End of year round table with some of Indy’s finest

I wanted to close out 2011 with a round table chat with some of the finest local fashion industry professionals.  I love hearing different perspectives from within the local fashion culture. I invited a Photographer, Writer, Curator, Creative Director, and a Boutique Owner to my round table.  I appreciate the participation from those invited to the round table. I hope that the different perspectives affirm that fact that there is a growing culture of not just fashion lovers but true fashion professionals here in Indianapolis. I wanted to find out their thoughts about the local fashion industry from the past year, and their thoughts on the trends for 2012. Short bios and links for invited contributors are listed after our chat.

What has been the project that you were most proud of working on in 2011?

OSHEROV: Professionally, I was thrilled to have the opportunity of shooting a national product campaign with Kenra. Personally, I’ve worked on several projects in 2011 that were a lot of fun and creatively fulfilling. One of those which I particularly enjoyed is called Motel Catalina. My team and I shot it for Pattern Indy.

BAILEY: I became a full-time freelancer in February of 2011 and started covering the style section for Indianapolis Monthly in October. It’s great to see all the hard work you put into something, that ends up in a beautiful glossy pages of a magazine!

SLINKARD: Curating an exhibition at the University of Northern Iowa on the wearable art group, Friends of the Rag, in conjunction with a lecture presented at the Costume Society of America’s Midwest region symposium and annual meeting.

JAIMES: The house of 5th AW 12/13 collection. I started working on it this year and so far I’m pleased with the evolution of the brand. It is still not a 30 piece collection, but I feel that the smaller amount of pieces we have are a true expression of our lifestyle.

ELYSE: I have never been happier than when I started my shop [The Snappy Dresser]. It’s something I never thought I’d do, and it has been an amazing experience.

This past year how has your perspective of Indianapolis’ fashion culture been affected?

OSHEROV: Being involved with Pattern, you might say, I’ve had the front seat view in a lot of ways. There have been ups and downs and certainly, there’s a fair bit of two steps forward, one step back scenarios, but overall, I am encouraged by what I’ve been observing. There is definitely a growing interest in fashion and style.

BAILEY: Earlier this year, before I was freelancing for them, Indianapolis Monthly shot a photo to accompany a brief story about local fashion/style writers. It was me, Jenny Elig (Who previously covered fashion for the Indianapolis Star) and Gabrielle Poshadlo (who covered fashion/business for the IBJ and is behind the blog Haute in the Heartland). Both women have since left their positions, and neither of the respective publications have filled their spots. The local main-stream media is less interested in covering fashion than ever and this something the fashion culture needs to recognize.

SLINKARD: The culture is no longer crawling, but has legs – with each step, I see a community that is proactive and influential.

JAIMES: It started off a bit bleak, but I can honestly say that I feel there has been a new energy that is positive and respectful. I’m seeing new players enter the market every day with thoughtful strategies. I feel that Indy’s first step was the creation side of fashion and I’m excited to see so many designers and businesses moving toward the next step, the business of fashion. We’re still an emerging market and have a long way to go, but I’m very hopeful with what I’ve seen the past few months.

ELYSE: This past year has been quite the year. All sorts of industry types have come out of the woodwork and began networking. It’s great, but has been a little messy, now at the end of this year it’s been taking more shape – I have to say I’m excited about the progress and potential.

What lesson do you hope the fashion community takes with them into 2012?

OSHEROV: We have many, many lessons to learn in Indy! First, I really, REALLY hope that people will continue supporting the idea of having a strong fashion community. There will be time to be competitive and perhaps, territorial. NOW, is NOT that time. With that thought in mind, I want to challenge the independent boutique owners to really step up their game and get involved. Second, it would be amazing if local consumers of fashion, all those fashion conscious guys and gals, develop a voice and start demanding better selection in stores, better quality from local designers and enter the conversation of how they can be served better as a consumer. And last, but not least, and more long-term hope is that in the next 24-36 months the industry becomes more professional. Nothing wrong with DIY and having a small operation, it’s just that your marketing and your attitude can’t be DIY. If you are in the business of “image” and your website looks like it was created in 2001 and the images on your website look like they’ve been taken by a relative with a point and shoot, I’m sorry, but you will not be taken seriously.

