Undoubtedly, Denver Fashion Weekend presented by Schomp BMW is an exciting amalgamation of curling irons, hairspray, eye shadow, hot bods and, of course, fashion. Behind the flashy mayhem, however, lies a complicated construction of operations: How will the event be promoted? Which boutiques will show collections? Where will the event be held? Above all, how are you going to find your seat? Among supplying a talented artillery of makeup artists, hair stylists, graphic designers and photographers, 303 Magazine‘s operational team is answering those very questions. Wearing multiple hats (to potentially shield stress-induced hair loss), 303 Magazine‘s publisher AB Arahonian and editor-in-chief Laura Standley are spearheading these efforts, working endlessly to create an event that is safe and smooth—among the glitz and glamor.

AB Arahonian, Publisher

303: What role are you playing in Denver Fashion Weekend?

AA: I’m the creator of the event and I oversee the entire production.

303: How do you anticipate the fashion industry evolving in the Denver community?

AA: I think it’s been evolving for the past ten years, but it’s now to a point that we hear about more and more younger aspiring hairdressers, designers, makeup artist, models, photographers… We see more and more fashion shows being produced. We see a lot of mom-and-pop boutiques opening in different neighborhoods. I see all of that only continuing to grow and hopefully, we’ll only find more and more people capable of producing (producing anything–jewelry, clothing, photography, etc.).

303: What inspired you and 303 Magazine to create DFW?

AA: 303 has the best fashion team and we wanted to make sure that the right people produced Denver Fashion Weekend events–Denver is an attractive market for out-of-state event producers to come and put their stamp on something like this. I just felt that the local fashion industry should be in control of it. Plus, when you have a sponsor like Schomp BMW, who supports the 303 vision so much, it just seemed like the next step. We are in the fashion world all the time–in other cities, all over the world. So, we just want to make sure it’s here. I’ve always dreamed of having a concept that could last for a week–I think that’s pretty impressive. It’s very difficult in the world that is 303 not to think about producing a show of this caliber. We’re constantly surrounded by talented fashion-oriented people, and it’s so much of what we talk about, work on and believe in. It’s almost like, how can I not do this? It’s what everyone involved in 303 Magazine has always wanted to create.

303: Anticipate your state of mind at the Fall/Winter Denver Fashion Weekend shows.

AA: “God, I hope everything comes into place.” [laughs] But, seriously, I just hope that our guests get something out of it and want to come back for more of our shows.

303: What do you love about the fashion industry in Denver?

AA: That it’s still in the beginning phases, and we, as a talented company, have the ability to contribute to it and help make it grow.

303: What’s the most challenging part of overseeing the entire event?

AA: Organization and promotion. Working with the venue, the city, sponsors, show producers, event producers, model agencies–it’s all a matter of keeping everyone organized and seeing the same vision in the end. And, of course, making sure we do our job marketing and promoting the events so that there are guests to see all of the hard work people have put into it.

303: What defines success in an event to you?

AA: The quality of production, the quality of the guests, sponsors’ involvement and the number of seats that we sell.

Laura Standley, Editor in Chief, 303 Magazine

303: What role are you playing in Denver Fashion Weekend?

LS: I’m running the door–seating everyone for each night of the event and making sure that any oversights are handled appropriately when our guests arrive. Of course, I’m there to help put out any fires anyone might need help with in any sector of the event, as well. Mostly, my role is supportive, and it’s much easier and myopic than other roles in the event. Mostly, I get to enjoy.

303: How did you get involved with the mayhem?

LS: The door is a challenge, but through producing the magazine every month, I’ve been able to get to know a lot of fashion industry professionals and patrons who come to DFW. It’s never easy, and we can’t eliminate a line, so it makes me feel more comfortable about the event if I’m handling this piece. It’s always chaotic, but that’s part of the challenge.

303: How do you anticipate the fashion industry evolving in the Denver community?

LS: The demand is there, so I expect to see it grow. I don’t have a crystal ball to predict exactly how it will develop, but i have full confidence that it will just keep expanding in ways that we can’t even imagine.

303: What’s most surprising about your duties for Denver Fashion Weekend?

LS: It may seem a little…silly that I’m put in the role of the door, but it’s actually sort of hard core. Nothing about it is difficult in particular–except hoping everyone will be happy (not a reasonable goal for DFW or for life, but…). But, it takes a very long time. We start at 9 am the day of an event and we aren’t done with the organization of it until an hour before the doors open for the event. Then, I have to get hair and makeup done and change, get headsets going for the front of house (and, for some reason, this piece is never easy) and hope that we didn’t make a mistake, because there’s never enough time to check our work like I would want to. It’s just go, go, go.

303: How will you celebrate the end of this DFW season?

LS: Organizing the door for three days of shows means I lose three days of working on the November Dining Issue. But, in the publishing industry, that’s not really how it works. You can put something off, you can work four hours one day and sixteen the next, if that’s how you need to structure it; so, just because I can’t work on the November issue for three days doesn’t change anything about the actual workload. So, there will be no real celebrating–no days of to recuperate for anyone involved. It’s a sprint that comes in the middle of a marathon that goes back to that steady pace as soon as it’s done. After the Hair Show, I will go to the after-parties (if I can keep my eyes open at that point).

303: What’s your very first thought when you wake up for day 1 of DFW?

LS: Get your game face on, this is only night one. And, then, I can’t wait to wear [fill in the blank with whatever fun concoction we’ve come up with].

303: Any behind-the-scenes nightmares you’ve suffered through to ensure a smooth production?

LS: I’m sure there have been many, but as soon as a show closes, I’m onto the next thing or the next show, and those issues are so far outweighed by the brilliance that the shows are, that I can’t even think of anything specific, honestly. The only real nightmare that comes to mind is when I’m asked to address the audience on short notice. (I need about a month to work myself up to speak in public. Asking me the night of an event is just mean and hateful–and sometimes necessary. Uh oh. My heart rate just went up thinking about that prospect.)


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