Fashion on the Square: An Interview with Y’Anad Burrell
“It’s a staple now in the Bay Area! It’s something that people look forward to, it’s something we make sure to keep affordable, it’s a positive experience for everyone.” Y’Anad Burrell, enthusiastic and warm, is talking about her baby: Fashion on the Square.
It’s true: at this point, FOTS is an institution in San Francisco (which is no mean feat for a city that loves to chew up, spit out, and discard hip new things like used burrito foil. [Actually, this metaphor might not hold: you probably shouldn’t be chewing your burrito foil.]) It’s been around now for 10 years, and it’s been a resounding success SF, a city not usually known as a fashion destination. In fact, the furthest someone traveled to be in the show was from Africa. (She ended up staying in the States for 3 months, shopping her line in New York and LA.)
So for Y’Anad, fashion and confidence are inextricably linked (I completely agree, not that this interview is about me!) and FOTS is a way to bring body positivity and beauty to everyone.
It’s inevitable that as an institution hits its 10-year mark, it has to consider how it’s going to change and evolve to stay relevant. “The next level- and the higher level- is art and fashion, instead of fashion and art,” Y’Anad said. “If I can get all the folks who love fashion into one room, and then talk art? That’s great.”
FOTS has always had a philanthropical bent- every year since the very beginning, the proceeds have gone to charity- but Y’Anad recently started the non-profit organization FOTS+The Arts, making it official.”It’s really for students who intertwine the disciplines,” she explained. “So maybe you’re going to school as a fashion designer, or studying merchandising, but how can you merge those disciplines with the fashion element?” Basically, the money raised is put into grants and scholarships for primarily Bay Area-based students, to help them take advantage of opportunities to showcase their talents and redefine what “fashion” means.
Saturday, July 26, 2pm: Children & Teen Runway Fashion Show
According to Y’Anad, this is always one of the most popular shows. Let me hand it over to her: “The children’s show was always the one that just SHUT it down. People saw babies coming down the runway and just clapped and cheered!” It’s true: people love adorable kids in stylin’ duds. Evidence: