The Fashion Statement: What are These Guys Doing in Fashion?
What is the "Fashion Capital of the World," you ask? Paris? New York? Mayor Bloomberg is leaving nothing up to chance.
This week, the New York Mayor (pictured above with Diane von Furstenberg) announced six initiatives to give the $55 billion industry a boost. After a yearlong look study, the city is starting an NYC Fashion Fund to help emerging designers get capital and support services. Another initiative, Project Pop-up, will be an annual competition to promote and foster new and unique retail concepts. The New York City Fashion Draft will recruit fashion students to get into fashion management. Fashion Campus NYC will offer business seminars to summer interns led by industry executives. New York City Fashion Fellows will honor 30 rising stars in fashion business (the business side of the business often gets overshadowed by the creative side in award ceremonies). Finally, there will be a Designer as Entrepreneur program that will help emerging designers with the business side of things by teaching them how to draft business plans, their financial management and how to participate in e-commerce.
Whew! It's a lot to take in. We can only hope it helps New York's Garment District that has been decimated by production going overseas.
Meanwhile, bizarre fashion news coming out of California. YouTube's CEO is quitting his day job to join the fashion world. The fashion world! Forbes is reporting that Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube who along with partners sold the company to Google for $1.65 billion in 2006, is stepping down to work full-time on his menswear line.
Hlaska (a cross between Hawaii and Alaska) is what the line is called and it's comprised stuff Silicon Valley techies can wear to work. Pieces like button-down shirts, leather messenger bags, laptop covers, etc. There are already Hlaska stores in Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Jose with more are being planned for Los Angeles, Austin and New York in 2011.
On the randomness of it all, Hurley told Forbes: "We make wallets, bags and shirts we'd want to see sold in stores. In that sense it's exactly like YouTube. We wanted something that wasn't available, so we built it ourselves."
I can't quite see a Silicon Valley exec setting the fashion world on fire, but I'll reserve judgment. After all, years ago I wouldn't have thought Silicon Valley would play any role in enabling my shoe habit.