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Underground Fashion . . . With Style

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, October 09, 2007, at 09:55AM
At The Standard Ed Fuentes

In two days, our city will be outfitted as a community ensemble and take part in an underground movement to change Downtown's image from garment manufacturing workhorse, or a fashion accessory for a photo shoot, to a center of fashion and style.

At The Standard Hotel in Downtown L.A., quiet frantic is being served in controlled happy hour portions. Planners for Fashion Week are using the hotel as their clubhouse while coordinating three days of fashion designers, art installations, film screenings and of course parties. The success of their first Downtown Fashion Week in March brought a response much like that of a designer with a successful runway show: It made a splash.

Back in March, Fashion Week placed Downtown on the radar of the national fashion press, yet organizers Peter Gurnz, Gary Warfel and Brady Westwater are intent on keeping the spirit of an underground event as they approach round two.

On this night, just a few days before Thursday's kickoff at Vibiana Place, Gurnz, Warfel and Westwater are handling details patio side, swapping overlapping job duties with each call coming in on cell phones. "Our titles speak to the function, not the hierchy" says Gurnz, who adds that "Everything is fantastic. All the major Downtown players have come to the table." For this second event BOXeight and GenArt welcome Flaunt Magazine, The Standard, American Apparel, Jan Perry, and Tom Gilmore as some of the players making "Have Faith in L.A." happen.

Downtown as a fashion show runway began when both Gurnz and Warfel were having extended stays at The Standard while on business on separate projects. Once they got out and explored the city directly, they embedded themselves into Downtown. Warfel, a developer with the Titan Organization, is storing the collection of the homeless Museum of Neon Art in one of his buildings, and Gurnz' BOXeight is already a force in the Downtown art scene.

Given the positive March press, the group had the chance to go out and get a big sponsor check this time around, but chose not to do it. Westwater explains that the corporate intervention would have diverted Fashion Week away from highlighting Downtown L.A. as a creative community.

"This week will be a landmark in downtown's position in fashion, " says Grunz. That's a lot of faith in what Downtown can be.

For full details, including a schedule and press kit for "Have Faith in L.A." go to BOXeight's website. Downtown shows take place Thursday and Saturday at Vibiana.

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