Los Angeles Fashion Week kicks off

LOS ANGELES The countdown is on to L.A.'s Fashion Week. Local designers will showcase their spring collections beginning later this week. It is a longstanding tradition that comes with a big economic impact for the city.

L.A. Fashion Week is big business, and not just for the local designers showcasing their latest creations.

This month's focus on fashion is expected to bring in $50 million to the city.

"Fashion is a $28 million industry, and it's the fourth largest basic industry in the region," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "More than 200,000 people are employed in work which involves designing, producing and selling."

The runways of today, full of models strutting their stuff, are a far cry from how Los Angeles Fashion Week started in the middle of the 20th century with a "press week" where fashion journalists could see the collections from Southern California designers.

Next week, more than 50,000 buyers and exhibitors are expected to turn out as they pick what you'll soon see in the stores.

This season, the city is helping highlight some of L.A.'s newest talent by sponsoring the first Emerging Designer Fashion Show.

ABC7's own Oscar night fashion critic Randolph Duke helped pick the three lucky winners.

"All I can say is fashion is alive and thriving in Los Angeles. We really saw some great stuff and was hard pressed to come up with the winners," said Duke.

The up-and-coming designers' creations will walk the runway next week at the height of L.A.'s fashion frenzy.

Some L.A. Fashion Week events begin later this week, but the big shows run from Oct. 12 through Oct. 31.

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