Often, when I sit down to write, my brain just freezes. Kind of one of those moments when it takes forever to write a simple paragraph. My secret is that I often go to one of my favorite apps on my phone: my TED application. I encourage everyone to develop some sort of familiarity with TED and check out the online videos from some of the planet’s most forward-thinking individuals. The other day, I watched a video that inspired me to ask:
Can Indianapolis support a competitive fashion environment?
I was watching a TED video where a gentleman was discussing perspective. He was presenting an interactive children’s book for the iPad at the TED conference . He started demonstrating the book by reading the first page. The illustration showed a young child taking a bath before bed. Then the parents were introduced as two men. The creator of the app then shared that if you weren’t satisfied with two men as the parents of the young child that you could shake the iPad. The page was reset and new parents walked into the screen. This time the parents were introduced as two women. You shake the app. Again, the page resets and a man and women enter as the parents. The creator of the app then discussed why it was important for him to make the story interchangeable in such a way. He then discussed his theory of perception and how it relates to other ideas formulated by humans. How did I get to the question that I asked earlier? Well, I started to think about my perception of collaboration and competition.
I respect the value that competition has in business, and especially within the fashion industry. I understand that competition can create growth. I understand all of the benefits of competition. The question I presented was “Can Indianapolis support a competitive fashion environment”? My perspective is that NO Indianapolis cannot, right now. I know some people will disagree and some will agree. My intention in asking this question is to spur dialogue and an awareness of where Indianapolis is now (and where, as a community of fashion professionals, we would like to see Indianapolis).
I think that eventually Indianapolis will be able to support a competitive fashion environment. The environment here in Indianapolis is still developing. What if we changed our business perspective? What if, instead of growth through competition, we experimented with the idea of growth through collaboration? What kind of growth would then be possible if there was a change in thinking?
Think about other animals and the ways they secure survival or develop complex societies. Scientist have found very large and detailed cities built by ants in different jungles. It wasn’t one ant trying to do it alone. Zebras use collaborative efforts to protect their population from animals wanting to eat them. Yes, I did use dramatic animal references to support the idea of building a fashion environment through collaboration instead of focusing on competing with each other.
The idea sounds very utopian. I agree. The thought of everyone working together, working towards creating a larger good is very storybook-like. Imagine what the possibilities are in a collaborative environment. Fashion events would be produced by a cross-section of individuals and organizations, whose sole goal is promoting the fashion environment of Indianapolis. Ponder how great it would be in your portfolio, if you were one of the members who produced a large fashion event that got some real press. I imagine it would be valued much higher then an event you self-produced because you wanted to promote yourself. The only way to get some serious recognition for the incredible talent that resides in Indianapolis is if the fashion community starts producing some higher quality events that gets some real press recognition. More collaboration within our community is needed from diverse segments.
Once the foundation for the Indianapolis fashion environment is set, then positive competition can begin. There are many positive factors in favor of developing this foundation. The fashion community is relatively small (and the fashion-focused social media sector is even smaller). The opportunity to network and collaborate is as perfect as it’s ever been. And this is all without mentioning the significant number of people who are serious about creating a thriving fashion culture in Indianapolis and would appreciate a collaborative project. There are people around Indianapolis who share a vision of what a thriving fashion environment in Indianapolis would look like.
Connect on Twitter and different Meetup events around Indianapolis. Get out and socialize and start dialogue. You might find more people who love the idea of collaboration -they’re just looking for the right people to share their vision with. So, to Indianapolis I say, Watch out! I feel there are people working on some things that are about to bump up the fashion environment. Hope you’re ready.
(Do you agree or disagree with my commentary? Please lets continue the dialogue by leaving a comment below, by attending a Pattern event, or of course you can follow me @_jeremiah_ … can’t wait to see how you feel!)