By Yuwa Vosper
While the fashion industry is traveling around the world to view designer collections, Baton Rouge offers you a front row seat to watch designers display their talents. Oneofakind Baton Rouge Fashion Week will begin Wednesday, Feb. 25 with a visit to Country Day School and a Preview Mixer. Throughout the week, guests can expect not only to preview runway collections, but also experience fine dining and pampering by local businesses.
Founder and executive producer Brandon D. Campbell explained how their first year brought designers and models from all over the country. Campbell noticed how Oneofakind Baton Rouge Fashion Week was making an impact and decided to expand the event to include five events in four days from three events in three days.
“I could see the excitement and growth and how people wanted to get involved,” said Campbell.
However, it was his love for the Baton Rouge area that ignited the desire to begin a fashion event in the city. Campbell often traveled to the area while working as a fashion, entertainment and live events producer for major corporations including E! Entertainment, Style Network, and WWE. He quickly began to enjoy the people and culture of Baton Rouge, and began reaching out to Baton Rouge city officials about starting a fashion week event. Soon, they were laying the groundwork for the first OBRFW held at Capitol Park museum.
“Some designers lack the budget to show at New York Fashion Week and I wanted to create an avenue for young designers to get involved in fashion,” said Campbell. “You don’t necessarily need a name and a brand but it is about starting where you are. You can become something right here in Baton Rouge.”
Campbell hopes the event cultivates young designers and helps spark local fashion talent.
One of these local talents is Louisiana State University student Victoria Cleveland, who interns with OBRFW as the fashion team lead coordinator. As a fashion student at LSU, she plans to use her experience in furthering her career goals as a fashion designer.
“I plan on being a designer, so working with the fashion department has allowed me to learn how to properly coordinate fashion shows and what to expect when being featured in the show as a designer,” Cleveland said. “Also, since I aspire to be a designer, it pushes me to work hard to make this experience a great one for all designers that are featured.”
OBRFW will feature a For Kids by Kids fashion event on Feb. 26 produced by children and featuring children’s clothing from Gap Kids, Refinery Kids, and Ms. Smitty. On Friday, Feb. 27, there will be the new BARE event, which is a “natural” fashion show, meaning models are featured wearing no makeup. The show is intended to highlight individual beauty. Among the many clothing labels that will be featured are Frock Candy, Impeccable Pig, JuJu’s, and participating designers.
The big event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 28 hosted by fashion personality Igor Matkovic, with several designers showcasing new spring/summer collections and 70 models walking the runway – including OBRFW 2014 Model of the Year and Baton Rouge resident Faith Laureless.
To create and organize such an elaborate event, Campbell draws on his professional experience.
“I love live events,” he said. “It can feel like the Superbowl when producing it.”
However, Campbell credits the team of people around him for helping promote and foster his vision.
“It’s about the people,” he said. “You are only as good as the people you work with and sometimes it is not about the résumé, but the passion and the drive of the individual.” Cleveland is one member of his team that values her role. She does not underestimate the importance of the designer and is key in getting them prepared.
“In essence, if the designers aren’t prepared for fashion week we would be missing a vital part of the events,” Cleveland said. “If there are no fashion designers we have no fashion.”