Tito Chowdhury – Follow Up

Tito Chowdhury, founder and executive producer of FashioNXT interviewed by Jewel Mignon.

Do you think your show is more about the attendees/general audience or do think it’s more a buyers show?

As you know, fashion shows really have been less and less and less, (actually anywhere with major fashion shows) about the buyers than creating buzz in the overall marketplace. Back in the days, established press was the only way people could get the fashion news. Also, buyers coming to the shows were one of the main ways people and businesses were getting commerce. Nowadays, companies have consolidated their buying, buyers were first, for they don’t have that much time to go to all these shows and spending all this time for one by one by one, They are going to trade shows or if you are bigger, they are going to be having private showcases for them.

On the other hand, because of social media business and because of all sorts of other online media, people are all, like, we’re all mass demography. Our masses are getting fashion news way beyond magazines when those pictures are hitting the shelf.

So the goal of shows is about creating some social media content and value and excitement so, at that point, I think that the amount of emotional connections that we can create at FashioNXT directly with the consumer class and also our quality images and experiences add significant value for the designers.

We have been a lot more successful at creating excitement among the people compared to some of the other shows in the big cities.

Tito recently took a trip to Brazil to learn a little bit more about the textile industries and fashion going on there and for the Brazilians to gain some insight from Tito on how FashioNXT is ran and see what collaborations could grow organically with what both groups are trying to accomplish.

What do you think the State and local government could be doing to better help promote the industry and the designers?

In Brazil the government is funding the Brazilian version of Up Next with money and sponsoring designers in covering the costs it cost to put on shows. Here, FashioNXT is the only entity which is subsidizing designers, big time, trying to find resources from where we can, which is an uphill battle just for the basic support so that our bases are covered and we are not always starting from zero to raise money from them. We need the support from private/public entities for programs like Up Next Emerging Designers fashion development program because those are all really here to develop talents, unless the fashion brands or designers themselves become self sufficient and go and pay for their things. The point here that I have been trying to make and more and more of the industry leaders in the creative fields are making is, Portland needs to stop trying to be this damned equalizer. Trying to show the people that everything is the same…All creators are the same. Everybody has a chance…NO!

We have to create and focus on excellence! We have to create quality and distinction! At the same time, of course, we have to create a system, a support system, for the emerging designers or emerging talents and creative. We cannot forget or underestimate the impact of supporting, focusing on, and redefining excellence. That comes to fashion designers we have to focus on, writing about their excellent. The same for fashion shows. We cannot say “Oh Yeah. Yeah, we support ALL fashion shows and event”. NO, you have to define what fashion shows and events are the most impactful, creating the most value. Same thing for the fashion photographers, don’t think that just because your friend is a photographer, you promote them even though they are creating bad pictures.

Who is worth your support? Develop your ability as an influencer. Define those creative entities that are excellent so that other people can hire them and make most use of the limited financial resources we have here. FashioNXT has been doing amazing things for a very long time in supporting designers. For example, our Up Next Emerging Designers program. It is a designer development program. We need to be more serious about funding, private and public. Also with OUR support and stuff.

So what would you tell the state government if you were sitting in a room with them?

We have been sitting in a room with them for a very long time and we have told them they need to find priorities in their economic development strategy. Define the most effective programs that are out there that are supporting creatives and throw their weight behind those entities. For fashion designer programs/development programs, FashioNXT is the only serious program in this town. Whether is it Up Next Emerging Designers or the Wearable Technological programs, they need to support these things. They need to stop being wishy-washy where everything goes or thinking that the fashion industry is too small of an industry in Portland. Portland has a huge apparel industry.

We have all these big apparel companies. At the cost of taking advantage of all these creative talents in these big companies whether its Nike, Adidas or whoever to create this ecosystem where there are, in the pipeline, more designers who are growing from here, living here, and making a living. The programs that are helping that to happen (as FashioNXT has proven itself to produce those kind of designers adding these kind of values tangibly and considerably) tend to stem from the designers. Programs like FashioNXT Emerging Designers and Wearable technology programs? These need support. Very simple.

Tell me some of the excellence that you see coming from Portland. Who do you think stands out in this market?

Well, I will try to be less biased but it is not very easy for me to be completely unbiased, because FashioNXT has been relentless in showing and supporting the best designers and also working with the best creatives in every field that’s a part of the fashion experience. From that point of view, I think the best designers are the designers that have shown with us.

I hear you when you are talking about how here everyone says “Oh everyone is good, Everybody’s great, They are all equally good.” Well that’s not true and we both know that. What is it that you want us (the lay people) to think? I know we have the same group of people going to the same type of events all the time, so I’m not talking about them, it’s the lay people, the person off the street. I want you to have the last word about what you think Portland needs to pay attention to. What do you want them to know about Portland Fashion?

The first thing is be curious, be inquisitive, If you are really serious about finding the fashion experience and fashion talent, be curious. Talk to people. We have our blog at FashioNXT. It has the designers we are showing. If you have questions or reference, go check them out. We stand for certain quality. Follow those designers. Find out how they are. See for yourself. I think that’s one of the places that you can start if you have a limited amount of time and if you don’t want to go everywhere.

Learn about them and support them. It is important! Very important, because at the end of the day that is what has to happen. Designers need to be supported by you {the public}. If you have a limited amount of money, and also time, here’s the time to chose designers that are showing at FashioNXT and if you have limited money, check out if their style is for you and if it is, buy from them. Become their client. They need your support. That’s pretty much it. Be quality conscious and when you find the designer that you like, support them. Use your limited amount of resources to buy from them.

By the way Tito, Whose jacket are you wearing?

I bought it from Collier.

I LOVE Collier. He has a very European Flair.

And with that last exchange with Tito being about one of the very excellent designers here in Portland, I drank the rest of my ginger tea and left the Via Delizia.

About The Author: Jewel Mignon