From April 15-19, here in Asheville, we had the most amazing, inspiring festival of arts! I wanted to write about it right away, but I took in so much information, that I wanted to process everything so I could figure out what to say about it. Frankly, I’m still not sure exactly what to say, I know I’ll be thinking about for some time.
The Hatch festival was started in Bozeman, Montana, and this is the first year it has also been held in Asheville. Essentially it is 4 days of panels, films, music, workshops, and fashion. The local artists worked so hard organizing, and it paid off!
The first talk that I went to was given by Mary Gehlhar, a fashionista extraordinaire from NYC. She has written the fashion designer’s bible (follow the link) and is a mentor to so, so many new fashion talents. I learned more from her in 1 hour than from anything previous. She spoke about having a strong brand identity and being true to your own style. Always good advice, of course, but hearing it directly related to fashion was exciting and inspiring. It gave me confidence to try some things related to Hazel Anne that I have been a bit reluctant to do in the past.
Then, I went to a panel discussion by all of the mentors and some local industry insiders, as well. They were Mary Gehlhar, Elisa Jimenez – artist and designer (also of Project Runway fame), Yoshiko Wada, Kathleen Lewis (LOCAL manufacturer for small lines!), and the owner of Oriole Mills, another local fabric manufacturer. What a group of talent! They spoke about slow-design, which I am really into. For me, slow design is about being conscious not only of your finished product, but being conscious of the whole process of designing and sewing and distributing. It’s about being a responsible consumer and creator, and I can really relate to that. It’s nice to know that even the big whigs can think this way.
Elisa Jimenez also had a workshop Saturday afternoon about many things, but mostly about guerilla marketing, and creating your own venues for getting your work out there and seen. We had to break into groups and create a “show” in 10 minutes – which was to prove that it can be done by us, and that we don’t need a lot of money to pull of a fancy, exciting show of our clothing.
Can you imagine how exciting this was for me?! We in Asheville were so lucky to have this event in our backyard, and I feel so inspired!
Can’t wait until next April!
Now, back to work…