STYLE FASHION WEEK L.A. - Co-Founder, Veronica Welch
By Roxana Vosough
Image Credit: Maicol Chavez for Mode-Moderne Journal
In between New York Fashion Week and concluding events in the Hamptons,
Veronica Welch is one very busy young woman. Dashing from one fashion runway to another, I was able to catch Welch on the phone during a brief moment in Manhattan this past September as she was grabbing her lunch.
“Hi! How are you?!” replied Welch, eager, enthusiastic and on the go.
The versatile, ambitious, and driven Welch founded Bubble Fish Media – a public relations firm based in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles – four years ago. The firm has been moving forward at an aggressive pace, producing and working with some of the worlds most notable events (including New York, Los Angeles, and Miami Fashion Week, Sundance, Art Basel, Superbowl, Hamptons and Comicon), working with top tier luxury brands, in addition to organizing educational programs at New York University (NYU), University of Southern California (USC), and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise (FIDM).
Welch always had an avid interest in bringing people together, particularly through events. In college she worked in entertainment with a small marketing and public relations firms, furthering her experience in events, nightlife, promotions, and sponsorship. Welch was later hired as the International Marketing and Brand Director for the Australian fashion label, Seduce, which Welch described as “the BCBG of Australia”. There she furthered her experience in fashion, brand management and the importance of building relationships with clients. Welch soon left to start her own company.
Her first event with BubbleFish was with the 2008 Obama Campaign where she coordinated travel and transportation during the primary campaign in Chicago. Yet Welch’s big break came after coordinating an event with Eva Longoria during HBO’s Comedy Festival. Despite the obstacles of events and public relations, attaining new clients “is an enjoyable challenge” claims Welch.
When speaking about branching the firm nationally, Welch claims she loves Los Angeles and New York but there was something calling her to Miami, which she considers more of an international port for luxury retail. Welch explains, “I love travel, international culture, entertainment, and putting together parties. Every day is a learning process”.
Welch also co-founded Style Fashion Week LA (with partner Karim Atash) claiming, “I didn’t grow up learning about fashion or designers. I fell into the industry and love it”. Style Fashion Week LA, now in its fourth season, is hosted at the historic Vibiana Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. The weeklong events and runway shows bring together approximately eight hundred people per show and thirty international designers per season ranging from contemporary to high-end couture.
In early October I met with Welch in Los Angeles for a cup of coffee. We went to Vibiana where we sat at the altar and watched models audition for the upcoming week’s shows in front of a panel of designers. They meticulously judged each model based upon their walk, attitude, and the manner in which they carried themselves, which could then be altered to suit their label on the runway. Designers had flown in from India, Paris and Dubai to name a few, arriving for the week’s preparations. During the auditions Welch was constantly being pulled in different directions, from members of her staff asking for her opinion, to vendors introducing themselves, to set directors and lighting awaiting approval. Welch gave each person her undivided attention for that moment, looking them directly in the eye, responding with a serious tone, and ending the conversation with notes of excitement and optimism.
This precise attitude depicts how Welch operates her businesses. She later tells me before one of the runway shows, “It is all about delegation of a team”. Welch’s dedicated team is comprised of ten internal individuals working directly under her and a team of two hundred people, composed of everyone from volunteers, to hairdressers, vendors, sponsors, designers, modeling agencies, and an operations team.
“I am excited that I’m providing people with a profession that they’re passionate about, which they’re excited to get up and go to work for”, says Welch with a big smile. This passion and enthusiasm were clearly exemplified on the opening day of fashion week.
Opening day Welch’s staff is huddled in a corner working diligently on their laptops, each with looks of panic and stress upon their faces as they finalize details before opening night. Despite the anxiety, everything seems to be moving gracefully as models begin to arrive and sit in the courtyard, volunteers come excited to help with their first fashion week, and sponsors and vendors begin to set up.
Throughout the morning there is not even a mention of Welch’s name. It is as though her presence is an invisible and divine force as her zealous team continues to power through the afternoon in preparation for the opening night. I later receive a text from Welch asking, “How’s it going there?” I reply, “Great”. She informs me she will be there at 2pm. The well-rested Welch arrives at the venue with an optimistic attitude, kindly greeting everyone.
As we continue our conversation before the first runway – amidst models scurrying to get their hair and make-up ready – Welch tells me her favorite part of the job is “being able to envision and create without boundaries, and watching my dreams become a reality. My parents raised me to believe that you manifest your own destiny, which allows me to be stronger and better at what I do.” The ambitious Welch claims, “Anything is possible! Put your mind to something and you can accomplish anything. You can always learn by observing and watching others, and in many ways, we are constantly growing and learning. There should be no boundaries, no limits. You need to be passionate about it, need to be really into it, so you can wake up excited about what you’re pursuing.”
As Fashion Week concludes, Welch and her business partner sit on the balcony overlooking the cathedral where the week’s shows took place, reflecting on another season completed. Welch later comes down, ready to celebrate and start planning the next season.
Welch is an individual who truly lives to work while working to live, embodying the notion of merging work and pleasure. “My parents don’t really understand what I do”, she tells me, which is not difficult to comprehend given her overflowing agenda of projects and ventures. The ambitious twenty-nine year old continues to live life at an aggressive pace, while enjoying every moment of it.