When Julie Anne Quay founded VFILES nearly five years ago, she did so with the vision to democratize the fashion industry, to create a platform in which talented youths could connect, collaborate, and create. Cut to present day, and VFILES, along with being a social media outlet, store, and online fashion archive, has established itself as something of an incubator for churning out the Next Big Thing (whether that be a model, artist, or designer).
It’s for all these reasons that, after eight seasons, the VFILES Runway show is one of the buzziest on the New York Fashion Week line-up. Since its inception, Quay says they have seen more than 10,000 submissions from aspiring designers, stylists, make-up artists, hair stylists, photographers, and models for the chance to produce an unforgettable show with like-minded artists and incredible mentors.
And this year’s, which will take place Sept. 6 at 2 p.m., has just become a whole lot buzzier: Quay has tapped Khloe Kardashian and Emma Grede (Kardashian’s Good American business partner) to join iconic designer Dapper Dan and Jimmy Moffat, the founder of Art + Commerce, to be mentors.
Billboard Style got Quay on the phone to ask her what prompted her to ask Khloe Kardashian and Emma Grede, what she thinks about Gucci taking inspiration from Dapper Dan, and what’s next for VFILES.
Let’s start with why you launched VFILES. Who is it for?
In a nutshell, I started VFILES for the kids in the line—the kids who line up for shows, for concerts, the fans. That’s the community that is always a part of culture and pushing culture forward. I wanted to create opportunities and break down the glass ceiling for young creative in fashion, music, art, and design—the industries that may have been traditionally road-blocked pre-Internet. You don’t need to have an agent to be a model—I can sign up on VFILES today and say I’m a model, or a photographer, or both. I wanted to create a way for people to discover each other, and in return, be discovered. At VFILES, we believe fashion is a team sport. Any creative endeavor is the result of a team of people working together. Khloe, Emma, and Dapper Dan—they believe in that. You’re only as good as the people around you.
What prompted the decision to ask Khloe and Emma to be mentors?
We’re really impressed and taken by the whole direction of Good American, which is all about positivity. Fashion is going through so many changes right now, and I think their whole idea of body positivity and the way they classify their clothing—Good Legs, Good Cuts, Good Waist—it’s all about essentials that make you feel good. It’s a good product by good people. It’s important for VFILES Runway to take a very positive stance toward being creative, that it’s OK to be different, it’s OK to not fit the mold.