The World is Our Runway

Fashion Week El Paseo serves up the latest styles, directly to consumers.

Susan Stein Fashion & Style, Fashion Week El Paseo

Designers tag clothing for each model to wear that night at Fashion Week El Paseo, one of the largest consumer fashion events in the country.

Fashion changes, but style endures” is one of Coco Chanel’s oft-repeated quotes. As creative producer/director of Fashion Week El Paseo, I’ve pulled from that phrase as we have seen our event change and grow over the last 13 years.

Our vision in 2006 was to create an exciting presentation for consumers, showcasing the stores on El Paseo. We’ve enjoyed progress as we’ve stayed with that intention and evolved from an event with two shows and fewer than 500 guests to one that in 2017 encompassed eight fashion shows and many ancillary events, with attendance of more than 12,000. We’ve hosted more than 150 designers and had more than 1,700 models walk down our runway. And we are grateful to the more than 200 volunteers who help us keep everything running smoothly each year.

by the

Fashion Week El Paseo 2017
was our biggest year yet.

Attendees, up 10%

$2.95 million
Economic impact

Donated to



Fashion Week El Paseo has become one of the largest consumer fashion events in the country. We’ve attracted designers from the fashion capitals — New York, London, Paris, and Milan — as well as from throughout the U.S. and Canada. This has given us diversity in our programming and a chance to watch emerging designers “explode” over the years. We’ve seen more than 70 designers who have graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) just as they are beginning their careers. We’ve seen Michael Costello blossom from local talent to Project Runway contestant to full-fledged fashion force, often cited as one of today’s most popular red-carpet designers. He returns to our runway every year to present new Project Runway talent.

We’ve had presentations by internationally recognized names such as Monique Lhuillier, Roberto Cavalli, Rosetta Getty, Juan Carlos Obando, Marc Bouwer, and Adam Lippes. Many of these designers’ collections are carried in Europe as well as at high-end U.S. stores such as Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus.


Our “runway-to-consumer” concept has been embraced by the global fashion industry, as it travels the same path as the internet with its speedy delivery of new products and ideas. Consumers are more educated and aware of quickly changing trends, and designers want to be able to sell to them immediately, without the traditional three to six months it takes to get new product into stores.


We have seen some designers shift from biannual presentations to five throughout the year (resort, cruise, first summer, high summer, and pre-fall). Trina Turk creates a head-spinning 11 collections per year!

Lately, we’ve been aware of the rise of “fast fashion,” with a collection released every four to six weeks to keep the savvy client constantly satisfied. Perhaps this is why the prophetic Chanel also said, “Fashion is made to become unfashionable” — which suggests that she understood the bottom line and the need for designers to actually sell their creations. Could she ever have imagined how fast the world would move?

Fashion Week El Paseo 2018 is ready for the challenge. We have designers who represent the lifestyle influences of our state in our opening-night show, “California Dreamin’.”


Our finale features Ralph Rucci, one of only two American designers who has been invited by the French Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show in Paris. Project Runway and FIDM are back, each with a new assembly of designers ready to show their couture on the runway, while Alice + Olivia and Carolina Herrera bring us a taste of New York’s best fashion.

Our fashions have changed with the times, but we have kept our style — and purpose! We look forward to seeing you under the big tents on El Paseo.

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