Community is key for VFILES—the online hub of social connection and editorial content that sheds light on relevant and emerging talent in the world of fashion and culture. This is exemplified by the fact that all four featured designers in their upcoming VFILES Made Fashion show (11 February 2015) were selected from their online community by the VFILES editorial team and a group of mentors. And while the organization has consistently put on exciting shows at attention-grabbing venues downtown, this year marks a milestone: VFILES will open NYC’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, marking the final time NYFW will be hosted at this venue. Despite any criticism the venue has received, it still offers the largest platform possible for a production sourced entirely online—including the stylists, hair, make up and models. To get a better sense of the gravity of the show, we spoke with VFILES founder Julie Anne Quay about what we can expect and how the platform has grown since its inception in 2012.
On the motivation for the downtown to uptown shift, Quay tells CH, “No matter what anyone says about fashion week and the tents, it is still legitimate and a big deal.” Not only does this represent a big step, it also holds true to a VFILES principle: “We are down to step on territory that maybe we shouldn’t be stepping on. A lot of people in our community were like, ‘Are you kidding?’ But we are also showing young designers and we need to have a really good runway. That was my first thing: really good lighting and a really good runway.” And that’s what Quay—and the VFILES team—secured. “VFILES is very much like a sports team. We approach things from an athletic perspective. This is like playing in the Super Bowl. It’s saying, ‘We are actually going to step up and play with you guys.'”
With such a stage, Quay and her team of editors and mentors had a specific mission regarding this year’s crop of talent. “We were seeking excitement, likability—things that we like that carry commercial strength. I think one thing about this generation and VFILES in itself, is that we understand it has to be commercial.” Quay is interested in the business of fashion and encouraging users to be their own brand and create their own businesses. Things that look good on the runway, and then sell, directly impact this desire—and strengthen the community as a whole.
As for the show, “People can expect a lot of energy, a lot of color and a lot of enthusiasm. The clothing will also feature interesting shapes. There are a couple of designers who do different geometric shapes. But the keyword, the theme of our show, is fashion is fun.” Even before models take the runway, DJ and record producer A-Trak will be providing music. As soon as doors open the experience begins. Two New York-based labels, an Australian design team, and one Zurich-based designer will present. Drawing inspiration from the street scene of post-Soviet Russia, XIMONLEE will unveil high fashion for men. Exciting, eccentric DI$COUNT UNIVER$E will offer up pops of color. Silhouettes and fabric techniques will warp under Andrea Jiapei Li‘s vision. And geometry with an edge will define Julia Seemann’s work.
Quay has spent most of her professional career on set at shoots. “There’s just this incredible sense of teamwork and fraternity and passion for fashion, and doing good things together. I want to bring that to this show. I want to celebrate that. We want to encourage the team element—and VFILES is a team. We put on this show with young designers, with their own team and their own support. We are capable of showing what’s done. Fashion is changing, there is no glass ceiling—with the internet and access to production and the availability of information, you can be your own brand right out of the gate,” she concludes. And with a platform like VFILES Made Fashion opening the stages of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, Quay is right. A powerful creative community can take its users from the internet to the premier stage.
VFILES Made Fashion show will occur on 11 February 2015
Images courtesy of VFILES