MilkMade Upgrades in an Effort to Take Over Fashion Week
MilkMade, the longtime fashion week associate, is remodeling itself in an effort to beat out its competitors. Based out of New York City and Los Angeles, the M.A.C. Cosmetics-run space is remodeling its approach to Fashion Week and increasing its show budget by 25%. Closing in on its fifth collaboration with New York Fashion Week, the studio proves that a little creative competition is healthy in the fashion industry.
Formerly known as Mac & Milk, the studio’s New York location is right next to the Chelsea market on 15th street between 10th and 11th avenues. Though the services provided are much more helpful to younger brands in need of low budget productions than its competitions at Lincoln Center, are, MilkMade is still having to work to bring in designers. The less than convenient locations makes it difficult for the editors and buyers to transport back and forth between New York’s neighborhoods during the show seasons.
Fashion Week, while a necessary expense, is incredibly straining on the budget of start up brands. Averaging in around $50,000 for a ten minute show, fashion week can put a serious dent into any brand’s budget. MilkMade offers a full-service venue, complete with hair and makeup teams, food services, adequate lighting, and casting agents for free. M.A.C., as an established cosmetics company, can afford to support young designers as they establish a beneficial relationship on each end of the deal. “It hones the craft of our make-up artists and keeps the skill set of our makeup artists at high levels.” John Dempsey, president of M.A.C.’s parent company Estee Lauder, told Vogue. “It allows [M.A.C.] to pick up major trends and counter cultural trends.” Designers receive the aforementioned show space free of charge, while M.A.C. receives on the job training for their makeup artists and publicity for their products. Lately, M.A.C. has been making an effort to partner themselves with the fashion industry at large. Holding recent 2011 Independent Fashion Bloggers Evolving Influence conference, numerous book launches and magazine parties, MilkMade is reaching out to all sides of the industry in an effort to gain credibility and inspire new methods of communications for presenting clothes.
Marketed as the premiere studio for runway, advertising, and editorial, MilkMade also puts a big emphasis on the behind the scenes work of fashion. “[it’s] a place where we can push the envelope. The idea was to create a community.” S/S’12 had them filming a special on everything from model castings to after parties, all of which can be found on their website, www.milkmade.com.
Though MilkMade and the new official home of NYFW, Lincoln Center, aren’t catering to the same companies, there is a strong feeling of competition to get the best designers and the most press to come to their respective spaces. When the gaps between shows can vary from as little as five minutes to two hours, there are plenty of examples of times where editors and buyers cannot make it to a show on time because they are coming from all the way uptown or downtown. Fashion week is a mad rush around the city and many people are unable to take the subway, either because of the height of their heels or their aversion to public transport, and are left sitting for hours grid-locked in city traffic.
A more modest venue than Lincoln Center, MilkMade provides an intimate setting for designers to show their collections, as opposed to the expansive arenas of Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center’s not all bad, of course. It’s extra space allows for a waiting area in between shows where showgoers can wait comfortably in between presentations. Lincoln Center has a much more organized feel to it, thanks to the hawk-like security guards and interns patrolling the area. MilkMade, on the other hand, benefits from the chaos, making it feel like the edgier, underground clubs Lincoln Center types would go to on the weekend.
For Spring/Summer 2012, thirty-five designers, including Peter Som, Sophie Theallet, Suno, Oscar de la Renta, Jeremy Scott, and Jeremy Laing, will get the amazing gift of more time to focus on creating collections. MilkMade will account for all of the pesky issues the designers would normally have to deal with, including invitations, RSVPs, photographers, seating, etc.
As fashion continues to advance itself season after season, venues have to keep up with each new demand exerted upon them by the pressure to keep up with their competitors. Working together to solve the problem of transportation between event spaces would help the overall fluidity of the week, but the creative means by which they develop their own practices is of much greater value to the improvement of each show. A place the boys of Proenza Schouler call “a home away from home,” MilkMade stands as the representation of the evolution of fashion week and the changing frontier of how fashion is being presented.