La Jolla

International Fashion Film Festival



The classic glamour of Hollywood film society has always paired splendidly with the pinnacle of haute couture fashion. Today, the new genre of the fashion film is considered by many to be the most integral part of a fashion brand’s advertising campaign. Among the palm-lined streets of sunny, coastal La Jolla, an important fashion and film festival has quickly evolved into what is described as the Cannes Film Festival meets New York Fashion Week. Those who appreciate great films as much as the stunning ensembles showcased within them, eagerly mark their calendars for the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival (LJIFFF), which takes place each year at the end of July.

      Chosen for its environmental similarities to that of Cannes, La Jolla’s moderate climate and dramatic setting, complements the beauty of the fashion industry and their films. It might be difficult not to be upstaged by some of the most picturesque Pacific coastline California has to offer, but the LJIFFF holds its own and continues to gain momentum and recognition as the largest gathering of fashion film professionals. This is no small feat considering just a decade ago, the concept of the fashion film didn’t exist the way it does today. What began as a novelty and means for only the most avant-garde fashion houses to surprise their audience while showcasing and marketing their freshest designs, quickly became a new standard for all designers.

      Now in its sixth year, the event takes place at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and draws a global audience of many highly respected names among the fashion and film industries. The festival is fueled by the remarkable short fashion films, created by talented directors worldwide. Fred Sweet, founder of the LJIFFF, felt these individuals deserved an outlet where they could be recognized for their efforts. “I have seen six minute fashion films more provoking and engaging than 90 minute feature films,” says Sweet. Early on, he anticipated the growth and success of this unique art movement.     

    Offering two days of film screenings, seminars lead by influential names in fashion and film, dazzling after-parties, press receptions, and an awards ceremony, the LJIFFF has all the defining characteristics of a high profile event. But what would a film festival be without a red carpet? LJIFFF’s red carpet affords guests and celebrities the chance to be interviewed by the world’s press. Also featured on the carpet, are a selection of garments and collection pieces from nominated films, displayed to showcase talented fashion designers’ creativity and craftsmanship. The LJIFFF has seen some exceptional highlights in past festivals such as hosting the world’s first Karl Lagerfeld fashion film retrospective with many of his early works.

      The films nominated for the LJIFFF award ceremony are chosen very carefully and thoughtfully. “We review over 11,000 films during the process,” says Sweet. “The final number of nominated films usually winds up around 75 screened over two days and all the big brands are represented along with the best and most creative directors.” With 15 award categories, the LJIFFF hosts one of the largest film festival juries to vote and
judge the films.

      Not just glitz and glamour, the festival also supports a worthy cause with its partner, the United Nations’ Ethical Fashion Initiative. This project connects micro-communities of artisans to the international value chain of ethical garment production. This group of ethically concerned and highly capable individuals are working to provide a fair wage for artisans in the developing world. Through their efforts, the designs of talented, but small-scale and slow producing artisans, are assisted in reaching a global market.

    Through the LJIFFF’s authenticity and an eclectic mix of attendees, from celebrities and European royalty to top film and fashion talent, this event continues to thrive and gain respect among discerning festival-goers.

text by Jennifer Moulaison