THE MAN OF THE MOMENT IS THE CREATOR AND FOUNDER OF FASHION X, THE PREMIER “FASHION WEEK” IN TEXAS
There is Milan, London and New York Fashion Week, but in Houston, the 4th largest city in America, fashion week is called FASHION X HOUSTON AT RIVER OAKS DISTRICT, a prestigious event for Texas fashion royalty that features new collections from Global and promising emerging designers. October is the month and River Oaks District the destination, with the grand premiere on October 4th. Three days of runways, street fashion, parties and the perfect excuse to update your wardrobe, my experience last year was incredible, but I definitely want to know what to expect this year, which is why I wanted to meet MATT SWINNEY – Creator and Founder of the FASHION X brand.
Matt, tell us about your beginnings in the fashion industry. How did you know you wanted to work in fashion?
I actually had no background in fashion. I came from the events/magazine industry where I started a handful of large-scale events in Austin. In 2009, I saw an opportunity for a Fashion Week style concept in Austin and started it really as a business venture. Over the last decade, I’ve certainly come to love the fashion business, but it’s been because of the people – not because I had a specific passion for it when I started.
Who are some of your favorite designers? And who is your fashion icon?
This kind of goes back to me not being a huge fashion person. While there are many big label brands that I like, the reality is that I much prefer working with small, emerging designers. The vast majority of my closet is filled with League of Rebels, Ross Bennett, Mysterious by NPN and others. On the bigger brand side, I’m a fan of John Varvatos, Armani, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren. I’m not sure I really have a fashion icon and if I did, they would be women who I think are incredibly stylish – and they’d be the obvious classics – Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly, women from that era.
What’s your “go-to” source for industry/fashion news and trends?
I don’t study trends. To be honest, my perspective on fashion is, “If you like it, wear it. If you don’t, don’t.” I don’t much care for what’s “on-trend” – to me fashion is incredibly personal and what a person chooses to wear shouldn’t be judged by me or anyone else. My job is to help evaluate fashion designers and their point of view and then give them a platform to express their creations. For industry news, I really pay the closest attention to Business of Fashion.
What is Fashion X?
We’re a large-scale runway production company providing platforms to connect emerging designers to end consumers. Our focus thus far has been in Texas – specifically Austin, Dallas, and Houston.
How did Fashion X come about?
We began with Austin Fashion Week in 2009. It really started as an opportunity to bring local designers together in one format allowing the general public to see what it meant to be an “Austin Fashion Designer.” After a couple of years, we expanded our vision to provide opportunities for emerging designers throughout the US. Ultimately, we built Austin Fashion Week into a very important event showcasing highly curated emerging designers. Expansion seemed like a no-brainer and we launched in Dallas in 2014 and Houston in 2016.
What is it like creating a modern Fashion Week and then seeing it grow into such an exponential event?
It’s my non-human child. It’s amazing to look out at every event we do and continue to be blown away by what we see on the runway and then the success of those designers that have the opportunity to show. It’s a very proud moment every single time it happens.
Did you expect the event to be a huge success that it is?
I don’t know that I had expectations nine years ago. My expectation was to build a financially successful event and to provide a high-quality platform for local designers. We clearly did that and now it’s a matter of seeing how far we can continue to push that agenda.
What are you most excited for during this years’ Fashion X Houston?
I’m always excited to work with our honorees (we call them Style Setters). The women we’re honoring this year all have such an amazing sense of style and they’re incredibly philanthropic. It’s always an honor to get to know those women on a more personal level. I’m also excited to see shows that normally don’t happen at a regional level – through our partnership with River Oaks District, we’ll have shows from Etro, Canali, Stella McCartney and some other major luxury labels – something that’s really pushing what those brands normally do. I’m honored that they trust us and our partnerships to allow us to help steward their brands.
What advice would you give to the next generation looking to pursue a career of any sort in fashion?
My advice is always to be perseverant. Fashion is an incredibly difficult industry to make a mark in. If it’s something you’re passionate about, don’t let failure run you away – because you’re pretty much guaranteed to fail at some point in this industry.
FASHION X HOUSTON AT RIVER OAKS DISTRICT RETURNS WITH
HIGH-END RUNWAY SHOWS TO BENEFIT LOCAL CHARITIES
HOUSTON 2018 – Fall fashion will kick off in style on Thursday, October 4 through Saturday, October 6 with Fashion X Houston at River Oaks District. The three-night runway show with emerging and established Houston-based designers will include season winners and All-Stars from Lifetime Television’s hit show “Project Runway.”
The outdoor runway presentation on Thursday will spotlight fall’s hottest fashion trends with looks from River Oaks District’s glittering portfolio of luxury brands, including Akris, Alice + Olivia, Canali, Eres, Etro, Kiton, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney.
Friday and Saturday’s runway shows will feature collections from emerging and established designers from Houston and beyond, including “Project Runway” winner and local favorite Chloe Dao, and Dallas-based ethical designer Abi Ferrin, among others. On these nights, Global Fashion will also present runway shows by Pakistani designers Erum Khan, Rana Noman and more.
Proceeds from each night will be donated to the event’s VIP Style Setters’ local Houston nonprofits of choice. The festivities will continue at select retailers at River Oaks District feature fall trend presentations and in-store events, while The Gallery, a curated space filled with pop-up shops, will offer the latest from local accessories designers.
“We are thrilled to once again partner with Fashion X Houston in creating a one-of-a-kind event that not only showcases iconic styles from our prestigious brands but also spotlights the talents of local fashion designers,” said Jennifer Rivera, marketing manager of River Oaks District. “Support from these three evenings will make a significant impact in the important work of our Houston nonprofits and we are honored to make that possible.”
