In 2008, the IMA brought an incredible textile collection to exhibit. The name of the touring collection was “Breaking the Mode“. The permanent collection is owned by LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), but has toured to a few cities outside of California. The concept of the show was to highlighting iconic pieces that broke the norm of fashion. The collection shows how fashion is artistic as well as a functional. I highly recommend checking it out on the LACMA website. The IMA wanted to launch the opening of the exhibit with a fashion show highlighting local artists and designers. A friend of mine familiar with my passion for fashion encouraged me to participate. I said yes without thinking that it would mean I would actually have to CREATE something!! I had some sketches but that’s the easy part! The actual process of construction and manifesting the sketches into something tangible was a whole other story. I got my three pieces completed somehow and was ready for the show. I wasn’t really nervous until the IMA asked all the designers to do a video interview for their website. (I begrudgingly share the link to the video here) It’s embarrassing looking back because I would have such different things to say now. I then was interviewed for the Indianapolis Star’s weekly publication; To my surprise I was listed as one of “The top 7 designers to watch”. When people started looking at me as a designer, it was beyond weird. 🙂
The response to the fashion show at the IMA was unbelievable. It was standing room only and at least 100 people got turned away at the door because the place was packed. For the first time, I actually saw tangible proof that there was a fashion culture in Indianapolis. People wanted fashion events to attend. People wanted to see creative expression through clothing. It was exciting to participate in such an event. After the event was over, I was amazed by the ripple effect. People wanted to know what I was going to do next and when was I going to design a full collection. I appreciated the encouragement, but quickly determined that being Indy’s next great designer wasn’t my thing. I liked playing with clothes that were already made. I could style and merchandise for days. That is what I liked to do, and styling is where I focused my attention. But now, that’s come around full circle! My styling projects led to me blogging on Tumblr, which lead to me being asked to contribute content to the Pattern Indy blog, which lead to me to meeting many others in the local fashion industry. And now, I have partnered with a couple of guys to launch an apparel company, as the designer!
THE POINT? The opportunities I have now only happened because I stepped out of my comfort zone. It was scary saying yes to designing for a fashion show at the IMA, especially since I had never done more than just sketch. I realized that I wasn’t afraid of failure, I was afraid of action. For the first time I would actually have to put action behind my words.
I wonder how many great ideas or visions are floating around Indianapolis? Imagine if people stopped being afraid and actually put their ideas into action! I have learned that once you move past your fear, there are people and organizations in Indianapolis who support creative new ideas.
Writing for Pattern, I have interviewed people who acted on their ideas. The Bloomington guys behind FLC, Int who have built a brand around fabric seen in a village in Ghana. I have talked to Arnold Park of the famous WEST COAST TACOS who brought the idea of selling food out of a truck to Indianapolis. To Scott Wise of SCOTTY’S BREW HOUSE who is taking his restaurant concept across Indiana and into other states. One of the reason I wanted to interview these people was because their business models all demonstrated a desire to step out of the comfort zone and do things differently. Do you have an idea you’ve been thinking about for a while, but are too afraid to try? Nothing ventured, nothing gained my friend! I know that “fashion” and “Indianapolis” do not appear to be a natural fit, yet for those looking, it’s clear that Indy has taken some huge strides in that industry in the last 5 years. Think about how much faster the local fashion industry would grown if you would step out and try to make your dream a reality?
So this is a challenge to all the fashion and creative types to “just do it”! Stop listening to the people who say “There is no fashion in Indianapolis”. Listen to your gut instead and know that though resources are harder to find in Indianapolis than in one of the bigger markets, they are here and available to you if only you look. I promise there is a lively community of fashion professionals who will support you. I wanna hear your story! Comment below or like always we can continue the conversation on twitter. (You know I love me some tweets) You can follow me @_Jeremiah_ … and of course PATTERN is on twitter too.