2013 ushered in the conception and birth of Fashion Forward, a movement designed and built by two visionaries, Kandis Isom and Sarah Hairston. As both ladies are “on fire for fashion,” they sought a tangible way to embody their vision. Fueled by dreams of helping fashion creatives reach their goals, they have carefully molded their ideas into a thriving business endeavor.
With the heart of one who seeks to help others grow, Isom describes their motivation behind this venture: “We want to give emerging models an outlet to showcase their talent and emerging boutiques a platform to showcase their collections.” And as such, they have watched, through parent-like eyes, the progression of a model who initiated his career on a Fashion Forward stage now signing with Wilhelmina in Los Angeles. They have helped people “Dress to Impress” buy giving them tips such as the Groom+Style’s top 10 watches under $200, which can complete their look. They have watched the progression of a local stylist rooted in their events now a coiffeuse for Midwest Fashion Week. These and all of the other testimonials are a direct result of their foundational mantra, “Involve, Emerge, Evolve,” by which they sift through the community to discover arriving talent.
Hairston and Isom have proven to be inspirations as “two women who are [actively] going after what they love.” In doing so, they have created opportunities to connect with other people who love fashion and the like. One more facet of their vision is fulfilled with this as they strive to create, engage in, and perpetuate personal relationships.
Striving to become the next global dernier cri, Black Girl Majestic spring boarded Fashion Forward into that direction. Held at the Tube Factory, a socially engaged art lab on Indianapolis’ south side, Black Girl Majestic set out to explore the many terrains that the black woman must tread throughout her life’s journey. From party to playful, from professional to proud, model after model strutted through the venue, garbed in high fashion and confidence. Natural hairdos crowned the pure regalia that was stitched in the fiber of each woman’s being. Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” piped through the former milk house as representations of royalty glided down the aisles.
Immediate crowd feedback held common sentiments of inspiration, positivity, and creative genius. This was undoubtedly fruit of the chemistry that the ambitious duo shares. In working together consistently, they’ve realized that they are the same wavelength. Yet from possessing differencing perspectives, their authenticity can be felt in the atmosphere during and after their events.
The Isom-Hairston force is taking a short breather after Black Girl Majestic to narrow down the connection-building events that they would like to organize next. From small scale interactive events to big clothing swaps with styling tips, Fashion Forward fans and supporters can anticipate another wave of innovation and empowerment in the future.
“I just love planning shows and knowing that we’re going to create something beautiful,” Hairston remarked with eagerness, “it’s not about us; it’s about making the show come to life.”