If you see a fashion show happening in your area that seems to good to be true, it probably is. There is a terrible rash of fashion show scams happening in San Antonio, Houston, and now Austin. As we approach SXSW and Austin Fashion Week this year, it is important to bring awareness to the general public to prevent scams from continuing to make money, ruining the credibility of local designers and venues in these scammers’ wake.
We were first tipped off about their existence by MLW/Malissa Long Wear, who battled some fly-by-night event promoters for months. Today, we were made aware of a new issue involving a handful of Austin fashion designers, possibly by the same folks who tormented Malissa, but it’s hard to tell.
These “fashion promoters” do this several ways. One way is to make up a fictitious fashion designer, steal images from a photographer’s or magazine’s website and claim them as their own, write a reputable-sounding resume or bio, and book a show, with or without the supposed venue’s knowledge or consent.
Another way is to claim that actual designers you know and have heard about are presenting their fashions, steal their images and logos from their website, and book a show without the designers’ knowledge or consent.
In any case, tickets are sold online, and the shows are promoted on Facebook and posted to other event-promotion websites. By the time it is discovered to be a scam, tickets are already sold, and the ticket holders are left with no show to attend and no way of getting their money back easily.
To avoid being a victim of these scams, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is a third party promoter involved, other than the venue, modeling agency, designer(s), or stylist(s), instead of their known PR agency or publicist? If YES, then it might be a scam, if there are other factors involved…
- Are there sponsors, particularly print/radio/TV media sponsors? Are those sponsors promoting the event through other forms of media besides online? If NOT, it might be a scam.
- Has the venue promoted the show? Does the venue have it on their calendar? If NOT, it might be a scam. (Even if it is IS on their calendar, be careful. The venue management might not know they’re being scammed.)
- Are any of the stylists/designers you know and/or follow doing anything to drum up attention or excitement about the show on FB, Twitter, or blogs? Spreading the invites? Posting flyers? If NOT, it might be a scam.
- Are you’re asking yourself, “If this designer is so famous, how come I’ve never heard of them?” If YES, it might be a scam.
- Are you forced to buy advance tickets through a relatively anonymous ticket sales system linked through FB instead of through links on the website of a reputable media outlet, designer, stylist, modeling or PR agency? If YES, it might be a scam.
- Does it seem disorganized? Does the basic set of facts seem inconsistent, such as the date, time, venue, or names of those presumably involved? If YES, it’s likely a scam (or at least sketchy.)
- (Going on a limb here, but it stands up to observation.) Does their flyer, poster, or website design look bad, hasty, too “busy,” or even just “off?” True pros make sure their stuff looks sharp. If the aesthetics aren’t up to par for a FASHION show, it’s likely a scam.
Surely, this will open a broader discussion, which I welcome, but please no exact names or call-outs. Be general here, or specific in private and offline. Above all, do your part to prevent fashion from becoming a ripe industry for criminal activity in Texas by maintaining awareness. Thanks everyone!
People who only know me as the new small business owner of that little fabric shop in Hyde Park keep saying, “You should start a blog!”
El. Oh. El. The irony!
When I originally began the search for What I Want to Be When I Grow Up, I was told to start a blog. Back then I worked for a company who eventually laid me off in favor of a 22 year old in NYC with my same title, wasting away in a cubicle with a bad flickering fluorescent above my head all day.
That blog led me along a journey which arrived at opening my own fabric store, and here I am, sitting in that store, waiting for my next customer to arrive, and realizing that it has been a while since I WROTE my blog. I guess that’s what people want, is for me to WRITE.
I’ll try to be better about writing instead of just posting pretty fabric.
Just to update everyone though, business is FAR better than expected, which is great because I knew it would go over well. We’ve been in the local paper as a feature on the style page. The local fashion blogosphere has gone bananas for us (no, thank YOU!) We’re planning a big grand opening party for 2/24 (yes, you can come), and we inspire at least a dozen people every day.
Many looky-lous, which is great in a way, because any traffic is good traffic, and inspiration is always free and potent here— and highly addictive. Many people say “Best of luck!” which is weird, because that old theater geek screams inside. Maybe you all should start saying “Break a leg” when you come in to browse. Yes, it would make me feel less awkward. That’s my problem, not yours.
Bottom line? I feel blessed. Thanks for coming along on this journey, past and future. Now come in and buy some pretty fabric and make something with it!
This is awesome! THANKS whiteowlstudio:
Have you ever wondered how fabric is printed?
Well, it’s your lucky day. I took this video of fabric being screen printed at a mill I visited last week. It reminds me of one of those clips they play on PBS about how things are made.
It’s such a cool (**and fast) process to see in person. The fabric starts out white and each screen adds a different color/part of the pattern. At the end you can see the finished multi-colored product.
**And by fast I mean this portion of the process is fast. The fabric first has to be “singed” to get off all impurities. Then it’s bleached, washed and stretched before printing. Now you know why the nice stuff is so expensive!