By Brooke Kamenoff
Photos: Annika Morgan, Stephanie Zhang
During Boston Fashion Week, things can get a little crazy over by The Tent at the Mandarin Oriental with show after show. Intrigue presented by GASP Industries provided a nice change of pace over on Newbury Street with a showcase featuring a slew of creatively talented designers and vendors from all over Boston. We were lucky enough to interview creator and founder of GASP Industries, Janeen Williams, about the event and her thoughts on Boston Fashion Week. Read on for the full interview.
Haute Fashion: Tell us a little more about Intrigue and how it got started.
Janeen Williams:Let me start by saying that it’s a GASP Industries event and GASP Industries is a fashion house. With a fashion house, you’re basically linked to all aspects of the industry and I started it to give people in the industry in Boston a resource where they are able to network with other reputable people. That was basically my premise. My reason for it was because I’ve been working in the industry for about 20 years. I love fashion. I love texture. I love product. I love knowing how things originate in regards to fashion. And being able to be as knowledgeable as possible for my customers.
HF: How long has this event been going on?
J: This is our first event. My reason for it is because I’ve always been in the business of helping others with their shows and events and I wanted to do my own. I wanted to find amazing talent and build from it.
HF: Where do you find all these designers? Are they part of GASP Industries?
J: Not yet. Some are but mainly it was a matter of me networking or working with them previously. Also, there is a lot of new talent that I’ve never met before but I just reached out because in doing my research I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with them. They’re untapped. They’re unsaturated. And that’s amazing to me.
HF: What’s the hardest part of putting together an event like this?
J: You know, that’s interesting because everyone keeps saying I’m really good under pressure but at the same time, it’s just a matter of organization. And staying on time. I’m an organize freak and I guess the hardest part is to make sure people realize I’m nice and this is just the business right now so don’t take it personally.
HF: What’s the best part of producing the event?
J: My favorite part is just being able to share. Being able to give people opportunity to use any resources that I have. And to also introduce things to others and introduce fashion and trend to other people. I love people’s reaction to seeing clothes that are well put together with a great style and look.
HF: Why do you think Boston needs a fashion week?
J: I think Boston needs a fashion week because it’s a great opportunity to get people to showcase their work and talent. It definitely has room to grow because there is a lot of untapped talent and a lot of talent that’s here becomes clique-ish. Many of the same people showcase their work all the time. There is a lot of great talent that hasn’t had that opportunity. Sometimes they only seem to showcase their work in certain locations of our city and it’s not as well respected. So I definitely wanted to take this opportunity to showcase the talent that we have outside of Back Bay or South End and let folks know that we’ve got some serious talent to look out for.
HF: Any advice for students aspiring to be part of the fashion industry?
J: Understand it’s a business. Understand that there are multiple hats that you need to wear. I think it’s great to be passionate about fashion. But understand that it is a business and that it goes beyond just your passion. And if you’re able to comprehend that it is a real business then you will be successful because you will learn how to balance your passion with the knowledge that it’s a business.