(Last week we brought together 9 panelists who are catalysts for a bigger and better DC fashion community (read more about The Future of DC Fashion panel). We’ve asked our panelists to give us their post-panel thoughts on where the industry is going and what we can do to help grow it.)
Liz Fassbender is the owner and editor of the fashion and lifestyle blog, So Much to Smile About, and the co-founder of CapFABB (Capital Area Fashion & Beauty Bloggers), a network for DC area fashion and beauty bloggers that now has over 250 members and counting.
Participating in this discussion with panelists from such different backgrounds really gave me a new appreciation of the state of the fashion industry in DC. It was fascinating to hear about the different challenges and opportunities that exist for local designers, boutique owners, and others involved in fashion, along with initiatives like the Fashion Incubator.
As a blogger, I see an incredible amount of enthusiasm that continues to grow for the DC fashion community, and I would encourage others involved in the industry to take advantage of that enthusiasm. Whether you reach out to bloggers to feature a designer, host an event at your boutique, review a product or just generally get the word out about something, there are countless individuals who would love the opportunity to support DC fashion. Obviously, there is a lot more that is needed to advance the industry, but blogs can increase the conversation and raise awareness and support for important causes. There are so many hard-working people willing to make things happen here, I feel certain if we continue these kinds of discussions and utilize the resources we have the fashion community in DC can grow even stronger!”
24 Hours Later: Christine Brooks-Cropper of the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce on The Future of DC Fashion
Last week we brought together 9 panelists who are catalysts for a bigger and better DC fashion community (read more about The Future of DC Fashion panel). We’ve asked our panelists to give us their post-panel thoughts on where the industry is going and what we can do to help grow it.
Panelist Christine Brooks-Cropper is spearheading a fashion initiative that will change the way the world will view Washington, DC. She launched The Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce and co-Chaired the first Creative Economy Summit under the leadership of Councilmember Michael A. Brown. Christine is a change agent and innovative strategist for the Creative Economy… Here are her thoughts:
1. DC has come a long way but we still have much work to do…
2. The fashion community needs to come together and unite a little better to help put the infrastructure in place with regards to education and training. A lot of the emerging designers of DC need formal training… and the trained designers need to step up and… start mentoring and provide apprenticeship so we can grow this industry.
3. The DC Fashion Incubator…provides studio space at 760 N Street NW for designers to start production and manufacturing so we can start to show we have an industry/trade in DC… The only way we can show fashion design in DC is by promoting and marketing that we have production. Apply [for the DC Fashion Incubator] on the www.gwfcc.org home page…
4. The Fashion Blog community is here to help!! People utilize them… Elizabeth [creator of CapFABB] has done an excellent job of getting 250 bloggers to create this community. Keep up the great work! So Much to Smile About.
5. We need a fashion grant or microfinance program for fashion designers in Washington, DC. Let’s figure out what type of process or structure is needed. This can be housed at the Arts Commission or possibly a function of the Commission on Fashion Arts and Events that was created by legislation in 2008. Just need the Mayor to appoint the Commissioners and get this Commission active.
From the GWFCC newsletter:
…we interviewed Merin Guthrie and Emma Fisher, Creative Directors of Birds of a Pleather, who presented the [Future of DC Fashion] panel on H Street NE during Digital Week. When asked what message they were trying to convey, Fisher explained that, ‘The idea for the Future of DC Fashion panel was something that we had been thinking about for some time because there are so many different types of people that are making up the fashion industry in DC now – designers, show owners, journalists and bloggers, and of course, organizations like GWFCC.’ Merin then added that with their experience in the field and while working at Worn Magazine, she had ‘…the idea to bring them all together to create this panel for DCWEEK and to start a conversation around what the DC fashion community needs inorder to grow in a national force.’ In Merin’s opinion, ‘We have all of the resources – we just need to bring everyone together to make this happen.'”
a two-part look at the state of DC fashion
We write about it, talk about it – but when do we meet up about it?
an art installation using vintage mannequins and thrift+found clothing to dissect style in the District today.paradigm is at #DCRESIDENCE @DCWEEK’s THE HOME: 3 pop-up spots featuring work from The Fridge and the Birds alongside a shop with goods from DIY DC retailers.
1629 L Street NE
Open House Party
Saturday, November 5, 6-9pm
Installation On View
November 5-6, 1-6pm
a panel discussion about the future of DC fashion. //shift is the first time style bloggers + designers + funders + nonprofits will sit down at one table. Find us at #DCRESIDENCE @DCWEEK’s THE PARLOUR.
Space is limited. Reserve your spot.
7pm | Meet and Greet
8pm | Panel
Way back when I was at Worn Magazine (five years in dog years, five months in human years), two things constantly struck me: how fast DC’s fashion community is growing and how fragmented it is.
Now, that’s not uncommon. DC was never known as a fashion mecca and the number of local designers, crafters and artisans has taken off over the past five to ten years. And everyone is working on their own initiative. So there’s going to be a disconnect.
Here’s how I see it: for a long time, these hardy folks were toiling away in obscurity, feeding off of their own passion and not much else. Then, a very small handful of local shops came onto the scene. People started to think about what sort of organizations might be needed to advocate for a fashion community. Finally, a media (social, print and otherwise) began to build up around the designers and shops, noticing that, hey, something cool was happening here. And some savvy DC residents and consumers have taken note and vote with their feet and dollars, supporting the nascent fashion industry.
All of these pieces now exist. But its like a recipe after you’ve prepped all of the ingredients and before you’ve started cooking: everything is segregated in its own little bowl.
In order for us to move forward as a fashion community, the ingredients need to get mixed up, smushed into a giant ball of dough. But this is difficult. I don’t even know if the different stakeholders in our fashion community know each other. Or if they communicate. Or if they work together.
But all of these things are really important. Our local designers – emerging, established or otherwise – need the support of a strong community. One that regularly gets together and talks about what needs to happen now and next. Because if we are going to have a thriving, domination-station (as my brothers would say) fashion community, its time for everyone to come together and figure out how to make that happen.
So when Ally and Josef from #DCRESIDENCE approached me and Emma about programming something at The Parlour, we jumped at the chance to bring folks to the table. It’s a conversation worth having and one that we want to continue to have.
And you – we want you too. What ingredients need to go into the mix? What do you want to hear about during the panel? Tell us in the comments and we’ll be sure to add it to the stew.