Monday, April 26, 2010

StyleWeek Providence. Yes, Rhode Island.

Over the years I have lived in many states, cities, and towns. Some still have a special place in my heart, like Colorado and New York, but in the end of the day, I call my home Rhode Island. Over the years I have recognized the beauty of Rhode Island and the culture that Providence has to offer. Sure, it's the size of my pinkie, but don't be fooled, this little state packs a big punch.

Many people know of the Rhode Island School of Design, aka RISD. RISD churns out some amazingly creative and talented artists, fashion designers, textile designers, and so much more. However, there is a new wave of fashion coming to Rhode Island, and Providence is ready to show it's stuff.

I recently received an email from my mother who forwarded the monthly newsletter from RI Monthly magazine about what's going on in the state for Summer. She sent it to me with the note "Check out Style Week!" Wait, what? Style Week? In Providence? Sure enough, it's true, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I went on their website, and contacted the founder, Rosanna Ortiz Sinel who has quite a colorful resume featuring fashion PR and fashion writing.

Rosanna took some time to chat with me about the event and below is some more information on how StyleWeek Providence came to be and what to expect.

KickinKate: How exciting to hear about a StyleWeek in Providence! Can you tell me how this came about?
Rosanna: I have been a freelance fashion and style writer for some time- so I would cover other fashion weeks in the area. When I moved to Providence I didn't realize what an amazing city it is- how convenient, accessible and creative! So, it just made sense to develop a fashion week with Providence as the canvas, not only showcasing Rhode Island designers but national ones who are established but not yet mainstream. I wanted to produce a fashion week that was about the commerce of fashion- a week that is taken seriously and is open to the editors, press and people who are serious about fashion and who legitimately care about these designers futures.

KK: Was this an effort? I imagine in any city it takes a lot of work, and convincing, to get everyone on board.
R: Oh definitely!! When I initially came up with the idea I was thinking four days max. However, after learning that so many people were interested in seeing this grow, we had to make it a full seven days. You do come across many trials and tribulations during the planning process but it was something that the city of Providence really wanted to see happen. The city of Providence and the Mayor have been our biggest advocate as well as the people of the city; they want to see something new and fresh. So, to answer your questions, yes it's a lot of work to coordinate, but well worth it!

KK: People must be excited about this. There hasn't been anything like this in Providence before. Are you getting a good response from the community?
R: Oh my gosh, the response has been tremendous! It really touches my heart that so many people are so excited about this. I was not expecting this to become as extensive as it has. I really wanted to help make the city of Providence flourish and get some talent noticed. I didn't realize that it was going to be welcome with such open arms on a community level. One thing I must say about Providence is that there are some amazing, talented and real people in this city. I am simply amazed and can't say thank you enough.

KK: That is SO nice to hear! It's such a small state and there are some struggles, especially most recently with the extremely high unemployment rate and then getting hit with the recent debilitating flood. But, Rhode Island is strong and resilient and people are ready to push forward, move on and get back to life. StyleWeek Providence is a step in doing that!!

KK: How are you spreading the word?
R: When I first presented the idea I immediately signed on with Miamore Communications. They are a boutique PR firm which has really helped in building the StyleWeek brand. I actually now work for them! We promote a lot through social networking- follow them on Twitter at @styleweekprov- and have partnered with Rhode Island Monthly as our print media sponsor. We have also been covered by the Rhode Show and will be partnering with a new internet platform called GoLocal Prov which launches this week. Much of the buzz about the event has been by word of mouth- you can never underestimate how far that goes!

KK: You are highlighting independent designers, which I love. I feel like all of the talent out there is undiscovered. How did you go about finding the designers to be part of the event?
R: When I was covering other fashion weeks in the region I picked up some great designers who I thought would benefit from StyleWeek Providence. However, I must say that many of them found us. After I would sign a designer, there would be recommendations and so forth. It was important to me that the designers showing had the technical skill and image that we would want to see at Bergdorf's or Nortdstrom. So, I interviewed each designer and had to see their line ( if I didn't know it already) before we designated them a spot on the lineup. I must say, the designers we have in our show are nothing short of breathtaking.

KK: Are there any particular designers that you are really loving?
R: This is such a hard question! Honestly, there is something in each designer's collection that I would wear. It honestly is like picking a favorite child! I can't because they are all fascinating and bring amazing creativity to the table. I don't have a favorite, but David Chum for Selah D'or brings a unique edge to his look that I go crazy for. Nirva Derbekyan has my favorite separates. Jonathon Peters and his exaggerated collars- amazing! Maya Luz has a sophisticated rock look that I can see being my next favorite craze!

KK: You have a fashion PR background and also a background in fashion writing. What is your role in this event?
R: That's a good question! There are not many people on our staff so we continuously wear many hats! I am basically just the Executive Director and Producer of the event. I work with the logistics, designers, buyers, sponsors and press and make sure that this will be one of the best weeks that Providence has seen in a long time. Honestly, my job is nothing without my team. These people have worked so hard to help me make this happen.

KK: Do you plan on doing this twice a year, like NYFW, or is this an annual event?
R: This is the magic question. I have been toying with this questions for months now. What I want for StyleWeek Providence is to be a twice a year event, focusing on the seasons like New York. We are going to have to see, however this will most definitely happen again in June 2011. You never know though, stay tuned for January!

I am really looking forward to StyleWeek Providence. I will be covering it on the blog, so even though you may not be there, you can envision! StyleWeek Providence will be held June 6th- June 12th. For more on the schedule of events, click here.

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