thinking about this–”
It gives people preconceived notions of what they would prefer or what they think is better if you don’t say that and then I show you and you experience–
Rob: Yeah. And you don’t want to jinx it either.
Allison: No! Not right now.
Rob: Where is there anything you can tell us about it?
Allison: No.
Rob: Nothing?
Allison: No.
Rob: Okay.
Allison: [laughs hearitly]
Rob: Other than it’s a Spring fashion thing–
Allison: So spring (unintelligible) I can tell you about. Spring (unintelligible) is really rad we’ve done this for the last couple years it’s a newer event in the fashion week San Diego kind of offerings of our events and it’s where we announce and showcase all of the designers of that year we show one look by them, so it’s fast, so instead of seeing these long collections come out you’re just seeing one model, one look, and it’s kind of like a taster where you can really quickly go, “Oh I kind of like that designer.”
Or, “Oh you know that’s not for me.”
Or, “Ooh I love what they’re doing.”
And it’s fun, it’s fast, it’s one night– and it basically takes the whole runway week of the year and smashes it into one night, so usually we have a smaller runway stage, we show one look, we have some type of entertainment going on– something interesting from–
Rob: Maybe a DJ?
Allison: We always have DJs, we love our DJs. We love bands, we always have good music. But when I say entertainment sometimes we’ll have like an amazing opera singer, or we’ll have like Cirque du Soleil performers, or we’ll have a rock and roll band that’s pretty well known. Or something cool locally, that’s stimulating– that’s extra entertainment for that night that’s not just the fashion.
Rob: Right.
Allison: Then around the venue what we’ll have is all of the designers that are participating that year will have a booth. And the reason why we started this event instead of having a full runway week in the Spring is because nobody knows these emerging brands right? They’re emerging brands. They’re emerging, which means they’re not household names. So it’s really important that our consumer gets to know these brands and interacts with them and develops a relationship with them whatever that looks like. So by the time we get to the October runway shows you already have some familiarity with what you’re about to see and you might even have your favorites and the ones you don’t like that’s awesome that’s what fashion is about, it’s like eating food. We could go to a restaurant and have the same meal and I love it and you hate it fashion is the same way that’s what makes it interesting and creates a dialogue and a good buzz and all that. So by Spring showcase announcing and showing the one look on the runway then having the designers there to interact with– it’s a fantastic event, I love Spring showcase.
Rob: And that will be in March?
Allison: It will either be March, April or May. We do it in one of those months. Springtime. May is a little late but it has been in May before.
Rob: And you will announce it on your website by January you think?
Allison: Yeah. I like to have most of the details locked down by for the year in January so when we are in January or February we can be announcing what’s coming and still calling for designers. But currently, right now my biggest priority is interviewing and starting to get the designers– people who are interested in participating next year. I’d like to get that dialed in before we get into January.
Rob: Okay. And your talent prospects can reach you at SDfashionweek.com?
Allison: FashionweekSD.com!
Rob: FashionweekSD.com. [looking at camera] Remeber that guys.
Allison: Our trademark is FashionweekSD.
Rob: Okay, that’s right you gotta put the fashion week first.
Allison: That’s right.
Rob: Um, well great, thank you very much!
Allison: Thank you for the time.
Rob: Thank you for everything and uh, yeah I appreciate your time here. And I look forward to seeing–
Allison: Hope you guys like it! [laughs]
(unintelligible something about entertaining]
Rob: You were very entertaining and informative, thank you. So we’re looking forward to seeing what you have cooking for 2018.
Allison: I am too! I don’t even really know what it’s going to look like yet, it’s fun for me! It’s still in the works. [laughs]


Fashion Week San Diego grand catwalk.

Allison Andrews Talks Fashion Week San Diego from Reviewer on Vimeo.

You must be logged in to post a comment.