Susan Stein is the long-time fashion editor of Palm Springs Life and creative producer of Fashion Week El Paseo. For the last 9 years, under Susan’s stewardship as Fashion Editor of Palm Springs Life Magazine, Fashion Week El Paseo has grown consistently and exponentially, with its productions drawing a record-breaking attendance of 13,500 guests. As the “biggest fashion event on the west coast,” Fashion Week El Paseo showcases numerous acclaimed designers from all over, including collaborations with designers from the hit television show Project Runway.
Susan’s synergistic approach is equally effective with her consultancy firm FASHIONCONNECTION! where Susan not only styles personal clients, businesses, and websites and presents current fashion trends, but also works closely with designers and retailers to create outstanding marketing opportunities. She has also been commissioned as a stylist for the Grammy’s The Emmy’s, the American Music Awards, and the Oscars.
Susan also received the Coachella Valley-based Women Leadership Forum’s Visionary Award at their Women Who Rule! Awards Luncheon and Scholarship Fundraiser on January 31, 2014.
Susan Stein: After three solid months of snow, I decided to listen to my future husband and join him for a new “sunny” adventure.
KB: Susan, you wear a lot of hats: Creative Producer and Director of Fashion Week El Paseo in Palm Desert, CA, Fashion Editor of Palm Springs Life Magazine, Professor, and principal of FASHIONCONNECTION! consultancy. What are the highlights of a typical week for you?
SS: If I’m teaching, I generally travel to LA for Monday and Tuesday classes. If not, because of a heavy schedule here, I attend many meetings relating to shows, fashion week, private clients, and other business. I am based out of my home office (which is wonderful) and travel about the valley as needed. I love fashion because it is always changing. That’s why my days are never “routine.”
KB: Susan, tell me more about your teaching [Susan is a professor at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles]. What do you teach?
SS: I have taught History of Costume, Marketing essentials, Trends, and Promotion in the Merchandising Environment. I have been there since 1999 and consider it a vital part of keeping me up to date in the industry and keeping me young.
KB: Fashion Week El Paseo is a huge tourism booster for the Coachella Valley—and a lot of fun! What’s your favorite part about putting this fabulous fashion event together?
SS: The whole experience. It’s a one year process that starts with finding and curating the talent and designers. Then working with our Palm Springs Life Fashion Week team (and everyone else at the magazine who supports us). I get into production mode once the programming is set. It’s a real team effort that involves marketing, visuals, ticket sales, sponsorships, hotel reservations, travel, and making the week’s environment as perfect as possible so our guests have the best experience.
My favorite part is watching the audience enjoy the shows and leave with a smile on their face. I also love their dedication to our event and support.
KB: Congratulations on receiving the Coachella Valley-based Women Leadership Forum’s Visionary Award! Based on this interview, I can certainly see why you were chosen! In addition to WLF, are there any other philanthropic activities or groups with which you’re involved?
SS: I’m on the Board of the Desert Best Friends Closet and also on the Advisory board of The GirlFriend Factor. I have been Regional Director of Fashion Group International and have just been asked to be on the Advisory Council of AX3 2014 – The Audience Access Affair & The LIVE ENTERTAINMENT UPFRONTS. AX3 is an international business market & conference for the Live Entertainment industry, including Music, Sports, Fashion and Comedy.
KB: When you’re not hard at work, what activities do you enjoy in and around Palm Springs?
SS: I love to spend time with my husband and our kids, play tennis when I have time, travel, see movies, garden, cook, and there is never enough time to catch up on my reading. I enjoy going to events and also eating in great restaurants.
KB: What do you love most about Palm Springs?
SS: I actually like everything about living here. Obviously the weather, but also the people, the environment, the mountains, the proximity to a large city, and the fact that it’s incredibly peaceful most of the time. Despite the peacefulness, I love that so many people stay so busy making this a better place every day. It has grown so much in the 11 years that I have been here and I’m proud to be a full time resident.