Indy: A Budding Fashion Epicenter

On the heels of the Indiana Fashion Week, Indy Maven speaks with 5 local designers who share their inspiration as well as winter trend reports.
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Indianapolis, often regarded as the heartland of America, is quietly blossoming into a vibrant hub of fashion innovation, where local designers are making their mark on the industry. This season, five distinctive designers from the Circle City are poised to redefine style with their unique visions and trend forecasts. 

From avant-garde minimalism to bohemian eclecticism, these designers bring a kaleidoscope of influences and inspirations to the forefront of Indianapolis fashion. Get ready to explore their captivating creations as we delve into the world of these five remarkable fashion visionaries—each set to leave an indelible mark on the fashion landscape this season.

Jenn Felts, Textile Designer, Tokyo Twiggy [JF]
Instagram: @TOKYOTWIGGYTEXTILES Illustration page: @TOKIIOTEA

Jennifer FeltsJennifer Felts, the creative force behind Tokyo Twiggy, has swiftly risen in the fashion world, known for her vibrant and attention-grabbing designs. Her talent shone brightly when she clinched victory in the Emerging Designer Contest at Indiana Fashion Week in 2019, earning her a spot in New York City. Since then, she continues to captivate the fashion scene with her spunky brand, consistently crafting and evolving her distinctive style.

Jen, where did you discover your passion for fashion?

I studied abroad in Japan for the first time when I was 14 years old. I visited the fashion district in Tokyo, Harajuku, and fell in love with all the colors and different silhouettes. I love self-expression through clothing and found theirs very unique at the time. 

Micah Horne, creator, HUMAGE* [MH]
HUMAGE clothing
Photo credit: Leo Soyfer

Micah Horne’s unique style draws inspiration from both her family and the music artists she admires. Her passion for fashion extends beyond designing her own clothing for HUMAGE*– she is equally enthusiastic about the advertising and marketing aspects of her brand. Micah finds joy in witnessing her friends choosing to wear her creations, and she actively engages in various marketing efforts, including producing videos and using her friends as models. Her commitment to theming the website with each new launch may seem meticulous to some, but it’s this attention to detail that brings her genuine satisfaction in her brand’s journey.

Micah, where did you discover your passion for fashion?

I discovered my passion for fashion through my father. He has a corporate job and always dressed really nice—no matter the day, weather, whatever. It was cool to see how much effort he put in, and I had pretty bad taste at the time, so I looked to him for inspiration.

Emily Gartner, Textile Designer, Emily Gartner Designs & Art Threads Studio [EG]
Emily Gartner
Photo credit: Jennifer Wilson of Life Through Jenn’s Eyes Photography

Sometimes, it feels like a real battle to keep a small business alive these days, especially one in the arts. But Emily Gartner is up for the challenge because it is her passion. Emily is a ‘hands-on’ DIY type who loves to bring people into the fold of her current projects. Her goal is to create a lifestyle of live, work, play, stay, and be more sustainable in all her endeavors. Currently, she earns her living as an artist/designer/teacher creating sustainable fashions. This includes create-on-demand designs, as well as upcycled clothing and accessories for wearable art. Her designs have a pop art twist that features historic legends, landmarks and moments. She also mentors youth who have an interest in fashion and design.

Tell us, Emily, where did you discover your passion for fashion?

When I was 12, I used the denim from my and my sisters cut off jeans to sew handbags. I gifted one to my older sister who was working in an office, and she came home with orders after carrying it to work.

WaZeil & UaZit, Designers,  WAZUAZ by STALPH [W&U] WWW.STALPH.CO

WaZeil UaZitSTALPH is a distinctive and eco-conscious fashion brand founded by the talented husband and wife duo, WaZeil and UaZit. They made waves at the 2022 Indiana Fashion Week Runway Show, where they unveiled their remarkable runway collection, WAZUAZ: Botanical (groove). This collection paid homage to the 70s, featuring designs infused with naturally dyed patterns and a sense of unrestricted, breezy elegance. What sets their designs apart are a commitment to being genderless, plant-based, zero-waste and handcrafted with a lot of love. Every piece of their collection is a true masterpiece, representing the fusion of fashion and artistry.

WaZeil, UaZit, you’re next! Where did you discover your passions for fashion?

Our love for fashion was discovered at a young age for the both of us, as a way to individualize and customize our wardrobes. UaZit taught himself how to personalize ready-made clothes, and WaZeil learned from her mom how to make clothes from store-bought sewing patterns. Each route allowed us to truly express ourselves through fashion, and that has always been the best part.

Nikki Blaine, Faahion Designer-Owner of Nikki Blaine Couture [NB]

Nikki BlaineNikki Blaine Couture embodies the essence of “Glam Chic,” a term coined by Nikki Blaine herself to define the fusion of high-quality fabrics with practical functionality. Their garments, originally crafted for fashion shows, promise to turn heads with their off-the-runway allure. If you’re seeking a style not currently available or desire customization in terms of color, size or fabric, a simple email request will do the trick. 

Nikki, where did you discover your passion for fashion?

What I thought was just a random desire as a child, I now realize was a prophetic calling in my life. As I began to speak, live and move in my power of creativity, I have been manifesting my purposes in life.

Designers, finish this sentence for us… I’m the kind of creator you’re looking for if…

JF: You need unique, fashion-forward clothing that’s also comfortable. 

MH: You want to learn about yourself on an existential level while dressing like you live outdoors, lol.

EG: If you want sustainable fashion. I upcycle clothing and create custom fabric print samples that customers order from. Both keep inventory low to respect the environment. Even the machines I teach lessons on are intake machines that have been refurbished.

W&U: We’re the type of designers you need if you need ethically hand(fucking)made apparel created with plant-based textiles and dyes.

NB: You are looking for timeless pieces, building your wardrobe and creating your personal style identity. Nikki Blaine Couture designs for ordinary women doing extraordinary things. By the way, men are welcomed to the same experience.

Alright, let’s talk winter trends. Who’s digging what, and what should we never try again?!

JF: I always love layers; the more layers, the more versatile a person can express themselves. And more printed layers for more dynamic looks.

MH: I’ve always been a big fan of layering. I’d say the biggest trend for me is playing with silhouettes. My favorite part of an outfit is how it sits and flows on someone, and I want to get more into how clothes actually flow on me.

EG: Florals, big and bold, no matter the season. And always expressive colors mixed with black and white.

W&U: We will be keeping colors around for Fall+Winter 2023. Softer shades of the beloved primary colors to keep the dreary winter days ahead a little more upbeat. Juxtaposed against the muted, monochromatic browns and tans that befall us outside every year. 

NB: Fall trends: I love the cargo looks and living in the space of color. It gives good energy and comfort which is extremely important to me.


Indianapolis’s fashion scene is far from sleepy; it’s a vibrant hub teaming with talented designers eager to help you look your best—whether it’s for a special event or everyday occasions. From creative innovators to timeless elegance specialists, the city boasts a diverse range of designers who are poised to infuse your wardrobe with creativity and style. Whether you’re seeking show-stopping couture or everyday fashion inspiration, Indianapolis’s fashion community is bustling with options to cater to your every need.

Casey Harrison is the CEO of Polished Communications and a longtime Indy Maven contributor under her former last name Casey Cawthon.

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