2015 was a blur, but we got a lot done! As Indy’s only organization advocating on behalf of Central Indiana fashion and maker communities, last year we reached over 20,000 people through our events, partnerships, retail storefront, workshop, magazine, website and social media presence. We have continued to offer educational, and networking opportunities to our creative community, as well as a chance at international exposure via our publication and website.
One of our most gratifying ongoing accomplishments has been working alongside community partners IndyHub, Downtown Indy, Inc, IndyChamber, and VisitIndy to help redefine the Indy brand as that of a city on the cusp of greatness, filled with creative opportunities, and supportive of innovation and diversity on all levels.
Some highlights from 2015:
- Ruckus: Our two+ years long journey of stumping for makerspaces finally resulted in a partnership that secured funding for creating Indy’s biggest makerspace with focus on woodworking, metalworking and textiles. Our team had hoped to launch late last year, but the size and complexity of the project has meant that launch date has been pushed back to mid-2016. Still happenin’ though!
- Meetups: Between Ruckus, the workshop and the magazine, we had to cut back on the meetups, but we made sure to make each one count! We were especially delighted to host Victor Lytvinenko and Sarah Yarborough, founders of nationally known denim brand Raleigh Denim Workshop, as well as Louisville fashion designer Gunnar Deatherage of the Project Runway fame, attracting almost 400 people over the four events.
- National ADDY awards: Pattern Magazine editorial team was thrilled to receive national recognition via Silver ADDY awards for both vol. 5 and vol. 6 in the Magazine Design category, once again proving that Indianapolis is a hotbed of badass talent and our design team and contributors are rockstars!
- Sports Issue, vol. 7: We were honored to have Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan on the cover of our 7th issue and to partner with IndyCar, REV, Indianapolis Motor Speedway & title sponsor, Felix & Iris, to host over 300 people to celebrate its launch. Bonus: Local designer, Cathy Fritsch designed the outfits worn by IndyGirls!
- Maker issue, vol. 8: We dedicated our 8th issue to Makers and the Maker Movement in order to celebrate all the amazing artisans living and working in Central Indiana. Our launch was held at the beautiful Biltwell Event Center with almost 200 people in attendance and sponsored by Moyer Jewelry.
- Pattern Store: The store continued to serve as a hub for events and networking, as well as showcasing local brands, and educating the community about the importance of local, small batch manufacturing.
- Pattern Workshop: In August we launched a maker co-op with four makers inside our Mass Ave space. We also shrank our inventory of national brands in favor of carrying more local brands. Since launching the Workshop, we have hosted a number of maker-focused events from Kickstarter launches, to Maker Monday to Manufacturing Day, attracting over 500 visitors.
- IndyxNYC: In the spring a team of Pattern Magazine contributors traveled to NYC to interview young Hoosiers living in NYC, and to shoot some fashion editorials for the Maker Issue of Pattern Magazine. It was a fantastic opportunity to connect with the global fashion community of New York, and to introduce them to Pattern and Indianapolis.
- IndyxLA: In December, a team of Pattern Magazine contributors traveled to LA with the same agenda as we had for NYC. To meet cool Hoosier expats, network like it’s going out of style, and get some beautiful fashion editorials for the Spring issue. Check, check and check!
- 501 c3: After 5 years of running our funding through fiscal sponsors, we pulled the trigger and filed for our own 501 c 3 exemption status. This is an exciting development which will allow us to apply for more and bigger grants. Fingers crossed that comes through sooner rather than later!
- Graduate Assistant: We were very fortunate to partner with Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and secure our very first graduate assistant, Katie Lee, who has been instrumental with helping us file the 501 c3 application. Katie will be with us through spring, and will be working with us on fundraising and donor relations.
- We provided internship opportunities to almost twenty students from IUPUI, Ball State, Purdue, Anderson University, Indiana U, Butler, and Art Institute in programs ranging from fashion design, fashion merchandizing, public relations, journalism, creative writing, graphic design, photography, marketing and communications.
All credit for our numerous accomplishments goes to dozens of people, from our dedicated and amazing volunteers, to our Board to college interns and community partners & sponsors. These fine people have kept Pattern and myself resolutely marching on instead of throwing in the towel many moons ago.
I won’t pretend otherwise and tell you it’s been easy sailing – the trick with doing what Pattern is doing in a city where many people have not heard of the “maker movement”, can’t grasp the incredible value of seriously investing in young arts/culture organizations or tend to think of “fashion” as a simple descriptor for runway shows and weird looking clothing, is that’s it’s an uphill battle each and every day. Occasionally it becomes draining to be fighting for something that is fully embraced and encouraged in cities not but a few hours drive away, but Pattern is committed to continuing to serve this city and its established and up-and-coming creatives.
So what are we planning for 2016? It promises to be another hectic, adventure-filled year!
- We are placing even more emphasis on our Workshop co-op, by shrinking the retail portion and seeking out additional makers to join us in our Mass Ave space. Interested in applying? Here’s the application! What’s the purpose of the co-op? Beyond the obvious goal of helping incubate small, creative businesses, there are a couple of others: First, we are testing some approaches to co-working, and makerspace programming. The outcomes will be used to create the best possible experience for future Ruckus users, and second, we are starting to do some hands-on research into the feasibility of Indianapolis having a real, bonafide fashion incubator! Yeah! That one is still a pipe dream, but it’s a road we feel compelled to explore for at least the next 12 months and see where it takes us.
- We have two more great Pattern Magazine issues planned for you! Our spring/summer issue will be focusing on Youth Culture in Indy and beyond. Are you a photographer and interested in submitting? Check out this issue’s guidelines! Oh, and not a subscriber yet? What are you waiting for?? Do it now! It’s $30 for the two issues, which means that the shipping is free!
- We’ve heard feedback that you want us to get back to doing more meetups, and we’re going to do just that! In January, in anticipation of our Youth Culture issue, we’ll be hosting a panel to discuss the challenges facing young creatives growing up and going to school in Central Indiana. Sign up to get notified when registration opens for this event. We’re also planning meetups around the topics of Fashion Journalism, Working with Showrooms, and e-commerce.
- We will continue building stronger relationships with Central Indiana college programs and to host college interns to offer them unique learning opportunities and perhaps a reason to stay in Indy beyond their graduation date. 😉
There is a whole lot more on the Pattern to-do list, but I don’t want to give it all away. A lot of projects on the list ride on our ability to raise funding and hire a couple of full-time employees. It is time!
I am so grateful for the financial support we have received Riley Area Development Corporation, CICF, PNC Bank, Eskenazi Health, & Downtown Indy, Inc! Without these organizations believing in our mission, we wouldn’t be where we are! That said, we could certainly use a lot more support! So if you are in a position to support an organization like ours, and by extension our incredibly diverse, but underserved community of creatives, please consider doing so! Whether it’s a one time donation, an ongoing sponsorship, an ad buy in our publication or a donation of equipment and supplies to our co-op, I promise that your resources will be put to good use!
Many, many thanks to anyone reading this who has had a direct or indirect hand in helping our organization grow and achieve so much with so little! I look forward to sharing an exciting 2016 with everyone who loves fashion, entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, diversity and this great little city of Indianapolis!