“Our partnership with River Oaks District allows for an incredible opportunity to provide a highly-anticipated fashionable and charitable experience on a grand scale,” said Matt Swinney, founder of the Fashion X brand. “With its array of first-class retailers and restaurants, we are excited to return to River Oaks District and bring glamour into the everyday lives of Houston men and women.”
Confirmed designers, Style Setters, and charities include:
Thursday, October 4:
- On the Runway: Fall fashion looks from River Oaks District retailers Akris, Alice + Olivia, Canali, Eres, Etro, Kiton, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney.
- Lori Raijman has used art throughout her life as a vehicle in helping others express their voice. She is the founder of The Arts of Healing, a nonprofit organization that utilizes physicians’ art to raise money and awareness for various diseases. The Arts of Healing fall art exhibition will be held November 8, 2018, at River Oaks District to benefit The American Lung Association.
- Vivian Wise is a style icon and philanthropist, who owned and operated Velvet Slipper, a retail shoe, clothing, and fine jewelry boutique before turning her attention to Heart of Fashion, a celebration of creativity, art and design, using the runway as a platform to help humanity. She has chosen to support Texas Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to utilize a portion of the proceeds from Heart of Fashion ticket sales and charitable donations to support various causes.
Friday, October 5:
- On the Runway: Full collections by Chloe Dao, Miles David, Shusi, B. Freedom, Maryam Khizer, Silk Threads by Ruby Bhandari, Varun Bahl, Bridal Motif and MODChic with capsule collections by Amberleaf, Deanna Gayle, Dappled, Alexandria Lee, Ronica Marie Couture, and Valerie Garmino.
- Donae Chramosta is a wife, mother, and philanthropist known in Houston as, “The Vintage Contessa” for outfitting Houstonians in the finest luxury goods and has dedicated her life to supporting those around her. Proceeds from this night will benefit Crime Stoppers of Houston, a non-profit dedicated to public safety and the protection of society’s most vulnerable citizens.
Saturday, October 6:
- On the Runway: Full collections by Mysterious by NPN, Abi Ferrin, Bentley & Lace, Modish & Swank, Erum Khan, Rana Noman, Travis Cal Styles, and Nava with capsule collections by Amberleaf, Amyra, H&H Designs, and Valerie Garmino.
- Alicia Smith is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and volunteer who has been honored by many organizations for her influence, style and contributions to the community. She has chosen to support SBP, a nonprofit dedicated to disaster resilience and recovery, with a mission to shrink the time between disaster and recovery.
Fashion X Houston will feature in-store events Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with participating stores offering special promotions and treats, including:
- Akris: Preview the Fall/Winter 2018 collection while sipping a complimentary Partida Tequila Paloma cocktail Thursday.
- Amorino Gelato: Enjoy complimentary kids-size treats of Amorino’s artisanal gelato Thursday and Friday.
- Baanou: Celebrate at the Social Graces Social Club for an evening of cocktails and fashion with complimentary frosé and light bites. Enjoy a sneak peek of Baanou’s fall fashion show with Social Graces Social Club.
- Bonobos: Enjoy a complimentary gift with purchase and light bites while you shop.
- Davidoff of Geneva: Enjoy complimentary embossing or engraving in-store with purchase as well as a complimentary Macallan tasting.
- Diptyque: Delight in a new collection, Bazaar of 34, and create your own sachet inspired by the new L’Elide candle. Enjoy a complimentary specialty cocktail from Partida Tequila.
- Equinox: Enjoy complimentary mini facials and 25 percent off any spa service, an exclusive to first-time visitors only.
- Giuseppe Zanotti: Sip complimentary cocktails and a gift with any purchase of $800 or more.
- Intermix: Enjoy complimentary rose and macarons and enter to win a $250 gift card while shopping the latest fall trends on Thursday.
- Jo Malone: Enjoy a specialty cocktail and complimentary Deluxe Gift set with purchase.
- John Hardy: Enjoy a complimentary gift with purchase and a cocktail while you shop.
- L’Occitane: Enjoy 20 percent off when you spend $100 or more, with complimentary mini-facials all day.
- Moncler: Discover the 2 Moncler 1952 collection, a classic reinterpreted with pop colors, while enjoying a complimentary cocktail.
- NARS: Enjoy complimentary braids from the pop-up braid bar and 15-minute mini-glam sessions while sipping on mimosas.
- Oliver Peoples: Enjoy a complimentary cocktail while you shop.
- Planet Blue: Enjoy a complimentary henna tattoo and specialty cocktail while you shop at Planet Beauty’s latest Fall/Winter 2018 trends.
- Roller Rabbit: Enjoy a “Mommy and Me” boho-inspired jewelry making station with a specialty cocktail for Mommy and a fruit mocktail for the little one.
- Saint Bernard Sports: Enjoy local beers on tap, Champagne, wine and espresso while shopping.
- Theory: Shop every day during Fashion X Houston for a special offer on select items.
- Venetian Nail Salon: Enjoy any service over a $50 value and receive a complimentary $15 Venetian gift card Thursday and Friday.
- Vilebrequin: Enjoy cocktails compliments of Partida Tequila and a complimentary reusable water bottle with any purchase of $350 or more.
- Vince: Enjoy complimentary Champagne and light bites.
- Cos: Enjoy 10 percent off any purchase Thursday.
In-store events are scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., runway show registration and VIP lounge open at 6:30 p.m. and runway shows start at 8 p.m. Front-row seats are available now and may be purchased for $250. Individual tickets will be sold on a first-come, first, serve basis for $75 and standing room tickets for $35. To purchase tickets, please visit houston.fashionx.co.