BAILEY: I think a lot of people thought it was as easy as saying, “I work in fashion” and so it was…which we know is not the case at all. It’s a cut-throat industry wherever you are in the world and Indianapolis is no different. You have to work hard and strive to create original and quality work. If you’re not willing to do that, you’re in the wrong field.

SLINKARD: How to dispense and take constructive criticism, without it, there is only mediocrity.

JAIMES: That just like in any market, competition is good because it attracts more consumers. Consumers like choices. You’ve probably seen a Burger King or similar establishment on a lonely intersection and statistically it will flounder by itself, but slap a McDonalds, Wendy’s or Kroger on that lonely intersection next to it and they’ll boom. The consumer market loves well planned businesses, with proper resources and competition.

ELYSE: That working in fashion isn’t just art, it’s a business, and industry.

What is the fashion event that you hope happens in Indianapolis next year?

OSHEROV: If Fashion’s Night Out happens again in 2012, I really hope that it’s a huge hit locally. Indianapolis has been really slow on the uptake, but I believe that 2012 could change all that. It’s such a great idea and would be so good for local fashion retailers, large and small.

BAILEY: Actually, there’s a fashion –related event that I’m working on…although unfortunately I can’t share details yet! I would, however, like to see Indianapolis do Fashion’s Night Out big (and properly) this year.

SLINKARD: City wide clothing swap & IMA bi-annual fashion show

JAIMES:More fashion shows targeting regional and national media and buyers would be a wonderful addition to already existing fashion focused events. Fashion shows are a marketing tool and I would love to see more scheduled on track with the larger fashion community and with attendees who can help us continue to grow our local brands. As a local fashion community the goal of pushing the fashion industry timeline forward needs to be in the forefront or we’ll end up nowhere fast, as far as anyone industry outside of Indy is concerned.

ELYSE: I hope that a fashion week that is closer to industry standard begins to take shape, whether it’s changes by MWFW – or a new one is began – it needs to change so that we can be taken seriously.

How do you plan on participating in the evolution of the Indianapolis fashion culture in 2012?

OSHEROV: I’m already committed for 2012 to be part of the team helping organize the monthly pattern meet-ups and of course I will continue to shoot fashion stores for the Pattern website.

BAILEY: I’m going to continue to cover local fashion as much as possible in the media realm and continue to encourage that the bar be raised constantly. I think applauding mediocrity does everyone a disservice.

SLINKARD: Remain active, vocal, and supportive

JAIMES: Foremost I’m working on growing House of 5th to become a stronger Indy based national brand. I feel that Indy’s evolution will come from our collective success stories and supporting each other along the way. I love the Pattern meetings because it is helping to create a dialogue and there is no better way to evolve as an industry than to learn from the mistakes and success stories of each other.

ELYSE: Having a new store, I hope to become more involved again with the local scene. Joining a wonderful host of other independent boutique owners, I hope to help bring awareness to the independent shops all over the city.

 

What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone who would say: “There is no fashion in Indianapolis”?

OSHEROV: Well, I would certainly set them straight. Our industry is not highly sophisticated and yes, we do have more of a DIY vibe than anything else at the moment, but to say that we have no fashion? Well, that’s a bit pessimistic, isn’t it? It takes time for these things to grow and develop and it takes the support of both the community and the city officials to make that happen. The sooner folks in Indy and surrounding counties get on board with the idea of a local fashion industry instead of scoffing, the quicker will the industry evolve.

BAILEY: There’s fashion everywhere!

SLINKARD: You are not paying attention.

JAIMES: Indy is an emerging market and fashion is here, but it is just taking baby steps right now. You may have to look a little harder but our fashion offerings are growing each day. To rip a good runway you have to have fallen a few times so you know what to look out for on the runway. I recently heard Nikki Sutton at an IMA sponsored round table say she wished more people would take chances in Indy. It immediately stuck in my head and I’ve paid more attention to the people taking chances lately and have a growing respect for their trail blazing efforts in Indy.

