The much anticipated launch of Pattern took place last Thursday night at IMOCA. With over 100 excited fashion lovers and industry insiders in attendance, the energy was high and the vibe enthusiastic. In other words, it was a great time!
I had the
burden honor of delivering the welcome speech the purpose of which was to explain our new direction and all that good stuff. I made it pretty clear that being up front was less than thrilling for yours truly (fear of public speaking and all), so I don’t much remember what I said, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t come even close to doing it justice, so I decided to make up for it by writing this post. I hope that those who attended, and/or plan on attending future events will give this a quick read so that Pattern’s new direction is clear to everyone and no one is left confused by our purpose and long term goals.
Back in the spring of 2010, a small group of people with interest in the fashion industry began meeting and talking about the fact that something odd, yet wonderful had been happening in Indianapolis over the past couple of years… a nascent fashion industry was rising up in Naptown. Designers were creating dresses, lingerie, purses, jewelry and shoes; photographers were shooting fashion editorials; There were style blogs being written; Local hair stylists and make up artists were traveling to places like New York and Miami, working the runway shows, side-by-side with world renowned artists, designers and models; Fashion design and merchandising programs were starting to pop up at Indiana colleges and there was also Midwest Fashion Week. Holy cow!! Fashion had finally found Indianapolis!! And we were all loving it, but, there was a missing piece in the fashion industry puzzle. What we all noticed is that in spite all of these fashion goings on, there wasn’t an actual viable community of fashion professionals. Everyone was off in their own little corner, doing their own thing. It just didn’t seem right for such a small city. Someone needed to lead the effort of uniting and bringing together all the different people who would describe themselves as being in the industry of fashion. Truly, “united we stand” seemed no truer than in this instance. And so that is one of the main reasons that IFC came into existence. We wanted to help create a real, vibrant, exciting, collaborative fashion community.
I’ll be the first to admit that pretty much all of us who were geared up to lead this seemingly simple, but actually incredibly challenging initiative, were vastly under-qualified to do so. We had NO IDEA what we were getting ourselves into. What ensued was about a year’s worth of “education” for all of us. The learning curve was quite steep. Our biggest challenge was lack of focus and direction. There is so much that can be done to grow the fashion industry here that we tried to do it all…and predictably…did not get very far. In the process, we managed to piss a few people off and somehow get a reputation for being elitist. Our journey to create a community was an uphill struggle to say the least! I’m sure there were more than a few people wondering if IFC was ever going to do something productive. 🙂
Thankfully, early this summer, the stars aligned, the heavens took pity and through an unexpected, but entirely welcome twist of fate, one of our board members, Gabrielle Poshadlo, had a chance meeting with Kristian Andersen of Kristian Andersen & Associates. That meeting, lead to several others, and those ultimately led to the formation of a creative partnership between IFC and KA+A. KA+A listened to us talk about our goals, challenges and struggles and were able to pinpoint our problem and offer us some great wisdom and expertise on what we needed to do in order to move in the direction of meeting many of our well-intentioned, but hard-to-achieve-in-one-year goals. And that is how Pattern was born!
So what is Pattern and what can you expect from us in the next 12 months? Quite simply, Pattern is an event. If we’re going to get all technical about it, Pattern is a monthly event-based platform designed to create a physical place/space for people who are involved in the fashion industry in whatever capacity to come together on a regular basis to network, socialize and learn. More than that our hope is that Pattern becomes a place to not only exchange business cards, but also ideas, encouragement and inspiration. We also hope that Pattern will help foster collaboration, lots and lots of it!
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the post Jeremiah Williams wrote about whether Indianapolis is ready for a competitive fashion industry, I suggest that you take a read and give it some real thought. I, for one, agree with him wholeheartedly: Before everyone in Indianapolis fashion starts getting competitive and territorial, the industry needs to grow and expand a great deal and the only way THAT will happen is through collaboration.
I trust that everyone who attended on Thursday were inspired by the potential of Pattern. Our Board’s goal is to facilitate these monthly meeting, organizing the logistics and helping expose fashion-related businesses, big and small, and entrepreneurs one to the other. As our movement grows, we hope to attract not only more sponsors and the interest of national and international fashion insiders, but also to show our city’s government that the fashion industry deserves support and investment. We need each and every single one you to be a regular part of Pattern in order for this to happen and we look forward to all the exciting opportunities that our coming together will bear!
Raise your glasses! To PATTERN!!!
Images courtesy of Marc McCoy Photography.