Remember that scene in Devil Wears Prada where Miranda Priestly explains smugly to poor Andy how her “lumpy blue sweater” came to be? According to Priestly, it was Oscar de la Renta’s 2002 collection of cerulean gowns that began a trickle-down effect across various brands and price points to eventually make its way to the masses (and a “Casual Corner discount bin”).
Fictional or otherwise, the thought of being witness to a design spark that starts a fashion waterfall is an exciting one, at least to trend forecasters, industry insiders and one Tommy Fazio. He’s the president of PROJECT, the bi-annual men’s tradeshow where innovation, commerce and service converge.
When you think of PROJECT as a "live editorial," as he calls it, it does incite a level of intrigue. This year’s PROJECT kicks off January 21 in NYC (February 18 in Las Vegas) and before the pre-production madness ensued, I caught up with Fazio to learn more about the show and get style tips for the man in my life.
Julie Bensman: For those of us not in the know, what is PROJECT in a nutshell?
Tommy Fazio: PROJECT is a trade fair where the major business of the fashion industry really gets done. We bring together the best contemporary sportswear, premium denim and designer brands in one place, allowing retailers from across the globe to shop the most relevant collections for the upcoming season.
JB: How does PROJECT influence menswear trends we'll be seeing next year?
TF: Our tag line is "See What the World Will Be Wearing" and it's quite true. When you come to PROJECT, you're fully immersed in the trend story of the coming season. You have the ability to see who is doing it right, which brands are leading innovation, what's current and what's to come in the industry. It's live editorial, right on our show floor.
JB: For Fall 2013, what three items should be on every guy's shopping list?
TF: Something camo, brown monk strap shoes and a plaid suit or coat.
JB: What’s the most common men's style mistake?
TF: Not having a properly tailored suit. A well-tailored suit can make the man.
JB: Which designers/brands are you particularly excited about right now?
TF: I love what Public School is doing for American menswear. Michael Bastian continues to bring classic Americana to life in a whole new way. Neil Barrett is a personal favorite.