January 24, 2010

The Voices & Vision Behind StyleWeek Providence

As StyleWeek Providence grows in scope and excitement, those of us involved find ourselves increasingly asked about its origin. A city or state initiative? (negative) An off-shoot of Rhode Island’s business establishment? (nope) A part of RISD? (not at all).

Which leads to: then, what? And, more importantly, WHO is behind this?

Well, perhaps hard to believe (given how the event has already become fodder for national publicity) but—like most great ideas—StyleWeek Providence was borne of one fabulous woman’s thought (which she tentatively shared with friends last summer):

"How does such a gorgeous old city, in a region with a strong legacy for a creativity, and so many amazing designers, not have a proper showcase for that talent and culture?"

Turns out, it was the same question we all had, but hadn’t yet figured out how to articulate!

While we know, support and respect those who highlight the area’s fashion with fun (and often late-night) parties, why wasn’t anyone promoting the serious business of fashion, and combining it correctly with the region’s cultural gems on a larger, community-wide scale?

Enter the dynamos behind StyleWeek Providence! The story…

StyleWeek Providence was the brainchild of Rosanna Ortiz Sinel. Rosanna, a Southern California native, relocated to Providence in 2009 after long stints in Boston and Washington, D.C. Finding herself in a beautiful city, surrounded by creativity, she wondered why and how Providence wasn’t more firmly on the national map for fashion and design. How could a city with so much telent be so fragmented? From there, Rosanna began sharing that initial thought with others, a mix of locals and transplants like her.

Myself, for one... A long-time New York fashion journalist, I’d recently relocated to the Ocean State and, oddly enough, had a similar epiphany about the region’s cultural and creative community. My reaction was to found Miamore Communications, a boutique public relations agency for luxury and lifestyle firms. But, when Rosanna and I met for a coffee on a fateful day and she mentioned the idea, I nearly jumped off my chair. I returned home and wrote an endless email to her with ideas… and thus began what has become an on-going (and, surely for Rosanna, annoying) StyleWeek Providence tradition of my bombarding with (sometimes over-exuberant) marketing, organizational, and promotional ideas. Today, my agency, Miamore Communications, is a StyleWeek Providence sponsor and I serve as either partner; Communications, Public Relations & Marketing Director or (depending on the day, I know) a big pain in the neck with my incessant "ANOTHER IDEA!" emails.

StyleWeek Providence has a host of additional talented and driven creatives helping to transition it from a dream to a reality. We have our partners, sponsors, designers and venues, of course, but there is also a group of lesser-known brains driving StyleWeek Providence. They include:

Raphael Rawlins, Artistic Director. Raphael, a former Bobbi Brown artist in New York City, is an a-m-a-z-i-n-g-l-y talented hair and make-up artist with a long resume on major projects in New York and New England. With extensive artistic experience, Raphael has contributed fabulous ideas and inspiration thus far… but that is only the beginning. As we edge closer to the event, Raphael will work with each designer, lending his creative eye to all the shows and creating visual celebrations for buyers and media.

Steven Aronis, Assistant, Designer Liaison and Sanity Keeper. Steven heard about StyleWeek Providence from a Boston agency. A Providence resident, New York native, and recent Rhode Island College grad, Steven—who studied public relations—channeled sheer enthusiasm into what started as an intern position. He soon became an integral member of the StyleWeek Providence team. Steven handles designer relations, assists with public relations, and is the much-needed organizational brain on this creative team.

Lauren DiStefano, Intern. Lauren is a University of Rhode Island senior, and a Miamore Communication intern. Like Steven, her enthusiasm for the project was overwhelming. She’s the voice behind StyleWeek Providence’s active Twitter tweeting and assists in spreading the word about the week via press and social media coverage.

Finally, StyleWeek Providence would be but a fantasy without our team of fantastic liaisons. These key players lend their fabulous ideas, insight and regional contacts… ultimately making StyleWeek Providence the amazing event it is will be! They include:

  • Rhode Island. While we have liaisons throughout the region, being our local guru, Rhode Island’s Stephanie Dorazio plays an especially enormous role in bringing StyleWeek Providence to fruition. Stephanie knows our home state, and her passion for StyleWeek Providence is the key force in StyleWeek’s vendor and buyer relationships in the Ocean State. We’d be lost without her insight.
  • Greater Boston. Kathleen Golden McAndrew is a Boston insider. A UMass executive and style aficionado, Kathleen brings to StyleWeek Providence her invaluable insight, extensive fashion contacts, and passion for our mission. Boston being our sister city, with so many buyers, media and designers in that region, Kathleen plays an integral role in making StyleWeek a success.
  • Connecticut. Cary Panciera is a Connecticut native who has a summer home on Rhode Island’s gorgeous beachfront and, with a passion for fashion and the arts, enthusiastically joined the team as soon as she heard about StyleWeek. Cary is StyleWeek Providence’s liaison in Connecticut.

The team continues to grow, and we’ll keep you posted on additions. If you’d like general information (or contact information for anyone on the team) shoot me an email. Meanwhile, we can’t wait until June… just 133 days until opening night!

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