Fashion District: 101

In early Fall I was invited to participate in Airbnb’s City Hosts beta test. The concept is quite simple. You choose from a variety of City Hosts (experts in the city you’re visiting - chefs, musicians, artists, etc) to show you around their local scene. As fate would have it, one of my options was “the style genius” in LA, which focused on exploring the fashion district.

 Shot from Michael Levine, DTLA Fabric District

Shot from Michael Levine, DTLA Fabric District

This was my first visit to LA's Fashion District, but I had visited NY's Garment District several times and was thoroughly overwhelmed. I’m not afraid to dive in and figure it out, but I knew there had to be a better way. Then, along comes Janine, my City Host.

 Janine modeling one of my Spring 2017 fabrics.

Janine modeling one of my Spring 2017 fabrics.

Snapdragon’s brand commitment is fashion without tradeoff. In addition to fair treatment (of workers), wages and prices, I am also committed to sourcing vegan products that guarantee no harm to animals in production. Finding high quality materials that meet each of these requirements hasn’t been easy. Then along comes Janine.

Janine led me to the most beautiful vegan leather that is so soft and exquisite you would never believe its faux. See the fabrics I found below:

 Beautiful pastel faux leather.

Beautiful pastel faux leather.

My quest for a soft, pastel outer fabric was complete. Now I needed to incorporate balance with an edgy, inner lining. We scored a grayscale camo with hints of pink that pairs like a dream with the leather choices. Now we get to turn this thing into a bag…here’s how it works.

I sketch the design format with dimensions and hardware preferences. I provide the sketch to my pattern and sample partner who transforms my sketch into a pattern, then into a tangible sample using the fabrics sourced in LA. From there we evaluate every aspect, texture, zipper pull and I personally wear the sample for several weeks to test its functionality. Then it’s off to the manufacturer to be produced.

 Sneak peak of sample, coming in February for Valentine’s Day.

Sneak peak of sample, coming in February for Valentine’s Day.

My personal pre-production testing gives me a strong level of confidence around the quality of my designs. Not to mention the satisfaction when someone says “I love your bag”. It's endlessly fulfilling to have someone love a piece that you loved designing, and this applies to any trade. 

If you are considering picking up a new trade it is critical to immerse yourself, and I highly recommend considering Airbnb City Hosts to do so. Not only was it so much fun to explore with a small group of guests sharing similar interests, but it was the push forward I needed in launching my brand! The City Hosts service should be launching soon, so keep an eye out!