ELYSE: I would tell them to stop going to the mall and Wal-mart – if they started shopping locally they might find that the one with no individual style is themselves. Indy has style in it, just not everyone in Indy has style.

************
Biography and links to my round table contributors:

POLINA OSHEROV (@posherov): Polina Osherov is a commercial and editorial fashion & portrait photographer. Osherov is also a founding member of Pattern Indy.

LESLIE BAILEY (@lesalina): Leslie Bailey is a freelance writer, cultural observer, and self-deprecating blogger on lesalina.com. Bailey is also a contributor to the Pattern Indy blog.

PETRA SLINKARD: Petra Slinkard is a Curatorial Associate of Textile and Fashion Arts/European Painting and Sculpture to 1945, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

TRUEN JAIMES (@truenjaimes): Truen Jaimes is the Creative Director for House of 5th, an urban luxury lifestyle brand. Jaimes is also a founding member of Pattern Indy.

KAITLIN ELYSE (@Kaitlinelysecom): Kaitlin Elyse is the owner of The Snappy Dresser boutique in Fountain Square. Elyse also has experience as a stylist.

 

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4 Comments

  • I am a frequent traveller between Indianapolis and New York City. I graduated from High School and moved on to pursue a fashion education but still return to visit my family. At first, I was really excited to see Indy grow and stumbled upon this group after seeing some press.

    When I saw the title referring to “indy’s Finest,” I had to check it out! Polina’s work on this website has been great and I am really impressed by it, I ran through Leslie Bailey’s blog but I’m not familiar with her work and I admire the information given from someone that works in an establishment like The Indianapolis Museum of Art.

    However, this article shows why Indy is having some trouble growing past it’s cornfield roots. Truen Jaimes claims to be a Creative Director, but all I’ve seen is the same things on his website the past 6 months. I saw a scarf in a newspaper clipping and wondered, “Is this all he does? Scarves?” How can you call yourself a creative director when you don’t put anything new out, show in any runways or actually sell in boutiques? I have heard much more about local designers that are actually pushing the envelope and I would much prefer to hear from areas that are not stagnant and out of date.

    I was home for Christmas and this article prompted me to check out “The Snappy Dresser.” It’s not a boutique, it’s a consignment booth in a gift shop. Are you toting that is the best Indy has to offer for shopping? The booth has only been open a short time and, it’s not even a registered business. Being a professional, I only support businesses that are doing things correctly. There is no EIN or state filing for “The Snappy Dresser” leading me to believe business is not being conducted legally. I’m dissapointed this article totes a second hand clothing booth that doesn’t even have an online website, a cash register in store or decent merchandise as the finest Indy has to offer.

    Maybe this is the reason Indy isn’t moving forward and people don’t care? Pattern should hold itself to standards of excellence and the selections for this panel do not indicate strength or a worthy representation of Indianapolis.

  • I am a frequent traveler between Indianapolis and New York City. I graduated from High School and moved on to pursue a fashion education but still return to visit my family. At first, I was really excited to see Indy grow and stumbled upon this group after seeing some press.

    When I saw the title referring to “indy’s Finest,” I had to check it out! Polina’s work on this website has been great and I am really impressed by it, I ran through Leslie Bailey’s blog but I’m not familiar with her work and I admire the information given from someone that works in an establishment like The Indianapolis Museum of Art.

    However, this article shows why Indy is having some trouble growing past it’s cornfield roots. As a creative director, Truen Jaimes has produced no new pieces in as long as I’ve been aware of his “line” which is around 7 months. I can’t even find boutique or merchant locations and his website does not indicate a strong line that is deserving of the title “Indy’s Finest.” A creative director should push the envelope and introduce new pieces every season with a strong desire to grow their line. If this is the strongest creative director in Indianapolis or the “finest,” Iindy fashion will not grow.

