It’s a widely known fact that influencers get a ton of free stuff. Gifting or “seeding,” as it’s often called, is even more common around Los Angeles’ “seasons,” — no, not spring and summer, but awards, pilot and, of course, festival.
In the weeks leading up to weekend one of Coachella, hotels in West Hollywood are full of TikTokers and other creators wearing Neon Carnival wristbands and carrying around massive bags full of gifting suite loot.
These suites aren’t new — they’ve been around since Paris Hilton was being photographed outside of Kitson. But in the past few years, it’s become commonplace for select influencers and media to be invited into a showroom, decked-out hotel penthouse or even a multi-million dollar mansion to basically shop an agency’s brands for free. The idea is that these people will wear the clothes (or makeup, accessories, etc.) and tag them on Instagram and TikTok, providing free content for the brands participating.
Adee Drexler, founder and CEO of Infinity Creative Agency (ICA), has been putting on “ICA House” since 2021 in big, experiential spaces. This year, ICA instead invited friends, influencers and media into its 20,000-square foot Downtown Los Angeles office and showroom. It was more pared down than previous off-site events, but not without rosé flowing and racks and racks of clothes and tables of beauty products.
“I think it was really important for people to see where the brands are housed, how we housed them, how they’re displayed, and then having their rep there walking you through the brand,” Drexler says of bringing the “house” indoors. “I think that although these houses are cool, not everything needs to be an event.” Her VIP clients, she explains, like to come in and just get clothes without having to get their picture taken for a media blast.
ICA reps brands such as Quay, Betsey Johnson, Cult Gaia and Alo; each has a target list of who they’d love to dress. It’s ICA’s job to get the clothes in front of those people, and festival season has become an important time to make this happen.
“Fashion became such a big part of Coachella, so for a lot of the brands, those are moments for them to shine when they get those placements,” Drexler says.
She and her team curate a list of influencers who have been working with the brand since it launched, new creators they want to help grow, supportive media and friends of the agency. Drexler is especially excited about new faces who sometimes even secure sponsored deals with brands they meet at the ICA showroom. Some brands, depending on budget, will have their own gifting suite separate from the event — for instance, Nasty Gal and Boohoo threw a gifting party at their showroom (complete with a bar and hair tinsel), while Cult Gaia had a VIP fitting event at its new retail store.
Lexi Pulling, CEO of Pull PR, planned both small showroom gifting suites and big “houses,” depending on the individual brand. For example, Billini Shoes, Gooseberry Intimates and Lioness came together in a pretty, neutral showroom in DTLA, while Aussie e-tailer Showpo threw a party in the Hollywood Hills with an open bar, glam stations and lots of dresses.