Out lesbian heads LA Fashion but does not conform to labels
By Kania Hayes | GSD Reporter
Los Angles Fashion Week is not only about fashion. It is also about Mikey Koffman, the female force responsible for turning the West Coast fashion event into a reality. Taking place March 12 – 18, Koffman’s contribution to the fashion industry in Southern California rests solely on Koffman’s can-do personality.
Koffman’s response to a question about her sexuality—“I’m a lesbian? That’s news to me,” she said, laughing—gives credence to the fact that while her work involves almost nothing but labels, on a personal note, she hates them.
“Definitely I’m not a person for labels. There’s so much more to my story,” Koffman said. “Oddly enough, my sexuality is actually the last thing I think about myself. When I think about me and my life, I constantly think about the things I can improve about me personally, more so than a label.”
She added, “I really think the whole label thing and… people trying to figure out who you are is really all about them, and not about us.”
As a former custom motorcycle builder and owner of a motorcycle shop in Long Beach, Calif., Koffman said she always strives to break molds. She moved into the Los Angeles fashion scene by founding The Gallery Los Angeles, a marketing and events production company that started the weeklong event in 2005. Currently, The Gallery produces Los Angeles Fashion Weekend, the culminating showcase in the city’s Fashion Week.
Koffman’s Weekend event is being held at the Sunset Gower Studios, March 16 – 18, with the official after-party at SKYBAR at the Mondrian Los Angeles Hotel. This year, Koffman teamed up with KTLA-TV to broadcast the event, marking the first time a major fashion industry event would be available live.
“Going live is completely a part of my inherent personality,” Koffman said of her rebelliousness. “It’s kind of a big deal because not even New York fashion week, or any other fashion weeks, broadcast live. [T]he reason being is that they are so afraid that there is going to be a mistake made, that the whole world would see,” she said.
It is this aspect of her personality that is largely what has made Koffman successful. Koffman grew up as the “only white kid in the projects” of LA, she said, and it is her self-assuredness and little need for outside approval that seem to be the force that helps her swim against the currents of conformity.
Koffman said she has experienced more difficulties trying to work with fashion companies that are run by gay males, adding that her biggest challenge was “not being taken seriously by what you would consider your own kind,” she said. “You know, it’s kind of funny because I thought I was a gay man,” she said.
“Sad to say, but there’s still a lot of division within our community,” she said, but through her accomplishments, Koffman has shown how she thrives on challenges and obstacles and she is eager to shatter whatever expectations the world tries to place on her.
“Clearly whatever I’m going to do in this lifetime, I’m going to break all of the molds,” she said. In doing that, Koffman is a one-woman revolution, leading the pack by being less of someone who can be placed into a box and more of a woman who does not care what anyone else may want her to be.
“We’re going to go out and kick ass,” she said of this month’s Fashion Weekend. “We’re going to do the best we can, and if people want to judge us and say negative things about us, that’s fine but there’s a lot more people out there saying great things about us.”
Koffman said the events are responsible for showcasing up-and-coming designers and providing them with a platform to be exposed to the marketplace at large and to have their designs made accessible for the everyday consumer. For more information about Koffman’s Fashion Weekend visit losangelesfw.com or fashionweekla.com.