Alternative Fashion Mob Launching Incubator Space in Franklinton
It’s a locally (and proudly) touted fact that Columbus is a bit of a fashion industry mecca, trailing only behind New York City and Los Angeles in terms of fashion design professionals employed by region in the US. But with most of those jobs being housed at large corporate operations, it seems that the entrepreneurial side of local fashion is a bit harder to find.
The Alternative Fashion Mob came together in 2013 to combat that issue and provide a platform and a showcase for local independent fashion designers and creatives in related fields. With two annual fashion show events under their belts, the group is turning their attention now to launching a full-time incubator space on the second floor of the Columbus Idea Foundry in Franklinton, which will be known as FABRIC.
“By providing this resource center, we hope to make it easier for local designers’ small businesses to flourish here in Columbus, and give them the support they need to STAY in Columbus, instead of migrating to New York or LA,” explains Amee BellWanzo, Chief Marketer and Planner for the group. “We want to keep our local talent local!”
FABRIC was made possible thanks to a recent grant from the Create Columbus Commission and a strategic partnership with the Columbus Idea Foundry, which will house phase one of the incubator and provide designers with access to facility resources.
“We’ll be offering designer and public resources including sewing machines, dress forms, work stations, fabric for purchase, classes, a fashion photo set up, a conference and dressing room for meeting with clients, and connections to stylists and photographers,” says BellWanzo. “We’ll also continue to offer public events and a very public stage for fashion shows and promotion.”
The longer-term plan for FABRIC is to eventually re-launch in a more dedicated space that would offer all of the previously mentioned resources in addition to a storefront space and additional fabrication and business resources for designers.
“We hope to be up and running with phase one before the Independents’ Day Festival in September,” added BellWanzo. “We’ve got some fashion shows and workshops planned for ID, so it only makes sense to have a soft launch at that time.”
In the meantime, the Alternative Fashion Mob plans to continue to host truck shows, pop-up boutiques, fashion shows, workshops, classes and other public events.
For more information, visit www.alternativefashionmob.org.
Photo by Walker Evans.