Photography by Jacinto Ariza

Celebrating its six-year anniversary, the events of Latino Fashion Week (LFW) made history by touring across the nation for the first time. This year it was called the Images of Fashion 2012 Tour. This theme was in honor of all the photographers and videographers who capture those timeless, evoking moments of fashion glamour while behind the lens, amidst the madness of behind-the-scenes or scrunched up like sardines amongst the media pile at events. Arabel Alva Rosales and Cesar Rolon Jr., who are the founders and principals of LFW, also paid homage to renowned international fashion/advertising photographer and commercial director Daniel Garriga, who was the sole focus of a 30-piece collection exhibition, which was silently auctioned with the proceeds benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)/HACER Scholarship Fund.

The tour began in March in Dallas and continued through to Chicago, and the tour will finish up in Miami. In each city, LFW hosts Model’s Night Out (MNO), a fashion-model-themed party to raise awareness for a non-profit organization, in this case, Fashion Hope. This charity “builds awareness and raises funds in the fashion industry to help rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking, exposing what is perhaps the gravest human rights atrocity of our time,” according to a press release.

“We just kept getting so many requests from different cities and states saying that we really need you to come in and support the designers. There is nothing like what you are doing in any place in the country, so that is why we decided to do [the tour],” said Rosales, explaining how the idea for Images of Fashion sparked.

As founder of LFW, Rolon Jr.’s mission is to support national and international Latinos, break barriers, and strategically educate non-Latinos about our community and its celebrities through different annual themes. During a phone interview in the middle of the hectic week, he explained that when LFW first began, the general market did not take the show seriously. “People just thought we were having a little bit of a celebration,” he said. He is working to have the general market seriously view Latinos as professionals and consumers. “I want to broaden those opportunities [for] our people.”

See Slideshow on Flickr: Latino Fashion Week 2012 – Closing Night »

Garriga, along with four other media members who hustled all week at LFW, including our very own photographer Jacinto Ariza, paused from working for a few minutes to talk to us about this year’s theme saluting them:

Ariza is in his fifth consecutive year covering LFW, and the last two years have been for Gozamos. “Me hace sentir especial digamos, especial que nos están tomando en cuenta,” he said shyly.

Pierre Dulanto Castañeda, who is a reporter and videographer for Moda Total TV, said, “Yo pienso que el LFW es una ventana para que los periodistas tanto de fotografía como de video, puedan desempeñar [un] gran trabajo…La moda con la fotografía y el video van acompañados.”

Javier Enriquez, who is a freelance photographer and painter, plans to take the images he captures at LFW and recreate them into paintings with pastels. “It is important to recognize [photographers and videographers]. It is good to recognize the value of work. [Photography] is part of art that is not really appreciated in many ways,” said Enriquez. He added that he is trying to enrich the world by capturing details that perhaps go unnoticed, such as surrounding beauty and ambiance.

Casey Mitchell, who is a photojournalist for Telemundo Chicago said, “I think that it is an interesting angle for [LFW] to take because it all starts with cameramen.” He explained that fashion shows are usually all about spotlighting the models and designers, but they also depend on great photographers, the majority of whom go unnoticed. “I remember [Garriga] saying that he got recognized for his work, I think that is great — not just for him, but for all photographers.”

Daniel Garriga was on location the fourth day conducting a photo shoot at 6 a.m. with three models wearing evening gowns by Noelia Cruz, Eva Chen and Ronald Rodriguez. “Happy to be here…it’s an honor,” Garriga, 37, said while sitting with Gozamos, as models were getting their hair and makeup done. The exhibition showcased his work that was created and compiled from the last year and a half. The images of men’s and women’s fashions were shot in the urban areas of New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mexico and Europe. “The interesting part is [the images] reflect a little bit of the lifestyle of a photographer, [and the] meaning of a fashion photographer having to travel a lot.”

The very humble, successful artist was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain. According to his biography, he majored in advertising and communications at the University of Barcelona. He then moved to New York, where he attended Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU) and received his degree in arts and film. Garriga has been a featured photographer for hit TV shows, such as America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, and most recently It’s a Brad Brad World on Bravo. “I am a European Latino. Latino no matter what, and I am proud that this is happening and [the exhibit] is very well done. It looks very, very nice and the space is great,” he said glancing around. On day five, before models stomped the runway at the last show, Garriga was pulled out of his front row seat and hopped onto the white runway to graciously accept an award for his featured work at LFW.

“It is my responsibility as the founder and executive producer of this show, that I actually embrace and celebrate all those other ethnicities and makeup of who we are. Again, [Garriga] is from a whole other country and I am so happy about that,” Rolon Jr. said.  

To learn more and view Garriga’s work, visit his website.

Plans for next year’s show are already underway. The tour will be in full swing with the cities of Los Angeles and Dubai added, and the theme shall be called The Journey. “We will be showcasing the journey of Latino Fashion Week from day one,” Rolon Jr. said with an excited smile during the last after party of the week.

Share this! (You know you want to.)

Got something to say? Say it loud!