SUPPLY Charity Partner: The Gifted Gown

PATTERN’s 2019 SUPPLY tradeshow (previously known as the STREETExPO) took place on October 5. SUPPLY is the only streetwear and contemporary fashion trade show in Central Indiana. SUPPLY aims to serve as a conduit between brands, buyers, designers and fashion lovers continuing to bring attention to Indy’s fashion aspirations and talent. To learn more about the event, visit the SUPPLY info page here. SUPPLY will be back in August of 2020.

This year we were thrilled to have The Gifted Gown as SUPPLY’s charity partner. We chatted with the organization’s Executive Director, Julia Rutland about her plans and goals for The Gifted Gown in the near future.

Where did your love of fashion & clothing begin?
Since birth I’ve known that fashion would be a part of my life in some capacity. I love and appreciate the creative process from the inception of an idea through production and all of the relationships I get to establish in between. It’s literally like breathing to me. 

Tell us a bit more about your work with The Gifted Gown and who you serve.
We provide formal wear to our community, free of charge, for any type of special occasion.  We’re an all volunteer organization and work by appointment only.  We didn’t begin as a non-profit organization – we started with a need that was brought to us that needed filled and we wanted to be the ones to help fill it.  We work with nearly every school system in Indiana and we also work with local organizations to reach as many people who need help as possible.  And, of course, anyone who is referred to us or hears about us via social media can make an appointment as well.  There are no age or demographic limits so if you can get to us we are here to serve.  Some examples of events we’ve been lucky to help with are Senior Citizen Proms, TransGlam, school proms, weddings, quinceaneras, semi-formal dances, Zoobilation, The Damien Center’s Masquerade Ball, and so many more!!!!

How many dresses & suits do you currently have in inventory?
We have over 2700 gowns and over 200 suits!  Plus jewelry, ties, shoes, nail polish, handbags, etc.!

What’s behind the name of your organization?
When you “gift” someone something it means so much more than just giving them something – when something is “gifted” it is done with thought and love and that’s what we want our guests to feel when they come to us.   

What is your favorite part about running a non-profit?
Founding a non-profit organization means that we belong to the entire community and I have the honor of overseeing how the organization runs which has become one of my reasons for living. Bringing joy to others by gifting them beautiful items for special occasions which they may not have been able to attend without our help is simply a priceless honor. 

What’s the hardest thing about running a non-profit?
I always say that half the battle is letting people know you even exist!  When you are growing, you can’t afford to put a ton of money into marketing and branding so it is up to you to put yourself and your organization out there on your own.  The great thing is that it is NEVER a chore because you LOVE and BELIEVE in what you do and what you’re going to do.  Also, when you put good out in the world it comes back 100 fold and we’ve been so lucky to have the best support!

What’s next for you?
Where do I start?  Wow, we have many things on the horizon from exciting corporate partnerships and hosting our new annual Sneaker Ball in 2020 to becoming more mobile with our services to just simply reaching more people who need us. We’re also planning our spring prom event when teens can come and pick out dresses and suits, but we haven’t settled on a date yet. Follow us on social media to be the first to know when we schedule it!

What was your biggest takeaway from SUPPLY?
How connected we all are! The creative culture we have and the creatives themselves are THE BEST of THE BEST. There is so much talent and genius in this city and being able to go around and talk to so many people and see their designs under one roof was incredible. I love that SUPPLY is free to attend so others can see and experience the talent we have right here – though it’s something we’ve all known for years it’s nice to have the city share in and be proud of what we have to offer!

Where can people donate to your organization to help it continue do this great work?
Anyone can safely and easily donate online at any time here https://secure.givelively.org/donate/gifted-gown-inc!

Keep up with The Gifted Gown on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and their website!

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