For all of the Bay Area fashion scene n00bs (including yours truly) who haven’t been around more than a few years, GenArt was once America’s leading event production company showcasing filmmakers, musicians, visual artists and, most importantly, fashion designers. Their legendary “Fresh Faces of Fashion” show was held semi-annually in five major cities across the country, and is responsible for establishing the Bay Area’s most esteemed designers today.
Before Christopher Collins hit Project Runway and before Bacca da Silva opened doors on Sutter St., they sent their lines down GenArt’s catwalk alongside gr.dano, Verriéres & Sako, Cari Borja, dcepcion and Colleen Quen.
Facing financial difficulties in the downturning economy, GenArt shut down their SF show in 2008 and filed bankruptcy in May of 2010 while stirring a healthy pot of controversy.
“There’s no way I could have opened my store today the way I did in 2004,” says Bacca da Silva reminiscing his first showcase at GenArt. “It was an incredible launching platform. Everything took off for me after that.”
But, the spirit of event production has been all but dead. On February 21, 2011, Gen Art announced that it was returning with a new slate of programs and events after being acquired by publishing company Sandow Media (parent to 944 Magazine). Under this new umbrella, longtime Gen Art Senior Executives Elizabeth Shaffer and Jeffrey Abramson were named Co-Presidents.
The Fresh Faces of Fashion program was relaunched at New York Fashion Week in September and has finally made its way to the West Coast. On October 22nd, the event will take place in the heart of Los Angeles Fashion Week.
Is San Francisco next on the map for expansion? And will GenArt maintain their notoriety in the new competitive environment with companies like Project Ethos?