Rosanna Ortiz, founder and CEO of StyleWeek, LLC, created the company in 2009 as a platform for connecting emerging design talent with buyers and media. Her public relations and marketing background led her from Estee Lauder, Monster.com, Origins, and Anheuser Busch to shoe designer Franco Sarto, where Rosanna honed her skills in the fashion industry. From there, she kept her head and heart in style and design, working as a fashion editor and blogger for a Boston-based magazine for 5 years.
Originally from the West Coast, Ortiz moved first to Boston and then to Providence. With its small size, but substantial design community, Providence is a good place for fashion, according to Ortiz. She was chosen as one of the eleven people to watch in 2011 by The Providence Journal, and was named one of Providence Business News’ “40 Under 40″ in 2012.
With a focus on business and brand development, StyleWeek features runway fashion shows and community-wide events, showcasing more than 70 designers since its inception – some ‘veterans’ have been participating for the past 10 seasons. And StyleWeek is one of the few regional fashion weeks which has been acknowledged by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
Much like a small business incubator, StyleWeek provides a professional trade setting for clothing, jewelry and accessories designers to get their best stuff out into the community. “This is a trade event in what is a multi-billion dollar industry,” says Ortiz, who takes the company motto seriously – “Regional talent, global vision.”
Ortiz has been the moving force behind its expansion and growth: from a single, three-day event to upwards of 16 days annually spread over three separate weeks of the fashion seasons. “Rosanna has done this amazing job of putting Providence on the map,” says Amanda Doumato, owner of Flaunt Boutique. “I’m awed by her!”
The bulk of the organization’s revenue is generated by ticket sales and sponsorships. Currently assisted by a band of loyal volunteers, Ortiz hopes to bring her staff on as full-time, paid employees, enabling her to eventually create a fashion-industry trade show and convention in Providence, tremendously increasing the economic impact of StyleWeek.
“We want to take designers and teach them what to do with their brand,” says Ortiz.