Arts & Culture
Una Noche en la Gloria’s Funky Foundation
Published: October 9, 2013
“I made the mistake of getting there late,” he said via phone. “I didn’t get the space I wanted. I was setting up while people were in full swing.”
The spot he did find didn’t get much traffic at all and it resulted in poor sales. In fact, none. “I never made that mistake again,” he said. He grabbed his preferred spot the next year and sold some pieces.
“I like organizing chaos,” Velasquez admitted. For him, the true test is to see artists like Chavez learn from their mistakes and rid themselves of old self-defeating habits in an effort to reach the next level of their careers.
Cuellar said he needed to look beyond the fashion to see that what the runway aspect was really doing was inspiring people. This year, many of his designs will be recycled.
“Repurposed, reused fabric … Reimagined from things that are already out there. We don’t need to produce more stuff. That’s what we’re teaching them,” he said, adding that he’ll be working with six designers this year and “a lot of egos.”
It’s easy to assume that Cuellar’s fashion show is the centerpiece of the event, which, by Velasquez’s estimate attracts up to 7,000 visitors through the course of the six hours of programming. Runway en la Calle, produced on Guadalupe Street this year, is the final event. Like an early cast photo of television’s Friends, the fact that Jennifer Aniston just happened to be in the middle might be an accurate comparison of billing and placement. Again, this is all business stuff.
With a quiet laugh, Cuellar dropped his head.
“I try not to be Jennifer Aniston,” he said. “We are the last thing that happens at La Gloria. We are OK with that, but I know that it’s hard for some of the musicians who work just as hard as we do ... poets and performing artists ... and they’re almost our opening act in a sense.”
Runway en la Calle does have a broad appeal. Chavez, the visual artist, agrees.
“It’s one of the most legitimate events put out for San Antonio. It’s top-notch,” he said.
“I like fashion that makes me laugh,” Cuellar said. “It’s so outrageous and so over the top that it couldn’t possibly be couture [or] high-end but it is. I find that genius.”
Although Cuellar is given free rein artistically, he did find a learning curve when his working relationship with Velasquez began.
“We needed to up [the runway show] a bit and that was probably the biggest struggle that I had with him. We needed to create a certain look ... so that we could be taken seriously and not be looked at as just another attempt at something that it’s not,” Cuellar explained.
One year the runway that arrived was entirely made of plastic.
“It was Lucite and I didn’t get it. Lucite? It doesn’t make sense,” said Cuellar.
Since then, Cuellar says they’ve both learned working together is a give and take. He praised Velasquez for noting the issues and problems of each Una Noche and making those items goals to overcome for the next year with corporate-speak phrases like, “How can I help you make that happen?”