Lloyd Crawford is a fashion designer from New York City. Ten years ago, he started iFashion Magazine, a monthly publication meant to make the industry more accessible to those just starting out. Unlike Vogue or Elle, it is a reachable platform for the independent designer, artist, model, or photographer to showcase his or her work. With more than 800,000 followers and subscribers, iFashion Magazine is exposure for the undiscovered artist.
So what does this have to do with Martha’s Vineyard?
In early April, Crawford and his director of research and marketing, Laura Quiros, made their way from New York City to the Menemsha room at the Harbor View Hotel. They hosted a meet and greet to get to know the Island, its people, and work together to host the first of an ideally annual iFashion show on Martha’s Vineyard.
The 2018 date is already booked. On Thursday, July 26, the Harbor View Hotel will host an evening of fashion, shopping, entertainment, and networking sponsored by iFashion Magazine. The event will also showcase Crawford’s new fashion line: L’Antonio Resort Wear.
“The idea is transition,” Crawford said. “We didn’t feel there was a line for people going straight from the beach to cocktails or early dinner.”
The line includes swimwear, dresses, wraps, bangles, and handbags meant to be worn from the beach to any evening venue.
“But instead of coming in and setting up shop, we wanted to engage the community,” Quiros said to a group of Island designers, artists, entrepreneurs, stylists, and models at the Saturday meet and greet.
“We believe there’s a lot of talent here,” Crawford said, “Tell us how we can showcase that.”
Islander Karen Finley shared an idea, “What if you had Vineyard artists showcase their work before the show?”
Marlene DiStefano, designer and co-creator of Kenworthy Designs, suggested having a trunk show, with items available to purchase right then and there.
Alex Russillo is a landscape artist, and sells many of her designs at various pop-ups and trunk shows on-Island. She said she believes a pop-up to be a good way to involve a wide variety of Island artists.
Marina Nunes is in high school, and interested in modeling. She said it’s hard to find gigs living on-Island, and even harder to make the trip to New York City.
“We want to attract high school kids with an interest in the industry,” Crawford said. “We want to attract people of all ages and ethnicities.”
Nunes’ mother, Lisa Haag, was also at the meet and greet.
“We’re glad you’re here,” she said. “New York is far away.”
“I’m a little nervous for you guys,” Trena Morrison said. Morrison is the editor of Dressed MV, a style magazine that showcases Island fashion. She also co-founded Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week. “July is amazing, but July is tomorrow,” she said. “You have to start calling salons and makeup artists right now, because it should have been done six months ago. If you want locals to be part of this, you need to book them now, because at this point we’re planning for October.”
The small ‘i’ in iFashion stands for the independent artist. iFashion also emphasizes diversity and multicultural inclusion. Crawford and Quiros purposely chose to hold the event during Legacy Week, which is an annual week hosted by HBCU Brand Partners — HBCU stands for historically black colleges and universities.
iFashion also has a kids’ magazine, and it’s one of their best-selling publications, according to Crawford.
Quiros was inspired to involve Islanders in the July event after a conversation with small business consultant India Rose.
“There are so many people who come to Martha’s Vineyard and use the Martha’s Vineyard name to make money,” Rose said. “But they’re not engaging the community. There’s so much untapped talent here. Why not bring them into this and see what can develop? It’s really nice to see Lloyd and Laura come here and open up the market, rather than infiltrating it.”
“This is what we needed,” Crawford said. “I appreciate you coming out and telling us the real deal. Either way, it’s going to happen, and the more input we can get the better.”