Fashion Incubator Space Coming Soon to Downtown Columbus

Walker Evans Walker Evans Fashion Incubator Space Coming Soon to Downtown ColumbusRenderings via The Alternative Fashion Mob.
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The Alternative Fashion Mob wants to take things a bit more mainstream in 2017 with the launch of FABRIC — a multipurpose fashion industry incubation space. The new venue is planned to host a variety of functions that range from coworking spaces for fashion design professionals, a retail store for both raw materials and locally created clothing, and an event space designed to host fashion shows and more.

If the idea sounds familiar, it’s because the group has already done it once before. In 2015, FABRIC launched in its first iteration inside the unfinished second floor of the Columbus Idea Foundry in Franklinton. The group had a chance to test pilot the concept there, but lost their space to construction as soon as the Foundry began the build out of their second phase.

“We knew it was going to be temporary, but while we were there, it gave us the room to determine that there is definitely interest in fashion classes and events,” stated Amee BellWanzo, Chief Marketer and Planner for the Alternative Fashion Mob. “A new permanent space will allow us to do this and more, and will make it more tailored — pun intended — to our fashion mission.”

While the exact location has not yet been determined, the group is focusing on having a prominent presence so that retail can be a strong component — something that was not a part of the somewhat hidden space inside the Idea Foundry.

“We’ve always felt it was necessary for us to be in Downtown Columbus – close to CCAD and OSU, and part of the revitalizing energy that’s happening,” added BellWanzo. “We have our sights specifically on the Gay Street District, where there are great events happening, more and more retail popping up, and a planned fashion corridor to extend the shopping experience of the Short North.”

In the short term, BellWanzo said that the nonprofit Alternative Fashion Mob is focusing on fundraising to get the concept up and running.

“We are planning a big fundraising event for Spring 2017, which will ramp up to Alternative Fashion Week in the Summer of 2017,” she explained. “In the meantime, we have an online fundraising drive going, as well as an Alternative Fashion Mob membership drive. Between all these efforts, we hope to be funded by mid-2017, and opening at the end of next year.”

While Columbus currently employs more fashion designers than any other U.S. city outside of New York and Los Angeles, the jobs are mostly concentrated at larger firms with corporate headquarters along the outerbelt. The Alternative Fashion Mob sees a growing need to bridge the gap between fashion design students at CCAD, entrepreneurial minded designers, and the larger companies that call Columbus home, and they hope to be able to achieve this with their new space.

“It benefits everyone from our local fashion designers and other industry collaborators, to our city’s tourism efforts, to our fashion students, to emerging designers from other cities, to people shopping for unique clothing, to the big fashion brands of Columbus that are looking for talent or sources of a more cutting-edge design,” said BellWanzo. “It will really help firm up Columbus’ status as a fashion capital, and it will bring much-needed resources to independent designers throughout the region. There is truly nothing like this in the Midwest.”

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Renderings via The Alternative Fashion Mob.


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