The founders and staff of MADE talk organizing MADE LA, a one-of-a-kind fashion meets music experience.

The atmosphere inside MADE’s New York City headquarters, all photography by Sania Tharani

KEITH BAPTISTA, Founder: For years we’ve been talking about trying to expand MADE beyond fashion week into other markets, and the idea of merging music and fashion.

BARNETT ZITRON, Managing Director: The easiest way for us to expand in those directions was to take on this two-day event opportunity in Los Angeles, MADE LA, and make it amazing.

JENNÉ LOMBARDO, Founder: L.A. has transformed into a mecca of discovery and a massive talent hub. But, with the exception of those designers who’ve held [one-off] shows there, nobody’s been able to interpret L.A. fashion in a way that makes sense.

The MADE tribe poses for the camera, clockwise from top center: Keith Baptista, Barnett Zitron, Kelly Francis, Jenné Lombardo, a female tribe member, and founder Mazdack Rassi

Playing footsie with MADE’s Kelly Francis (in blue sneakers, left), Jenné Lombardo (top), Keith Baptista (right), and Barnett Zitron (bottom right)

BZ: People don’t typically bring consumers into a runway show unless it’s a very special circumstance, so we came up with a fully-baked plan for the type of event we wanted to do, which included incorporating musicians who are active in fashion. The first person we thought of was Tyler, The Creator — who’s now showing his Golf Wang collection the second night of MADE LA. In thinking about the first night, we were careful not to step on Tyler’s toes. That’s when we started to consider approaching Pablo [Olea and Jeremy Scott] about the opportunity.

JL: MADE has worked with Jeremy forever, and he’s a L.A.-based designer. Not to mention one of the biggest names [in fashion] that’s part of our family.

BZ: At the very least, we wanted Jeremy to attend, but when we started talking, the conversation organically evolved into whether he’d consider moving the Moschino [S/S 2017 and women’s Resort 2017] runway shows from London for the first night of MADE LA. I never thought that would happen —

KB: It was a big surprise. But Jeremy is one of the few people who can think outside the box and make things happen quickly.

KELLY FRANCIS, Fashion Director: Thinking about the event as a whole, it also made sense to invite [designer Shayne Oliver of] Hood By Air. He and [CEO] Leilah [Weinraub] are family, and fashion and music are integral to that brand, so it was really a no brainer. Not to mention HBA has a huge following in L.A.

KB: We’re excited about what we’ve put together. At the end of the day, we’re doing something that interests us and we hope that it interests other people, too.

BZ: You have to take risks and stick your neck out whether you’re launching a music festival or a fashion week. And you can’t know what will be successful until you dip your feet in.

JL: The initial round of press has definitely generated great buzz for MADE LA. People are excited, even if they don’t fully know why.

KF: The event speaks to the core of MADE, which we launched all those years ago to be reactive to the times and something different [from the norm]. We’re back in a time, now, when fashion is shifting and MADE LA represents our shifting with it. That’s what the brand is all about.

— as told to The Thick

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