    I was home for Christmas and this article prompted me to check out “The Snappy Dresser.” It’s not a boutique, it’s a consignment booth in a gift shop. If I read this article and went to go visit this second hand resell booth, I would be sorely disappointed. If I was an out of town visitor seeing this and decided to drop in, I would wonder if this was really the finest Indy had to offer! I know, it happened to me!
    Why not ask to speak to some of your local boutique owners like Niche or Pitaya that have years of experience instead of a few months?

    Maybe this is the reason Indy isn’t moving forward and people don’t care? Pattern should hold itself to standards of excellence and the selections for this panel do not indicate strength or a worthy representation of Indianapolis. Indy, this is just not going to cut it! From one fashionista to another, the game needs to change!

    • Jennifer I would like to thank you for adding your perspective to the dialog, of exploring the fashion culture of Indianapolis. I have been told many times how much Pattern appreciates and encourages the feedback and dialog from the blog readers. I made a personal commitment to the Executive Editor of Pattern Indy, to write a weekly article for the blog. My intentions for each blog post is to write something that will continue a dialog among those involved or interested in the fashion culture of Indianapolis. The Pattern Indy blog is always looking for guest contributors. (Information is provided under the blog tab) The better the collaborative effort of different perspectives, the better to get a authentic perspective of the local fashion environment.

      Indianapolis has a diverse collective of legitimate fashion professionals, too many to invite for one singular post. Something I knew from the very beginning of writing the “round table”. I have had the opportunity to meet some very passionate people through the Pattern Meetups. I want nothing more than to highlight the passionate people that I meet, and look at how they are impacting the fashion environment of Indianapolis on any scale. I emailed a bunch of people that I thought were good candidates, the first 5 that responded, were featured. Perhaps, the title of my post was overly ambitious, but I meant well and certainly didn’t mean to imply that there aren’t many others who are worthy of being profiled and recognized.

      Thanks again for your comments!

  • I would like to share with Indianapolis why I think this article is detremental to your fashion scene. I graduated from an Indianapolis area highschool in 2004 and moved to New York City to pursue a Fashion Design degree. I always felt it was a good move until recently when I have started to become homesick. Seeing Indy blossom and become a beautiful city full of fashion and art has made me want to move back to that small town, but growing, location.

    I visited my mom for the holidays and like we do on my other frequent bi-monthly trips, we shopped, we went around town and we talked fashion, national and local which often uses your website to see whats new. After reading this, I was bored to hear the same thing and shocked at some of your panelists.

    As a creative director, Truen Jaimes has produced no new pieces in as long as I’ve been aware of his “line” which is around 7 months. I can’t even find boutique or merchant locations and his website does not indicate a strong line that is deserving of the title “Indy’s Finest.” A creative director should push the envelope and introduce new pieces every season with a strong desire to grow their line. If this is the strongest creative director in Indianapolis or the “finest,” Iindy fashion will not grow.

    You list Katelyn as a “boutique” owner. The Snappy Dresser is not a boutique, it is a consignment booth inside of a gift shop. If I read this article and went to go visit this second hand resell booth, I would be sorely dissapointed. If I was an out of town visitor seeing this and decided to drop in, I would wonder if this was really the finest Indy had to offer! I know, it happened to me!
    Why not ask to speak to some of your local boutique owners like Niche or Pitaya that have years of experience instead of a few months? Her boutique isn’t even a registered business which tells me she is operating a “store” and is not paying taxes on her sales or income. If that is the business Pattern supports, that is trouble.

    Jeremiah writes a lot of articles for this site, but who else writes? Where is the variety? What happened to everyone who used to write and has seemingly dropped off the face of the earth? I haven’t seen Leslie Bailey write anything for the site in a while. I enjoyed her blog but past fun musings, i don’t see the connection as a fashion writer or drawing attention to the Indianapolis passion.

    I think Petra Slinkard was an excellent choice as an Indianapolis Museum of Art executor and textile specialist, but you can tell from her answers she was bored with this interview. I want to hear more from that professional, strong, experienced voice.

    And I apologize but Polina, I don’t much of your work past this website.

    At least four of the five photographs look professional, but again, I seriously question how this panel was put together or if it was just friends pulling friends.

    Indy, this is just not going to cut it! From one fashionista to another, the game needs to change!

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