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In Their Own Fashion : Three Local Designers Answer the Question: Does Anybody Around Here Have Style?

April 29, 1993|AURORA MACKEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Yes sirree, ladies and gentlemen, it's time once again to play that wacky new game show, FREE ASSOCIATE! Take home cash and fabulous prizes just by telling us the first thing you think of when you hear one or more of our zany words! If it matches what's on our judges' list, you win!

Today's words are . . . Ventura County! Now, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Contestant No. 1: "Beaches?" (Bing Bing Bing) That's right! "Beaches" is on the list!

Contestant No. 2: "Strawberries?" (Bing Bing Bing) Yes, our judges will accept that! You also could have said agriculture!

Contestant No. 3: "Fashion?" (EERRRRGGGGG). Awwww, we're sorry. "Fashion" is not on the list. Our judges say there is no fashion in Ventura County. According to them, there is nothing fashionable about women in Lycra leggings with vice-grip tank tops that reveal K mart underwire lace tops or a couple of bra straps hanging out! And they see nothing stylish in men wearing years-old sweat shirts with ill-fitting polyester pants that reveal an altogether different kind of crack problem!

But wait! There seems to be some grumbling from our studio audience. Apparently, not everyone agrees with our panel of judges. Let's hear what some of our audience members have to say on the subject:

"We shouldn't be labeled as sloppy just because we don't dress like the Valley," says John Gonzales, 19, who works in a narly-gnarly Ventura surf shop, which he says sells really narly-gnarly clothes.

"In the Valley, they're too Hollywood, too L.A," he says. "We're just as fashionable as L.A., except we have our own style. I can't judge the style of older people here, but their kids are definitely cool."

Dolores Attaway, financial secretary for Poinsettia Parlor No. 318, the Ventura County arm of Native Daughters of the Golden West, likewise takes exception to the county's reputation as fashionably clueless. And she dismisses critics who say most county residents seem to eschew dressing up and show up in better restaurants and even at the opening night of the Ventura County Symphony in shorts and sandals or jeans and tennis shoes.

"I don't appreciate people saying we have no class here. I resent it," she says. "I'm 71 and I love to dress up to go to church or special functions, and so do the women in our organization. When we go to our meetings we wear slacks, but when we go out we are all dressed up.

"Of course, I do think we need more stores than we have," she adds. "There's a Sears and a Montgomery Ward--oh yes, and the Broadway and J.C. Penney. But it might be nice to maybe have a Buffums."

Clearly, we have a problem here. So we're going to do something unusual: We're going to let our audience--and all of you at home--take a look at what's behind our three Ventura County Fashion Doors.

You'll meet three local designers, each of whom caters to a different fashion market--from surfers and skateboarders to the understatedly elegant to royalty on both sides of the Pacific.

You'll hear about the people who wear their clothes, and where they go when they're wearing them.

And then, you be the judge.

Is there, or isn't there, fashion in Ventura County?

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