Mark your calendars, style aficionados—after a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana Fashion Week (INDFW) is back in a big way. With events slated from August 14th-21st, as well as a marketplace at the Indiana State Fair, the extravaganza is poised to be both a dynamic display of cutting-edge fashion and an exciting showcase of local talent.
Presented by the Indiana Fashion Foundation, Indiana Fashion Week was created to highlight the talents of fashion professionals and style enthusiasts across the state. The week includes a series of events and activations, as well as runway shows and the INDFW Emerging Designer Competition, a showcase of rising local fashion talent.
“We are very excited to move the fashion industry needle tremendously forward in Indiana. The talent, resources, and innovation are here and Indiana Fashion Week creates the stage to showcase the creatives while creating synergistic partnerships with local businesses and organizations to enrich the creative economy,” said Denisha Ferguson, CEO and Founder of the Indiana Fashion Foundation.
To find out the scoop on what’s in store for this year’s Indiana Fashion Week, we spoke with Temara Payton, who is the INDFW Show Director, as well as an actress and the creator of Eighty One Face + Body. Some of the event details are still under wraps, but Payton gave us some juicy tidbits to keep the excitement building.
“Last year was such a trying year for everyone, so this year we have a new perspective and a new drive of the importance of bringing industry here to Indianapolis and Indiana—because more than ever, we learned that whatever you’re going to do, the time to do it is now.” Payton said about the motivation behind this year’s event, adding, “Everyone from the designers to the team members have a fresh new outlook on life and everyone is pouring that into their art.”
The theme of INDFW 2021 is “Connect,” and Payton explained that this year there was a renewed focus on connecting with each other and the community. “There is so much raw talent here in Indiana. Unfortunately, if people don’t feel support, they move away, so we are really trying to create a place for the extremely amazing talent right here in Indiana to connect, flourish, thrive, and create in a space that’s elevated.”
There are a variety of ways to participate in the festivities of INDFW, including stopping by the IN Fashion Marketplace at the Indiana State Fair, located in the Indiana Arts Building on the fairgrounds.
“The marketplace will feature local vendors and artisans, so it’s a really great opportunity to be seen leading up to the runway show,” Payton explained.
Kiddos can also get in on the fashion action—Payton shared that there are going to be opportunities for children that are interested in the fashion business to get involved: “There will be a component, like an academy, where kids will get to come in and work with fashion professionals to learn about the fashion industry, do a design, and promote their ideas and point of view. I was in tears last time when I saw how innovative these children are; it’s such a fun opportunity for kids to be creative and be themselves.”
In addition, volunteer opportunities are available if you want to get in on the action. “We are still taking volunteers in any capacity; for example, if you’re an emerging makeup artist, and you want to see how to do makeup in a fast-paced fashion show, or if you’re a photographer—there are many different ways that you can participate as a volunteer, and you can then put that experience on your resume. If you visit www.IndianaFashionWeek.com/Volunteers, the volunteer portal is up, and you can sign up to volunteer,” Payton said.
If fashion shows tickle your fancy, you can purchase a ticket to attend “Indiana Fashion Foundation presents…The Runway Shows,” which will feature eight up-and-coming Midwestern talents in the INDFW Emerging Designer Competition, as well as last year’s winner Jennifer Felts, owner and designer of Tokyo Twiggy. As an added bonus, there will also be a special guest designer presenting a collection: “We are thrilled that Rinat Brodach is the featured designer this year. She was a contestant on Making the Cut on Amazon, and I’m really excited to see her work on the runway,” Payton said. According to Payton, tickets will be available online on the INDFW website, and you can follow INDFW’s Instagram page (@INDIANAFASHIONWEEK) for updates.
No matter how you get involved, Payton offers this piece of advice: “Since we have had a year off to figure things out, we are back and ready to roll, so come experience it for yourself!”
And for a little sneak peek of what you can expect on the runway, here are four of the Midwest-based designers who will be showing their collections in the Emerging Designer Competition this year:
STARRY RICHARD, OWNER AND DESIGNER OF STARBONE DESIGNS
“My goal is to provide women with clothes that make them feel fun and unique while empowering them to be the boss babes that they are. I describe my collection as ‘Playfully Sophisticated.’ I am new to the fashion scene in the role of a designer, and am excited for the opportunity to show my work and connect with other talented people.”
MONTY MATUKA, FOUNDER AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF MELI
“I would describe my collection as sophisticated streetwear. I feel excited about showing my collection in the upcoming fashion show. It’s a great feeling to have opportunities to showcase projects you feel good about.”
STACY HOGAN, OWNER AND DESIGNER OF BUILT BY STACY
“Fashion is limitless. BUILT by Stacy exists to create, innovate and push the fashion limit. Everyone should be made to feel stunning and look absolutely amazing, especially in couture.”
MISTY DODSON, OWNER AND DESIGNER OF BOND GIRL NO. 9
“‘Rocker Chic’ is how I would describe my collection. I’m super excited to show this collection—it’s definitely what I do best! I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!”
Stephanie Groves is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer who is definitely buying tickets to Indiana Fashion Week.
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