Project Ethos: Championing Local Fashion, Art, and Music

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Photo by Nicole Cifani
By Nicole Cifani, Special to LAist

Nearly two weeks ago when researching a piece about L.A. Fashion Week, I came across a contest on the website for emerging artist organization Project Ethos.

The winner of the contest, called the "Project Ethos Carlton Salon VIP Experience Giveaway", was to receive a haircut, color and style courtesy of Carlton Salon, a walk down the red carpet, 4 VIP tickets, and bottle service at Project Ethos’ LA Fashion week event. I never win anything and was totally surprised to learn a few days later that I was the winner (although due to a technicality - the real winner had to back out at the last minute). I'm an avid supporter of the arts and fashion in Los Angeles, and as a runner-up or not was excited to participate.

Project Ethos, created in 2005, is an LA-based organization that produces events to showcase emerging indie talent of the fashion, art, and musical variety. In many ways, they’ve been around longer and pick up where Gen Art left off.

The Project Ethos at LA Fashion Week event, supported by Carlton Hair, returned to the Avalon Hollywood complex last Friday night. It was a spectacular display of emerging talent from the worlds of fashion, art, and music, taking up the entire building from Honey on the south side to Bardot on the north. Local vendors set up shop in the lobby and along the second floor concourse, while a pop-up art gallery and second stage was installed on the third floor.

Hosted by “Project Runway” Season 2 contestant Nick Verreos, two scheduled runway shows too place over the course of the evening, each featuring a smattering of diverse collections. The shows showcased talent from local designers Melissa Velia, Annie & Jade, Summer Titone and Janaration, Doctrine, B.Vika, Cardiwrap by Kymaro, Jaq Wear, BritBoy Fashions,Lamixx, Goga by Project Runway season 6 contestant Gordana, and more. The collections were well curated and presented a variety of lines from women's swimwear to menswear, from functional everyday items to the avant-garde.

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Photo by Nicole Cifani
In between runway shows, LA-band Voxhaul Broadcast performed on the stage at the start of the catwalk. To the dismay of buyers and to the chagrin of those holding standing room only tickets, attendees with seats were asked to stand as the floor was cleared of chairs for the performance. Any minor irritation by seat-holders was quickly forgotten as the band, then a DJ, kept the momentum of the night’s events going strong. The evening quickly turned into a dance party, as the crowd danced along to tunes like Yolanda Be Cool vs. DCUP's "We No Speak Americano" and a remix of "Barbara Streisand" by Duck Sauce. The second catwalk show moved along in time.

Outside of producing a colorful and multi-faceted event, the primary of Project Ethos is to expose artists to unique opportunities by inviting buyers and members of the media to their events. They have strong relationships with the artists and their first priority is to maximize their exposure. While not a panacea for the state of fashion in Los Angeles, Project Ethos is a powerful incubator for local talent, and definitely one to keep an eye on.