Group wants to make Las Vegas hub for fashion designers

Tiffany & Co.? Check.

Christian Dior? Check.

Chanel? Check.

With multiple world-class shopping centers and two huge fashion industry trade shows meeting in Las Vegas (WWD MAGIC and Project), one would think Las Vegas has the fashion industry covered.

Oh, but it doesn’t.

In fact, some like fashion designer David Tupaz would argue there’s no industry here at all.

Through the newly created Las Vegas Fashion Design Council, Tupaz wants to develop Las Vegas as a locale that fashion designers look to when creating, manufacturing and marketing their pieces.

"This could be the future of American design," he said. "It’s very important to me."

Between Tupaz and the other seven members on the group’s board of directors, the new council is organizing to become a resource for local designers.

"Kobe Bryant wouldn’t be Kobe Bryant without the Lakers," Tupaz analogized.

For its first project, the council is planning a Las Vegas Fashion Week to be held in August .

"A lot of people take fashion for granted, but fashion is the only factor that identifies each point in history, from medieval times to Lady Gaga," Tupaz said.

And, it’s a $20 billion industry, according to statistics from the University of Delaware. Tupaz said that the industry brings in $1.8 billion each year to New York alone.

With the strong economic indicators behind fashion design, there is huge potential for job creation in the valley, Tupaz said.

"We already have a captured audience twice a year when MAGIC comes," he noted, referring to conventions held by the Men’s Apparel Guild in California.

As of now, about 85 percent of the apparel manufactured in the U.S. comes from California, Tupaz said, which makes Las Vegas appealing because of its proximity. And, favorable tax rates and low rents could entice designers and manufacturers to move from Southern California to the Silver State.

Jimi Urquiaga, a budding designer, joined the council after he was approached by a few group members in late September.

"I fell in love with the idea," he explained.

Thus far, he’s benefited from networking with the other Las Vegas designers. Tupaz has taught him a few tailoring techniques and given him tips to make his work more efficient. And, Urquiaga is hopeful that the group’s influence will help create a fashion design industry here.

"It’s pretty tough to be a designer in Vegas because when people think of the city they’re not thinking about fashion design," he said.

Right now, the young designer is working on his spring women’s and men’s collection and a line of unisex T-shirts.

The new board of directors consists of Stella Vittorio, president; Austin Mulvenon, vice president; Alexi Taryn, treasurer and stylist; Tupaz, creative director; Mitch Adkinson, secretary; Aldo Mencatto and Urquiaga, public relations; and Dionna Edmonson, director.

Anyone interested in more information about the council should visit the group’s website, lvfdc.net, for more information.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588.