Airbnb hit the nail on the experiential head with its recently launched Trips platform and, in doing so, shines a spotlight on some of Los Angeles’ indie fashion community.
The company, known for its app that connects travelers with lodging, in November launched Trips as it seeks to broaden its reach beyond being the intermediary between tourists and homeowners and now a place to facilitate and recommend local activities and places to go for travelers and locals alike. Trips is also eventually expected to add flights and other services to its platform.
In Los Angeles, that means teaming with designers Jill Aiko Yee of her namesake clothing line and Jordana Howard of Echo + Air on a weekend offering, named The Cutting Edge. The programming provides a deep dive into different facets of the local fashion industry. The two-day experience is being offered through mid-March.
“The main thing that Jordana and I want to do is welcome people to the fashion design process and let them know it’s really thriving and growing,” Yee said. “We just think for fashion in Los Angeles to grow, we need to put a face to it. We want to help get the word out that there’s quality happening in Los Angeles and that there’s ethical production here.”
Airbnb connected with Howard through a crafting event, enlisting her to help develop a tour around her lifestyle and interests. She teamed with Yee, who she has worked with in the past on the Open Saturdays small boutique market held at Yee’s downtown Los Angeles showroom and various design events.
“Jordana and I really care about the independent design community that’s happening in Los Angeles,” Yee said. “We think it’s rich. We wanted to build a program around what was specific to Los Angeles, specific to local production and eco-friendly production.”
The first day begins with coffee at the Ace Hotel followed by a visit to the fabric showroom of JM International Group, which sells to Rodarte, Monique Lhuillier and St. John among other companies. That’s followed with a visit on the second day to Graham Keegan’s Silver Lake dye studio.
“It’s a great idea and they’re [Airbnb] expanding obviously and I like the fact that they’re including fashion because that’s a big part of the West Coast,” said John Marshall of JM International Group. “For the fashion people, they’ve always considered New York, but really L.A. has a lot of up-and-coming designers and it’s not a trend. It’s something that will continue to grow.”
The tour caps with visits to the studios of Howard and Yee where participants are walked through each designer’s lines and there’s discussion about what goes into a collection and trend forecasting.
Each tour group is small, limited to eight people, with a price tag of $195 per person. It’s aimed at aspiring designers or other creatives with an interest in the industry.
“I love the idea of mentoring people and meeting new people, especially people who are young, aspiring designers,” Yee said. “This is a great way to give back and meet people and possibly mentor them because you never know what might happen out of meeting someone on the tour.”