New York Fashion Week kicked off last night with VFILES Made Fashion. The 5-part runway production featured lots of sequins and poodles and an army of Downtown art kids. This season’s show is the brands most ambitious yet, with VFILES hauling its seemingly endless list of cast and crew uptown to the historic Lincoln Center.
Although the show has expanded its main concept remains pure, featuring nothing but individuals casted through vfiles.com. From models to designers to stylists, the show is a complete representation of what VFILES was founded to be: “fashion democracy.”
Backstage it does actually feel democratic, in the sense that democracies are historically hectic. PAs in shiny windbreakers run by me with printouts of model headshots and garment bags. A woman tries desperately to fix a model’s hair while they both jog into another room.
In the center of it all, VFILES founder Julie Anne Quay. She peacefully smiles in the bright light of the press booth like a seasoned athlete before a big game. Which makes sense, considering Quay’s resumé.
Before the whole “creating a fashion empire” thing, her stints included running Steven Meisel’s studio, casting Marc Jacobs shows and being executive editor of V Magazine. When I got to the front of the flock of reporters surrounding Quay, I asked how her takeover of the fashion world began.
Where did you grow up? How did this all begin? How did you get so into fashion?
Growing up in Melbourne, I was always just obsessed with fashion. I don’t really know where it started, I just was.
So VFILES started out as an archive for V Magazine, which you were the executive editor of at the time. When/how did the idea of turning VFILES into something more come about?
I think that while were were building our archive out of our offices on Mercer, we saw all of these great retail spaces in the area and decided we should sell something. We have always sold things that are from our community. We sell things our friends make. Everything about VFILES is all about community. Even our programming, our programming is like home videos to us. From there it has just grown and grown and our family continues to get larger and it’s something we’re so grateful for.
VFILES Made Fashion is an addition to the VFILES family for four seasons now. How was the idea for a show like this conceived?
We started VFILES Made Fashion to promote the talent that was hanging around us. I just really wanted to show this energy and this design to the fashion world
Every season, a new group of designers is showcased in the show. This year we have XIMONLEE, Di$count Univer$e, Andrea Jiapei Li and Julia Seemann showing alongside VFILES’s own Sport Plus line. It’s a very wide range, from XIMONLEE’s dark, oversized menswear to Di$count’s celeb-adored rainbow sequins. What qualities do each of these designers have that makes them quintessentially “VFILES”?
They’re all amazing people, really talented, really passionate about what they do. What they do is not only groundbreaking, but also commercial. Tonight, you’re seeing great shapes and a lot of color. It’s something you’re not going to see anywhere else. We don’t take it seriously.
Other than Made Fashion, what can we expect from VFILES in 2015?
We’re releasing VFILES 2.0 in a couple of weeks which is a much more mobile-friendly version of our site. We also have some really great partnerships collaborations coming up with some big media companies. It’s all very cool.