If you've been to a big show at New York Fashion Week, you know Gayle Dizon's work. She's the powerhouse behind Dizon, Inc., a 10-year-old event production company that organizes shows for the likes of Proenza Schouler, ADAM, and Thakoon. She also happens to be one of the nicest people I've ever met in the industry. People that work with her/have worked with her have nothing but good things to say--and that's a true test of success.
Gayle was gracious enough to answer our standard questions on how to succeed in fashion. We hope you learn something--we sure did! How did you get started? I came to NY right after college with the intention of working in fashion. Having gone through the summer intensive fashion design program at Parsons during college, I thought that I wanted to pursue design. Two days after arriving in NY I got lucky with my first interview, at Calvin Klein, and was offered a job there. I have Lynn Tesoro to thank for that! She interviewed me and that night I got a call to start on Monday. I was very hungry to learn and absorb everything I could. I quickly moved from answering phones, into PR, then into production of the shows, presentations, photo shoots, and the other special events. The close collaboration with the design team satisfied my interest in fashion design. I learned different ways to approach exhibiting and highlighting the clothes by working with all of the elements that excited me--styling, music, lighting, hair, make-up, casting. Calvin, especially during those years, was a great place to learn the entire business. I had the fortune of being able to work with phenomenal talents like Zack Carr, Narciso Rodriguez, Jessica Weinstein, Joe McKenna, Lori Goldstein, Melanie Ward--the list goes on. It was the most inspiring and creative group of people you could imagine. And learning the intricacies of the industry with the Calvin team and through the perspective of a fashion house that has such a clear and cohesive vision was amazing. That immersion in a world that is so focused in brand identity still helps to inform how I approach the projects I work on now. Name one quality that contributed to your success. I think a constant need to learn something new has been the key. I'm very inquisitive and am inspired by new experiences and concepts. I find that it's often the least obvious detail or fragment of a new piece of art or movie that resonates and works its way into what we do, so I really try to absorb as much of what is happening in art, music, film as possible. This job requires constant research in all of those disciplines and really, in all things cultural. It's really great when I can use some odd reference like the puff of liquid nitrogen in molecular gastronomy to inspire a lighting moment.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to an aspiring runway/event producer trying to make it in the industry? Assist! It is vital to have experience working in the different facets of the industry in order to understand the big picture. The runways are where everything comes together. Study all of the talent--stylists, hair, make-up, set and lighting designers--understand how clothes work and move, get familiar with fabric, know who the models are and the story that a casting can communicate about a collection or a brand, and most of all, learn how to organize all the information!