Style X extends its reach, promises more international fashion and pop-up shopsduring SXSW 2012
First-attempt events are often met with mixed reviews and a future full of growing pains. But according to Co-founder and Executive Producer Joah Spearman, one of the best compliments Style X received — the fashion showcase/newcomer to the SXSW family — was that last year's inaugural event "didn't look and feel like a first year event."
However, that confidence doesn't mean that Style X hasn't tried to improve upon 2011's fledgling business model. In preparation for the 2012 installment, Style X has doubled the size of its team and already signed on twice as many emerging fashion brands for showcases and pop-up shops.
"We've tripled our outreach to designers through connections with key local influencers in cities like New York, London and San Francisco," Spearman told CultureMap. He and Co-founder Jon Pattillo traveled to both London and New York Fashion Week this year and are poised for a trip to Japan to pluck more international up and comers — a far cry from what could be done in the 10 weeks the team had to prepare for Style X last year.
These great efforts have brought in a visibly stronger roster for 2012. Australia's Zanerobe marks the improvement in quality and relevancy to the SXSW market, in particular. Their collection is known for its workmanship and masculinity, but also for its clear musical influences; a daily blog of inspiring art and music is prominent on the clothing line's photography-heavy website.
Despite the fact that SXSW tends to skew younger, hipper (and generally drunker) as a whole, Style X is making an effort to bridge generational gaps by including national fashion accessory retailer (for women of all ages) Charming Charlie, which will serve as the Official Fashion Accessories Partner of the showcase. In 2010, CEO Charlie Chanaratsopon was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the company's growth in the retail industry.
"We want to create an awesome second year of Style X," Spearman says. "We're not trying to make this event look like it jumped from the moon to Mars in one year. We want it to grow organically, appropriately and dynamically."
It's probably safe to say that attendees will be impressed by what they'll see at this year's Style X in comparison to last — especially if Spearman and Pattillo take full advantage of the concurrent SXSW music conference. More often than not, fashion and music have a symbiotic relationship, so here's hoping the two work together to earn style a long-term place in the SXSW kingdom.
SXSW continues to attract new designers and applications can be submitted through January 31, 2012 here.