One of the hardest things about being a "creative" is that it can be a real challenge to wrap up for other people that age-old small talk go-to, "What do you do?" Sometimes I think you could ask my closest family and friends what I do all day and many of them wouldn't exactly know. I wear a lot of strange design "hats" and I'm not always the best about sharing the finer details of that with the world. Maybe it's classic middle child syndrome or something, but attention or praise is just about the last thing I even think of when I'm working on a project. It was pointed out to me recently that because of this, I don't really share enough of my creative work and that it possibly holds me back in progressing my career. This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I often feel like the act of blogging alone is so self-focused that saying, "Hey guys, look at this other stuff, too!" is a little bit of overkill, but according to my friend (and every biz post ever written) this opinion is pretty off base.
Anyway, that is the long-winded backstory on this new post series. The short version: I'm hoping to start chronicling and sharing more of my projects here on the blog. My life lately has been pretty consumed with launching a clothing/accessories brand with my design partner, Shiree Houf. The brand, HOWL, is a combination of our last names. We just created a Facebook page and Instagram account about one minute ago (literally), so if you want to be among the first likes and follows, please hop on over! We have been very busy working on our first full collection for Alternative Fashion Week here in Columbus.
These are some very preliminary sketches. They've changed A LOT since this picture was taken, but I don't want to give away too much of our final designs. ;)
I've been a part of Alternative Fashion Week before as a band stylist and blogger. Those pics above, taken by Meghan Ralston, are of local bands, Trachete and The Salty Caramels. I LOVE styling shoots, especially with bands because they always have such cool personal style, but I've never actually shows a full fashion collection as a designer before, so that makes this year even more exciting for me.
In an attempt to not let a little thing like an out-of-reach budget hold us back, we ran a fundraising campaign selling handmade friendship bracelets and, because our friends and family are obviously incredible, we reached our goal! We actually met it on my birthday, so that was extra special. The materials list is pretty endless (think zippers, snaps, linings, garment bags, shoes, etc.) so these bad boys are still on sale for anyone interested. Donations of $10 come with a friendly rope bracelet, while $25 gets you a mix-and-match set of three.
Now that you've heard my official Shark Tank investment pitch, let me tell you about our collection! There are several points of inspiration: Star Wars, the 70s, athletic wear, chunky woven textures. It's got a lot going on, but there is one thing that every single piece has in spades and that's COLOR!! We are using a rainbow-inspired color scheme. The specific goal was to have a rainbow that was a little bit "off." Colors that are non-traditional to the good ole' ROY G. BIV, like salmon and mint, are what really make the color palette exciting to me.
We've been doing a lot of hand-crafted textiles, like the picture above. It's a black quilted "vegan" leather that we cut into strips and sewn into tubes, which we then used those to create our own woven textile. For now you'll have to use your imagination on what this will become, but I think the woven pieces are turning out so cool! They make me really excited to see everything in it's final stage.
We have a lot of white and denim pieces, but each look, even a classic flowing white shirt dress has a pop of color with a row of rainbow buttons. These buttons we actually made ourselves (and by these I mean several hundred of these) with a button tool because the only rainbow sets we found were the standard spectrum and, like I said, we're pretty committed to those "off" colors.
We have made a lot of fringe. We looked into buying fringe at first, but decided instead to make it out of white cotton denim and dye it an assortment of colors. In retrospect this idea might possibly have been crazy (I won't be starting a fringe-making club anytime soon), but I do love how the colors came out and I'm really excited for the fringed garments.
Thanks to the help of some friends, we were able to put together a little impromptu promo shoot. Our model, Madison Wilz, and photographer, Laurel Harvey, both deserve trophies because they helped squeeze this shoot into the narrowest of scheduling slots. Luckily, they're both total pros, so as much as we were flying by the seat of our pants that afternoon, I think the pictures turned out so good! If you're in the South/Central Ohio area and are looking for a great photographer, Laurel is really talented and working with her was wonderful. Our model, Madison, is actually my future sister-in-law and she'll be walking in our runway show, too. Isn't she the cutest? :)
The show is June 12th so the next weeks are going to be pretty intense. We've got a lot of Alternative Fashion Week-related events coming up, including model fittings, an event called Couture Cuisine, where chefs will create dishes inspired by some of the designers' past looks, a Gallery Hop Pop-up Shop, where we'll be selling some of our jewelry and accessories, and filming our designer interview videos, which will be played before our runway show.
Now the real question is, when in the world am I going to have time to get my ridiculous roots done?! For real though, I'm thinking about kicking my platinum up a notch to icy white, almost gray, like this gorgeous 'do. Please live up to your reader's civic duty and place your hair vote in the comments. ;) I can't wait to share more of the process and eventually the final product with you!