An Interview with Allison Andrews
By Aubree Lynn
Walking up with her cute fedora hat, peep toe wedges and cuffed shorts, a hue of red on her lips and a personality as big as the hug she gave me Allison Andrews was ready for her interview. Not only is Andrews a resident of Mission Hills but her company APA Consulting is also out of this fabulous little town. I was not the only one seeking out the founder and director of Fashion Week San Diego on this warm day in July, but Good Magazine’s founder Omarr Olasewere and team were there too. For Andrews this was a morning of interviews and with the first question asked by yours truly she was ready to go.
AL: What is in your background that gave you the experience and contacts to do this?
AA: I have worked in retail and fashion over 15 years. I did Mercedes Fashion Week and El Paseo. I have been a guest of Fashion Weeks. All experience is valid if you are eager. I reached out to publicists, show rooms and contacts to collaborate, keeping a good relationship with all you meet helps.
AL: What type of skill set do you need to do this type of project?
AA: Being extremely organized, diligent, good work ethics and being a hard worker. Mostly organization with execution when there are a million things going on it is like “the fastest moving train, keep up and stay ahead of it.” You can’t just love fashion you have to be a business person and financial planning is key. It’s important to respect colleagues. In being the middle person it is my job to be helpful, resourceful and keeping good rapport with all I meet in the field.
AL: How large is your team and how long does it take to prepare for this? How much money as well?
AA: There are two of us myself and Amie. We do have over 300 volunteers and 15 interns who each have a particular area that they cover and become an expert on. Everyone is equally as critical as the whole support system including Bellus Academy (hair and make-up), Modeling Training Center (models), Sleeping Giant (music), they are all a part of the team. Goods Magazine, Raw, Mahal Style and EQ Culture, to name a few are in good support. “Without their sliver of the pie we would be missing the whole part of the pie.” And I use my own money and ticket sales. I am lucky to break even in the end.
AL: Why has there been no Fashion Week since 2008?
AA: The economy highly affected it. It would have been insensitive to pull an event off and put that kind of pressure on the community, showing couture clothing when no one would be able to afford it. People were still contacting us to be involved with FWSD when we started it back up and that was great motivation.
AL: How did you select the designers?
AA: It was a process. The designers were looked at to make this a career not a hobby. A full collection is expected to take to market, orders of buyers and shows. Calling boutique’s and stores, to see if they will sell their clothing. Designers have to be ready for it in the business and design aspect. At the end of the day they have bragging rights that they were the best in the city. This Fashion Week can really make or break the designers.
AL: What should we expect from this year’s Fashion Week that will differ from 2008?
AA: Proudly to say we have plus size clothing this year. We have men’s and women’s clothing. With emerging designers, emerging trends in fashion, there’s a demand and it’s not LA or NY Fashion Week. Our runway is double the size and our production is tripled compared to FWSD 2008. It’s going from good to great. There are also two accessory (jewelry) designers who each have their own runway show.
AL: Why San Diego? Do you think it is changing in this town where fashion will be appreciated like LA?
AA: This statement is wrong. Fashion is not appreciated in LA. LA’s fashion fans are looking elsewhere, from streaming online runways and jet setting to other cities to see fashion. I believe we will be pulling some interest from LA to SD and we will be placed with more value than Los Angeles Fashion Week. San Diego is not LA or NY and that’s what is, a great opportunity. The industry will get it, SD might not.
AL: What is the age range for this year’s Fashion Week?
AA: It is diverse, sponsors are established and with larger companies. This show is a 21 and up only event, that will target ages 21-65. Designers are diverse in sexual preference, race and size. “This is not a party it is an exclusive, high end, quality event.”
AL: At the end of the last show what do you want to feel, what do you want the designers to feel, what do you want the audience to feel?
AA: I want to have a glass of champagne and cheers!! There is so much emotion involved, blood, sweat, tears, anger, excitement, frustration. At the end of the night I will feel exhilarated, proud and appreciated.
Designers, “I am ready for the next day, I am in the right place, really happy I took the risk and trusted myself”
Audience, “I can’t wait for next year, glad I came and this is the best event I have seen in San Diego.”
It’s no wonder why Allison was nominated by “San Diego Business Journal” in 2009 for the Women Who Mean Business award. With just the short time I was with her I was inspired, determined and understood why the Lady behind Fashion Week San Diego could pull such an event and still have more to give.
Special thanks to Allison and Amie for letting me intrude on their Sunday morning.
October 1st-7th lands this event. Get your tickets at www.fashionweeksd.com and for $10 off general admission use promo code: style.
Category: Life Style