Monday, April 9, 2012

GFW: Defining a Production Through Numbers

The beginnings of the GFW DNA are rooted in a unifying spirit aiming to bring the community together through a common conviction for all things fashion. This vision emerged from a humble design studio in the heart of Gainesville. Albert Coronel, creative director at neutral7 design group, funneled his entrepreneurial spirit into producing the area’s first all-encompassing production.

Through the years creative connoisseurs have flocked to GFW for the wide variation of talent that falls under its hood. Fashion is a given, but since inception in 2008, GFW has incorporated music, art, philanthropy, special events and partnerships into its equation. The production’s second year held a fall and spring showcase, earning GFW recognition and esteem within the community. Turn the calculator on to break down the production and you’ll see a meager, but promising three designers in the first season. This year, 14 designers and boutiques are signed on to grace the runway at Villa East.

Different additives have been thrown into the equation since 2008. Local designers have been at the core, as GFW builds a following and establishes recognition alongside the artists it propagates. Starting in 2010, New York based designer, Miguel Blanco and a Columbian designer duo coined “Sironna Swimwear” joined the GFW mix. Audience expansion followed suit, with an increase from 600 attendees to 1,500 in 2010.

GFW also draws models and production staff from the rising talent pool in Gainesville. Shed the facad of colorful bubble graphics and numbers, and our workforce emerges. This is where GFW distinguishes itself among other fashion shows. An internal structure focuses around producers Albert Coronel and Tiffany Williams, with a team drawn from the rising talent at the University of Florida. A student co-producer, who works hand-in-hand with the oh-so-savvy business professionals, is joined by a team of specialized directors and interns to orchestrate the spring event. GFW has built up a team of 36 staff through the years, allowing more realms of event management to be added. Directorships focus on talent, sponsorships, promotion, event management, model coordination, media and design.

Pop your head into a Tuesday night team meeting and you’ll overhear teammate breakout sessions, infused with the spontaneous inside joke aside because – hey – only a GFW intern could understand. After a year’s buildup and the final reprieve come fashion week wrap-up, the team typically spends roughly equal time around town in celebratory mode and then they’re off focusing on new ventures or tackling next year’s showcase. It’s why they’ve set out for lofty futures globetrotting to London and Paris Fashion Weeks and working in various fields for Vogue, Urban Outfitters and prestigious firms in New York City and Miami. Co-producer, Kristi Desoiza is in the process of scouring Miami for jobs in advertising management.

“Being part of the GFW expansion during college has opened my eyes to what’s outside of textbooks and Weimer Hall,” DeSoiza said. “I think I speak for the whole team when I say we’re going to dominate our first jobs.”

Flavia Cervantes, once-model-director-turned-marketing-guru-for-Urban Outfitters, asserts that GFW played an instrumental role in framing her perspective on youth culture and trends, especially understanding what young, creative people want from fashion and the creative lifestyle concept.

Next in the quest for a balanced equation was substantial and recognizable branding. Neutral7 redefined each showcase through different lenses like 2010’s “Destination” and 2011’s “Celeb Gossip.” This year the staff members, many of which have defined their undergraduate years working for the production, are finding nostalgia appropriate. As they look back on GFW history, 2012’s theme of “Fashion Mathematics” allows them to breakdown the roadmap of GFW and see work concretized into growth through numbers. Thus far, the team is celebrating the addition of Project Runway designer Laura Kathleen to Thursday’s lineup and recognition by international fashion aggregate, Fashion Politique. After a year’s worth of planning, the team anticipates topping its own track record with expansions each season.

Curious as to how GFW breaks down by numbers for each season? Checkout the newest addition to the design portfolio - the infographic in the HOME Magazine's April Edition.

We hope to see you for what promises to be the most diverse showcase to date!

Get your fashion on Gainesville,

Kasi Martin

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