Local shopping centers celebrate annual fashion event
Fashion’s Night Out, an event curated in 2009 by Anna Wintour, Editor in Chief of Vogue magazine, and international editors of the publication to stimulate the stagnant industry, infected multiple shopping centers across Houston Thursday.
The evening event originally started in New York City and is an annual site of a chaotic circus of celebrities, media representatives and fashionistas.
The fashion celebration is seen as the event that ignites the start of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, which started Thursday and will last a week.
Houston experienced a milder version of the event at several locations throughout the city, including the Galleria, Rice Village and West Avenue.
Sydney Dao, Director of Public Relations at local boutique Dao Chloe Dao, took the initiative to organize a Rice Village shop crawl to highlight Houston’s independent stores.
“It was something I wanted to do just to bring all the stores together. The independent shops are not as united. I think we’re all so busy just running our own businesses,” Dao said. “I wanted something that would draw people, but I also wanted to do something to send the people to all the other shops to discover what the other stores had to offer.”
FNO was held in more than 500 cities nationwide this year, according to its official website.
Although the fashion scene down south is not as grand as in New York, Dao thought the fourth largest city was aware of the cause and deserved a shopping event like this.
“We decided to participate because we finally felt like Houston was ready for it. I think it was recognized and people heard it enough to know what Fashion’s Night Out really is and what it represents,” Dao said.
The Village is home to more than 300 shops, including corporate retail chains, but Dao specifically wanted to highlight the many local fashion businesses with a personality.
“We also had a lot of people ask us what we were doing for Fashion’s Night Out, so we felt like that was the right time. What we did — our Fashion’s Night Out — the focus of it was actually to help bring awareness to all the cool little independent shops here in the Village versus chains in the mall,” Dao said.
UH alumnus Alan Javillonar, co-owner and head buyer of The Class Room, a menswear boutique that participated in the Village shop crawl, thought the event exposed Houstonians to new shops that they normally would not venture into.
“Since we’re a menswear boutique, we usually don’t get women coming into the shop and feedback was great. We had a chance to kind of showcase who we are and what we stand for,” Javillonar said.
Amber Twis, Store Director of Langford Market at Rice Village, expressed the same sentiments.
“Fashion’s Night Out is a really great exposure just to get people out and not necessarily spend money, but to discover new stores,” Twis said.
FNO only received moderate interest from consumers in Houston, but Dao believes the industry-favorite event will continue to gain popularity throughout the city.
“I think it’s just going to grow. It’s getting bigger and bigger every year. I think people are recognizing it. I think they’re going to look forward to the event every year. We’re hoping our little shop crawl is going to grow into something really big — incorporate more stores, maybe have some entertainment outside,” Dao said.
“The only thing we have to battle is the heat. I think if we can get everyone together and give people more reason to come, I think it can definitely grow.”