First Fashion Innovation Center Opens in Arizona
High fashion innovation has been linked to Paris, Los Angeles, New York, Japan and a few other top producing trendsetters in the industry. Now, Arizona has officially been added to that list.
FABRIC, Fashion And Business Innovation Resource Center, opened it’s doors to the public on December 10, 2017 in Tempe, Arizona with a gala showcasing the three-story facility complete with creative think tanks, a ribbon cutting ceremony and a runway show to kick off the event.
“It is a place where fashion professionals and students can find all things fashion in (Arizona.)” Founder Angela Johnson said, “We wanted the community to be able to see and learn about everything that the building has to offer. . .”
Johnson, a Northern Arizona State University and FIDM graduate, said she has devoted 15 years toward the launch of an incubation center where the community, designers and students can learn as a whole. FABRIC will serve as a source for consulting, design services, apparel manufacturing, office space, sound studios, screen printing and more.
“This could and should set a precedent for other cities to follow. The millennia generation is not interested in mass produced, mass-marketed clothing made in huge quantities overseas so the fashion landscape is changing,” Johnson said.
Fashion Innovation Takes Root in Arizona
FABRIC is the accumulation of LabelHorde, an online directory for fashion businesses, AZ Fashion Source, a full-service apparel manufacturing company and Arizona Apparel Foundation, an organization providing knowledge, manufacturing and expert guidance for fashion start-ups.
Founder of HYMN Magazine and seasoned Arizona fashion enthusiast Dustin Hoyman believes that Arizona has found it’s fashion flair.
“FABRIC is going to begin local but is already receiving national and international attention. One of the goals of the manufacturing portion of the building is to offer low minimums and affordable rates. This message has resonated with both emerging and established designers who may be looking to do test runs of new looks to gauge adoption before committing to a large buy,” said Hoyman.
For it’s official launch party and ribbon cutting ceremony with the Mayor of Tempe Mark Mitchell, Johnson wanted to showcase the 23,000 square foot building as an event space with a passport theme as well as give testimonials from designers who work in the building through video. Tabitha Holmes, founder of Sillin Inc. showcased her new gender friendly collection, House of Holmes with a runway show.
“For an audience that is less fashion-frenzied, having a political figure speak to the importance and community surrounding something like (FABRIC), it will legitimize it to them and allow them to allow themselves to be curious about it in a healthy way rather than write it off,” said Elizabeth Tingen a Female Fashion Movement representative and freelance production manager.
Some of the states top fashion trendsetters from influencers to bloggers to stylists such as Marshall Shore, Bunny Gerrit, Couture in the Suburbs, Sam Hamati of Hamati Designs, Oscar De Las Salas, My Boy B, Arizona Costume Institute, Scottsdale Fashion Week and Lousy Rich were in attendance.
As a local couture and bridal designer, Founder of SJ Couture Jeanne Hankerson thinks this project is a way to support existing talent as well as emerging designers.
“Not only will there be programs to help budding designers but there are six scholarships awarded per year giving an emerging designer six months of support and guidance to produce a first collection,” said Hankerson.
One of the things Johnson hopes will resonate with the fashion industry is the recognition that the industry is morphing into a place where the glass ceiling can be shattered. Where a no name brand can become just as successful as an internationally known designer.
“With the desire for one-of-a-kind, locally made, unique clothing, more and more emerging brands are popping up all over the nation. But they are struggling to find the support they need to make their product. This model is something that could work and is needed in every city,” Johnson said.
To find out more about FABRIC visit www.labelhorde.com.
Cover Photo by Ryan M. Walsh: (L to R) Stephanie Sujey, Latroy Taylor, Andreas Oppitz
Tempe, AZ#SmartBlondes is a lifestyle, beauty and fashion brand founded by twin sisters Lindsey & Leslie Philp. They are AZ based cat lovers, #StyleUnicorns, Freelancers, Influencers, Bloggers and #SmartStylists! Leslie has her BA in Journalism with an emphasis on PR from ASU and Lindsey has her AA from MCC.