For three years Passion 4 Fashion Week has driven local creatives to the forefront of Indianapolis, providing opportunities for models, designers and other visionaries to showcase their talent. With emphasis on community engagement and style expertise, this years Passion 4 Fashion Week has become a marker of not only its growth, but its hopeful future.
PATTERN had a chance to speak with Passion 4 Fashion Week founder and celebrity wardrobe stylist Ms. Nicole Rene about the hard work and chaos behind the glitz and glam.
Khaila King: Congratulations on wrapping up your third annual Passion 4 Fashion Week! Can you tell me more about this initiative and its history?
Ms. Nicole Rene: The funny thing about it is, it started out as celebrity fashion week about 7 or 8 years ago, because my thought process was “I have all these celebrity clients, let me see how I can get them involved in fashion.” I went online and let people know I’m going to start doing this thing called celebrity fashion week not thinking that maybe I should have registered it first. Someone in California, I believe, turned that into a blog and basically I couldn’t use it. I went back to the drawing board. I was recently going through some paperwork just trying to clean up and I found it and I was like so, “back to this fashion week idea.” I have a passion for fashion and I was like, “you can’t tell me that somebody did not think of Passion 4 Fashion week,” so I looked it up. It wasn’t registered so I went with that. This is the third year and it has actually grown. We publicize it on Fox 59 during the full week and that leads all the way through the IBE Fashion Show which is a great thing for IBE too, because we want to be able to partner as a community and invite people down to the IBE Fashion Show.
KK: What did this years events consists of and which of them was your favorite?
MNR: All of them really just for the simple fact that they were all different. We’re the fashion week that gives you seven days of full fashion. We started on Sunday with an award ceremony and fashion show. I like to honor people. I brought people together that probably didn’t know that I looked up to them or that they inspired me and I was able to honor them and thank them for pushing me to do the stuff that I do. Remy Martin was our sponsor for that as well as Hair So Tight Hair Extensions. That was something new for this year. Then we also did Monday Night Fashion which is sponsored by Remy Martin as well. Tuesday, Macy’s came out as a sponsor and we did Styling With Macy’s and that went great. Wednesday we did Runway Diva. They had a Fashion show inside their boutique. Thursday we did Paparazzi Ready Too Boutique and Friday we did Nap or Nothing inside Lafayette Square Mall and they did a fashion show inside there. I also try to incorporate all my models to help out every single time, because I want them to get involved behind the scenes versus being on stage. They need to understand the business part too.
KK: What was your role with Passion 4 Fashion Week this year and what does it consist of?
MNR: My role is the big kahuna. It consists of everything, just making sure that things go right, making sure the models know where they are supposed to be at and just pretty much everything. There’s nothing that I don’t do and I want to lead by example, so if people don’t see me doing things, they’re not necessarily going to do it. I’ve been in management for years so I’ve always believed in stuff like that. You never want people doing something if they don’t see you doing it. If people see me working hard, they should want to work hard.
KK: What was the central theme of this year’s Passion 4 Fashion Week?
MNR: We want people to start shopping local and start supporting local designers. Even Macy’s carries local designers and local artists inside their stores. There’s plenty of things you can do inside of Indiana to not go outside of Indiana. Even if you want to shop outside of Indiana, shop with the people inside Indiana and they can get it for you. I do personal styling. I’m a wardrobe stylist as well so there’s tons of things I can get people. There’s no reason we should be taking the money outside of Indiana.
KK: What were your hopes and expectations for the week and were they met or exceeded?
MNR: I believe they were met. I thought the third year would still be about networking and getting people to understand what it is. The third year we got three major sponsors. That was cool. That exceeded my expectations, I expected that on the fifth year. I definitely think we met the expectations I was looking for.
KK: What was it like putting it all together?
MNR: It was definitely hectic. You have to have a passion for it, I would say. There’s a lot that goes into a fashion week and coordinating fashion. A lot of people think that coordinating a fashion show or a fashion week is all fun and they don’t think of the logistics and the cost behind it. I had to let the models know, “Hey, there’s a cost behind this. I’m not trying to make money off of you. I’m just not trying to pay for everything.” It’s a big difference and a lot of people don’t understand that. I want the models to know that you might have to pay a model registration fee, agree to sell tickets or something, but this is to get people to come out to see you. I’m doing everything I can. I’m getting you on Fox 59. I’m getting the news to come out and record all of this. I’m giving you everything that PR should be giving you and that’s well over 5,000 dollars worth so all I need from you is to help me sell tickets. I give them their photos and videos of the week. There’s a lot of things they get in return that they don’t get from other people and not just necessarily here, but everywhere. There’s certain things that some fashion shows don’t give, that we do.
KK: What do you think makes Passion 4 Fashion Week unique to any other organized event/activity in Indiana?
MNR: I would say the involvement of community, the uniqueness as far as styling, the marketing and PR and I would definitely say we’re actually seven days of fashion. Starting from Fox 59 news room at 9 am all the way til 8 pm, there is an event or a fashion show during those times.
KK: How are you feeling now that the week has come to an end?
MNR: Still busy, because we go to New York Fashion Week to do the same thing. It never stops. We’re doing more of an industry fashion week out their. We’re taking models to see modeling agencies just so they can see how modeling agencies in bigger cities are set up. We’re also doing photo shoots for them out there. We’re taking them to model calls and letting them see in a larger city and where fashion is actually driven at, how its handled versus how we handle it here. I want everyone that works for me to understand the business side, because it’s all fun and dandy when you’re watching it, but there’s a whole business side behind it that has to happen. Certain people have it and some people don’t. Some people are the talent and some people are the people in production, it’s nothing bad or anything like that, but there’s two different sides to fashion.
KK: What is your hope for the future of Indiana fashion?
MNR: For Indiana fashion, the hope would be for everybody to be open and work together. There’s a lot of people that just don’t work together. I recently had someone, after the fashion week was done, who actually tried to attack and slander my name and my business and so I’m taking that as an opportunity to turn it into something positive. I’m going on Fox 59 to talk about it, because I think it is important to conquer bullying. There’s some people that don’t want to see you happy, there’s people that don’t want to see you succeed and that’s unfortunate. I wanted to bridge the gap between the people who maybe couldn’t get to the high end designers or high end clientele. I can bridge the gap, but it’s a lot of arguing, fighting and it’s a lot of people talking about you saying that you’re not doing this and you’re not a real stylist and I think that’s very unfortunate. I sent it in to Fox 59 and of course they said that’s great, lets have you on the show to discuss it. Why not work together versus trying to tear someone else down?