IMG, Smashbox to part ways after L.A. Fashion Week
After 10 seasons of trying to make the marriage work, Culver City-based Smashbox Studios confirmed earlier-reported rumors that its partnership with events producer IMG would end after the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios that kicks off Sunday.
Though an IMG spokesman would not comment on the two groups parting ways beyond stating IMG remained “100% committed to the current event,” Davis Factor, who co-owns Smashbox with his brother Dean, confirmed the news in an exclusive interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“We’ve been together in the L.A. market for five years,” Factor said. “My opinion is that they just didn’t have the time to dedicate toward cultivating this event on a year-round basis. Nothing against [IMG], but I think that New York is their big focus and it’s difficult with everything they have going on all over the world. It would be hard for them to do L.A. on the level they do New York. My brother and I can.”
Although the Fashion Week calendar in L.A. had been thinning for several seasons — it currently stands at 23 shows over five days versus 81 shows and eight days in the most recent New York lineup — Factor said the beginning of the end came about six months ago when organizers sat down to discuss plans to possibly relocate the event from its Culver City base.
“We talked about moving it out of Smashbox, possibly downtown or possibly to Hollywood, to take it to the next level, and at the end of the day I don’t think IMG was ready to do that.”
Factor said that he believed IMG remained committed to Los Angeles’ fashion community in some capacity but was unsure how. “Part of our agreement is that they would not produce a Fashion Week,” he told The Times. “We competed last time and look what happened,” a reference to the competing events — one organized by IMG precursor 7th on Sixth that unspooled at the Standard Hotel downtown, and the other, organized by the Factors, in Culver City, that led to a first joint effort — the Fall/Winter 2004 shows that took place in Culver City from March 29-April 2, 2004.
Factor said Smashbox Studios would announce its own plans for next season in a few months, and that they remained committed to Los Angeles Fashion Week — in Los Angeles. “We don’t have a location secured yet but I’m not looking downtown. I want it to be in Hollywood,” he said. “Hollywood embraces the city of Los Angeles, there’s so much creative stuff to take advantage of here, the red carpet, costume design, stylists, everything from the surf industry to Maxfield’s. We’ve gotten Fashion Week to the level that people are paying attention to it, now we’ve got to take it to the next level. We haven’t been doing that.”
Factor said he hadn’t been in contact with any of the entities currently staging Fashion Week events — which as of last count included IDG World Expo, BOXeight and Downtown L.A. Fashion Week.
“We haven’t talked to those groups specifically," Factor said. “We’re going a completely different route — something different than the runway show lineup we’re doing now.”
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times, taken during Los Angeles Fashion Week '08