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Slice of Life: Façon Magazine editor showcases emerging D.C. designers

Monday - 6/24/2013, 9:03am  ET

Former Capitol Hill staffer Janice Susan Wallace puts out four magazine editions each year. She talks to WTOP Living about emerging fashion in the District. (Courtesy Dan Stiles)

Natalie Tomlin, special to

WASHINGTON - If you open up the latest Vogue or Elle, you're sure to find pages filled with trends from the top labels. But in these big-name magazines, readers come across an article or two focused on local designers breaking into the industry.

That is not the case, however, with Façon Magazine. It offers an alternative to the mainstream coverage of fashion.

Former Capitol Hill staffer Janice Susan Wallace applied her passion for discovering the latest emerging designers by founding an online magazine in November 2011 to showcase new talent.

"You have incubators here and there around the country but there isn't really press entity that does focus on emerging fashion and those designers who are brilliant that nobody is paying attention to," says Wallace, who puts of four editions of her magazine each year. "And so I saw a hole in the market and thought somebody needs to pay attention to this."

Wallace found her interest in fashion in her teenage years while working at a vintage store. That is why each spring issue of Façon is centered on the best of vintage fashion.

Her summer issues have a bridal theme, and this season's issue showcases New York bridal designer Tony Hamawy. The cover shoot exhibits his evening gowns worn as wedding dresses for the "unconventional bride," Wallace says.

She also has her own bridal blog, The Bridal Wish List, that she created while working on Capitol Hill and continues to run today. Wallace later launched Capitol Fashionista, her second blog that focuses on local and global fashion.

Her latest venture is Shop Love D.C. Indie Market Week that Façon Magazine is launching to reconnect the local creative community with D.C. consumers. It runs Sept. 18-22, just in time for her fall trends issue.

"The focus of the conference is not about fashion as fashion but fashion as a business," Wallace says. "I think that's the whole focus we're trying to bring to this city.

WTOP Living had the chance to sit down with Wallace to learn more about her take on D.C. fashion and the emergence of young designers.

Walk me through a day as editor-in-chief of Façon Magazine.

It does vary because I wear so many hats. A lot of things that happen with the magazine, I do. But I have a team of about 11 people that work with us and so we all work virtually and since Façon Magazine is quarterly, we don't need to meet as much. What I'm doing everyday is focusing on the business side of it. We have a marketing company that we work with trying to get advertising.

For right now, I'm running our social media, our Intstagram account, our Twitter account, Facebook … We have our emerging designer email account so if anyone knows of an emerging designer they love or if an emerging designer themselves wanted to reach out to the magazine, I'm answering emails for that. It's a lot of touch and base with PR people and designers.

We're about to launch a newsletter soon and refocus on the website where we're doing a post everyday so I'm working on pulling all of that together. And I'm also working on our summer issue that will come out this week.

What can readers find in each issue of the magazine?

There's a women's section and a men's section. It's laid out exactly like any other fashion magazine. You'll find several trends and then we find emerging designers that we love, things that they've created that fall into those trends.

We also have a beauty section and a culture section. We also have a general editorial where we interview somebody usually, in the fashion industry, and then we have about two to three photo spreads in each issue.

Do you focus solely on the D.C. fashion scene or make it more of a global publication?

It is a global magazine, but anywhere I can support the D.C. fashion scene, I do because I'm a native. We don't just focus on D.C. We focus on anywhere and everywhere … We also focus on local boutiques as well. It's also about the indie retail industry, which is a huge love of mine because in a lot of cities nobody really cares about the little guys, and for me that's a huge problem.

As D.C. fashion is growing and growing, do you think that is overshadowing the smaller, emerging designers here?

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