Emerging-talent incubator Gen Art halts operations
It turns out Gen Art's reunion-party reboot during Los Angeles Fashion Week in March was more of a death rattle.
Wednesday afternoon we received a mass e-mail from Ian and Stefan Gerard, the founders of the showcase for emerging fashion designers, musicians and filmmakers, informing us, "As of today [May 5] we have halted all operations."
A copy of the letter, in its entirety, is posted at the organization's website. The short version is that, after an 18-month struggle to stay afloat, during which there was an announced merger with and later split from Rock Media & Entertainment, the final nail in the coffin came "when a major, new, corporate partnership unexpectedly collapsed a few weeks ago."
Gen Art's co-founder and Chief Executive Ian Gerard couldn't be immediately reached for comment on the identity of the potential corporate partner.
The organization, which started in 1994, was based out of New York, with offices in Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and here in Los Angeles, and, by its own count, hosted more than 100 events a year, including film festivals, photo exhibits and parties at the Sundance Film Festival.
But the group is familiar to members of the Los Angeles fashion community as the organizer of "Fresh Faces in Fashion," one of the most reliable showcases and launchpads of local up-and-coming fashion design talent, and a group that would routinely soldier on with its scheduled events even as Los Angeles Fashion Week seemed to disintegrated around it.
For a sense of the group's influence on the local design community over the last 16 years, one need look no further than the March 16 "Alumni Reunion" celebration at the Hollywood Roosevelt's Tropicana bar that was supposed to signal Gen Art's reemergence as a solo entity. The list of featured alumni designers included Eduardo Lucero, Rami Kashou, Jared Gold, Louis Verdad, Jeffrey Sebelia and Katy Rodriguez.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: The Leyendecker collection shown as part of Gen Art's "Fresh Faces in Fashion" showcase during Los Angeles Fashion Week in October. Credit: Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times