Closing Down the RAGTRADE Rumor Mill – by Maire McMahon

Last week, RAGTRADE Atlanta made a major announcement unveiling a new date for the 2015 Runway Show.

For this month, I wanted to interrupt my regularly scheduled post and take the opportunity to set the record straight before the rumor mill opens up and the conspiracy theorists ascend from the woodworks.

Yes, RAGTRADE Atlanta is pushing back the date of their 2015 Runway Show to October 14, 2015. No, it is probably not for the reasons you think– we do not need more time to plan and it has nothing to do with any internal politics, ratchet committee beef or mob ties– don’t let your imagination run too far.

Last year, RAGTRADE Atlanta put on an absolutely incredible event. The 2014 Runway Show went off without a hitch and received amazing feedback. The success of the inaugural event opened several doors for the designers who participated, the organization itself and the city of Atlanta. RAGTRADE Atlanta was beyond honored to receive the 2014 Phoenix Award from Mayor Kasim Reed as fashion industry leader in the city. So much so, I’m pretty sure Founder Angela Watts sleeps with the plaque when she has had a bad day…Just kidding!

However, holding the event in August comes with certain limitations…  After much deliberation and research, the RAGTRADE Atlanta committee, advisory board and event sponsors have agreed, pushing the date back opens up BIGGER OPPORTUNITIES for all parties involved. I would like to share them with you:

1. Participating Designers – RAGTRADE Atlanta’s goal is to provide a space for emerging designers to showcase their talents. In case you are not familiar with master fashion calendar, designers debut their Spring/Summer collections for the upcoming year every fall. i.e. – designers at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) will debut their S/S16 collections in September 2015. To set the record straight, RAGTRADE Atlanta does not want to compete with NYFW or prevent emerging designers from showing their collections there. However, because RAGTRADE Atlanta aims to highlight emerging talent, this includes the press coverage and exposure that comes with the ‘big fish, small pond’ landscape. Atlanta serves as a platform for emerging designers; it is solid and supportive. New York on the other hand has the potential for holes of oversaturation and cracks of competition for exposure and attendance. Pushing the date to October does one major thing when it comes to designers: it keeps the dialogue open.

2. October Market Week at Atlanta Apparel – Four times a year hundreds of thousands of boutique owners and buyers from all over the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and more flood downtown Atlanta to attend Atlanta Apparel at AmericasMart. For those of us in the biz, we call this ‘market week.’ This year, October market will take place Oct. 15-19. Coincidence? Nope! Moving RAGTRADE Atlanta’s Runway Show to October 14th allows the ideal opportunity for buyers, who will already be in the city, to attend the show.

3. Building a fashion industry – Atlanta is littered with events. It is also littered with competing events. Several organizations are trying to do the same thing here in Atlanta when it comes to a ‘fashion week.’ However, what RAGTRADE Atlanta is trying to do is different. Do we want our Runway Show to eventually grow into a full-blown fashion week? Sure! But what we’re doing now is helping to build the foundation. We have said it over and over, but in order for that to work, we need to bring the business of fashion together in Atlanta. It’s pretty easy to create a fashion event for marketing or entertainment purposes. So let me set another thing straight here- that is not what RAGTRADE Atlanta is doing. Our vision is much larger. The RAGTRADE Atlanta Runway Show is not created for the cast of the latest hit reality TV series, but for true fashion industry professionals. In the end, these are the people that are contributing to the industry and helping us put Atlanta on the map for emerging talent.

Lets face it: the Atlanta fashion community is challenged and fragmented. It’s time to clean it up and this is where is starts. Mark your calendars for October 14, 2015.


catwalk 9