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!
We among the 99% have better talent and imagination than the 1% estimates us to have. This holiday season, buy handmade gifts or make them yourself for your your loved ones. We’ve been saying we’ll do this for years and this year it will really count if we make the commitment. The link above will take to you a Facebook event you can RSVP “Yes.” Consider it your pledge to support local business and handmade artisans in your immediate community.
Mood Fabrics’ “Sewciety” blog has published one of my Tumblr posts! This has been one of the greatest days of 2011, and that’s saying something considering it’s been one of the most important years of my life!
As any of my other Tumblr followers can attest, I am your biggest fan. I fast forward to YOUR scenes on Project Runway. I shop in YOUR stores any chance I get even though I live far far away from NYC and LA.
You are the wind beneath my wings. You are loved from afar.
Oh— and I will see you over Labor Day weekend in NYC!!! So um… what are your hours that weekend?
For the past 1.5 years, this Tumblr has served as a gallery of fabric images I’ve created along with others’ fabric images I’ve found to be exotic, fashionable and alluring.
But tonight I make Fabricker history…
Everything I post tonight will be stuff in my inventory— FOR SALE.
I’m doing fabric trunk shows to raise money to open a textiles store in Austin where fashion designers and garment sewing enthusiasts can shop for designer apparel fabric. If this would be of particular interest to you, holla.
Otherwise, enjoy the delightful fabric imagery as you always have and by all means like and comment where appropriate. And I thank you again for continuing this journey with me, my fellow Fabrickers. <3
The big news all over my Twitter feed (@theFabricker if that’s your thang) yesterday was that the reality TV contest show Top Chef is coming to Texas. By Texas, I assume that means Dallas or Houston, *maybe* Austin. Let me know.
What if we heard an announcement that Project Runway was coming to Texas? Our collective reaction would likely be similar to mine about Top Chef, except: probably Dallas or Houston, definitely NOT Austin.
It’s not because we lack the talent. I can name 5 fashion design and/or sewing instruction programs off the top of my head in this city, plus I’ve seen what goes down our runways. Hey, I’m not backstage or first row in Austin’s fashion scene (yet), but from where I stood behind the cutting tables of this town since 2001, it looks like we’re showing promise. We have our own annual fashion week now (not a seasonal one, but hey, we only have ONE SEASON in Austin called “My Skin is On Fire,” amiright?)
Besides, Project Runway selects artists from varying locations, and they’ve chosen at least one contestant from Austin (not including one from Dallas who relocated to Austin after that season aired.)
We don’t have the kind of fabric and notions store to supply and support 16 designers for a fashion design reality show. In NYC and LA, they go to Mood. We don’t have a Mood Fabrics here. We have GREAT places to buy quilt fabric and stuff for our Halloween costumes, plus some awesome fabric boutiques for special finds, but nothing that specifically supports apparel design and garment creation.
In 2012, Austin will have a Fabricker: a 3,000+ sq ft warehouse-style fabric wonderland, with notions and supplies to match. We’re not going to offer the same stuff as Joann/Hancock, except for maybe thread and scissors. We’re not going to compete with the quilter’s cotton and upholstery boutiques here— that market is obviously covered.
Fabricker will offer the apparel designers of Austin a place to shop, view, feel and buy (not just order) a wide selection of fabric, in addition to the massive inspiration you’re after when you make a trip to a fabric store, yet x1000.
We look forward to opening our doors to you, and someday, if we’re lucky, to Tim Gunn.
A girl can dream, can’t she?
In the meantime, come to our inventory presale event Sept 28th, 7-10pm at 29th Street Ballroom (at Spiderhouse.) If you would like an invitation and haven’t received one yet, leave a comment on this note.
…and we’ll see you all at Austin Fashion Week! Look for our ad in the AFW Guide.
Butterfly Fabrics is a unique spot to find some of the most vibrant and exotic looking silks around! The company manufactures and exports many European, American, and Asian inspired collections for both wholesale and retail. Many of the intricate fabrics combine delicate embroidery with…
Am I the last to know about this? The resource guides of course are a ridiculously huge wealth of information and worth WAY more than the price. Buy them.
The reason I’m posting about Fashiondex, however, is the cheesecake of information David Birnbaum provides in his online book exerpts such as “Zara 2.0” and “How to Shop the Fabric Market” and my personal favorite “Retail: A Short Guide to Survival.”
You can also “like” and interact with Fashiondex on Facebook, I’ve come to discover much to my delight, where you can even ask questions directly about fabric buying, sourcing, navigating the testy waters of international manufacturing, and so-forth.
In the last two days, I’ve learned more about the ins-and-outs of retail perusing that site than in my 10+ years of actually working in retail.