Next Week: CFS 2011. Prepare Yourselves.

Well folks, here we are, just one week away! Next Saturday, prepare yourselves for the largest fashion show on the west coast, Charity Fashion Show. And yes, despite being in the middle of school, and on the other side of the country, I am going. (Cue outfit stress…)

As some of you may remember from my last article about this event and all its fabulousness, CFS is very near and dear to my heart. It is a runway event that brings together emerging fashion from across the industry for one night of celebration, performance, and philanthropy. The event has roughly 40 designers that range from young high schoolers (aka me last year) to huge international names (also me, just kidding…someday), and models that are both agency starts and never-before-seen fresh faces. Among a ton of sponsors and press, roughly 1000 guests will show up to see and be seen.

But CFS certainly did not start out this big. In fact, it started as a very small and very different event inside the Stanford community throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. Wayne Hwang, the original creator, eventually came up with the title “Charity Fashion Show” with an event based at Stanford in 2008, and Thom Scher teamed up with him in 2009 to produce the event that is today recognized as Charity Fashion Show: The largest fashion show on the West Coast.

The Creator of CFS, Wayne Hwang, and I
at the WDesigns Venus Runway Show last January.

Event Producer and PR Director 
Thom Scher at CFS 2010

Those changes have happened through the years, but this year, even bigger changes are taking place. After 2 years of a huge tent building at Stanford, this year the production is moving to San Francisco’s Festival Pavilion at the Fort Mason Center. I managed to catch up with Thom Scher, whose PR company, Beyond the Dresses, is producing this event, and he told me the three major changes he’s most excited for are the move to Sf, the Pre-Show lounge, and the runway style.

According to Scher, although CFS has officially left Stanford, a number of the staff and models are still tied to the university, and the show itself is taking on new dimensions and has less of a student production and more of a statement-about-what-is-up-and-coming feel.

He is super excited about the Preshow Lounge, something inspired by his countless trips to LAFW, where he was always “really impressed by the pre-show lounge at Mikey Koffman’s Sunset Gower event; the people mingle and have fun among a ton of sponsors and are able to really capitalize on so much of what fashion events are about.” I must agree with him here. At NYFW, the main tent at Lincoln Center, filled with press and vendors and the like, had such a great buzz, and even though I didn’t go to an actual show, just being inside the main tent made me feel like a celeb, or at the very least, a very fashionable and important person. So I, for one, could not be more excited for the pre show lounge, much of the credit of which goes to Stephanie Werner, the shows Director of Development. Scher states that Miss Werner was “committed to bringing on sponsors to fill a preshow lounge. And when Stephanie commits… well needless to say that we have truly awesome things in that space.” And knowing Stephanie personally, I have no doubt that this is 100% true and then some. From complimentary wine tasting from 4+ wineries, free beverages from VitamenWaterZero and Monster, on site screen printing, photo booths (including one from Verizon), a mobile-upload contest, and much more, I can safely say that this pre show lounge is going to be bananas.

Director of Development
Stephanie Werner

The third of these big and exciting changes is the style of the runway. In the past, the runway has been elevated, but this year, the runway is flat with elevated seating (ooohhh!). And you know, I really prefer this style, which is closer to what you see at NYFW, for reasons including that I don’t want to see up every model’s skirt when she sashays by me. Call me crazy, but when I’m at a fashion show, I want to see the fashion, not what’s under the fashion (literally). Scher also stresses that the visual style of the show is going to be very different, and the styling will be “unlike years past.” And knowing the stylist and creative director Brooke Smith (don’t you love how connected I am?) I again, have no doubt that this is true. The shows will feature 40 designers in roughly 25 sets, but according to Scher is will feel more creative and cohesive. Hmm…I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us!

Stylist and Creative Director 
Brooke Smith

And of these 40 designers, Scher tell me, after some pressing, that he is especially excited for Ahr.ES.Ihm and Magdalena Trever, two bay area locals, one with a ‘divine’ collection, and the other with one that is “knock-down amazing”, respectively, and Andrew Christian, making his CFS return after being noticeably absent from last years show, and I say noticeably because, well, you can’t really miss his underwear, or rather, the smokin’ models wearing it. And then, of course, the major NY names, such as Richard Chai and Cut25, are names that Scher is “honored” to have participating. Well yeah, I would be honored too.

One last question for Scher, “Out of all the photo shoots, which are you most excited by?”
His response? The “I Model for…” campaign. It is “something that I really believe expresses so much of what we stand for: its all done by our team, showcasing how diverse our models are, and putting the accessibility of fashion on display. The campaign is in its second year, and it always gets so much buzz — I just love that we’re able to produce something that is so simple, yet so high impact.”

So make sure to check out the photos below, and to book your ticket to CFS now, but if you can’t, like, truly can’t, not just I-don’t-feel-like-going-can’t, then I’ve got you covered, don’t worry. Just worry for me about what I’m going to wear (I can feel the pressure mounting)!

I Model For…
Courtesy of CFS

Thom Scher

 Parker Lam

Audrey Virginia Proulx

Saroya Renee Whatley

Mikayla George

Jvon Lynn

Any questions? Ask me or visit Charity Fashion Show!