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Emily Gartner will compete in a Designer's Showcase. Zairion Lester & Sarah Villines will compete in the Youth Design Challenge.
63 backers pledged $4,301 to help bring this project to life.
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3 EVV creatives competing in 1st ever Indiana Fashion Week! project video thumbnail
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$4,301

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My name is Emily Gartner, I am an Indiana artist/designer that creates historical memories with a modern twist though my sustainable fashions and pop art designs.  I also teach sewing to adults and youth and mentor select children who show promise in fashion, art and design.  One such individual is Zairion Lester. I have been mentoring him for 4 years.  Last summer he worked as my intern helping me with a wearable art project for Habitat for Humanity's 'Women Build' fundraiser.  He currently goes to  Signature  School and will start his junior year in  August.  He came to my attention when his teacher, Sarah Mabis, from Glenwood Leadership Academy, asked me to come check out what he made from scrapbook paper I had donated to her class.  He built a Harlem, NYC brownstone out of foam core board, scrapbook paper and LED lights.  It was the house of Harlem Renaissance artist, Lois Mailou Jones.  I didn't know about her before, but I certainly have seen her artwork in museums in NYC and  Boston since  Zairion brought her to my attention.

Zairion's brownstone of Lois Mailou Jone's Harlem residence
Zairion's brownstone of Lois Mailou Jone's Harlem residence

I met Sarah Villines last year.  Her grandmother had passed away and she was given her vintage sewing machine.  She wanted to learn how to sew on it. And since my class has vintage sewing machines and one similar to her grandmother's, that was not a problem.  Her intent listening and execution of projects was impressive and I could tell she simply loves every aspect of fashion by nature.  Sarah is 11 and attended Harper School this year and will go to Washington Middle School next year.  Typically, the team would not consider her because they look for children 13-17, but I convinced them that Sarah was their ideal candidate and they would not be disappointed.  Sarah has been upcycling her dresses into crop tops for a few years.

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We are all honored to be selected to compete in the very first Indiana Fashion week June 18-22 in Indianapolis.   Zairion & Sarah will compete in the 'Youth Design Challenge' and I will compete in the 'Super Model Market Challenge'.  In addition to that, I have been selected to be a Sewing Mentor at this very prestigious event, mentoring one-on-one in that same Youth Design Challenge.  (Although, I seriously doubt I will be paired with Zairion or Sarah.)

Zairion and Sarah will shop at Goodwill Indy on 6/18 with 4 other teenagers and select clothes they will 'upcycle' into a new, fresh design.  On 6/19 they will spend the day with individual sewing mentors (me included) designing, sketching and creating on the sewing machine.  On Saturday, their designs will go into a runway show, which will be the first official runway show of Indiana Fashion Week! 

My design challenge is a little different: I've been given a mood board with different color palettes from the color wheel...red+orange/blue+green/yellow+gold.  The theme for the display models is "The Super Model Market".  Think high fashion and Met Gala. I'll be honest with you high fashion, couture is not a comfortable category for me, but certainly the quirky pop art accessories are something that I love.  (I've designed a Tang handbag and the wild astro umbrella hat shown in our group photo...I know, crazy, right?!) 

Super Model Market Challenge Designer Showcase
Super Model Market Challenge Designer Showcase
The Tang handbag
The Tang handbag

So how did this all come to be you ask???  Recently, I applied for a Creative Entrepreneur Scholarship that the Arts Council of Southwest Indiana announced.  I was honored to receive that grant through the Indiana Arts Commission On-Ramp program.   During a panel discussion I met Mich(ael) Weston, a Fashion Branding guru from NYC, although he originally started out as a pastor in Indiana.  Anyway...during his talk he began to map out the details of Indiana Fashion Week and I was hanging on his every word. We had already begun to chat before his talk as he had noticed my newly designed bomber jacket.  And after the talk, I wanted him to know about some of my sewing students.  He insisted I send him their names for the youth competition.  And one thing simply led to another...and the ball has not stopped rolling yet.

It is the very first time Indiana will be presenting this event, a brain child of Denisha Ferguson, designer  of  D'Lang Designs.  There will be a strong presence of New York's Fashion Week represented.  As a matter of fact, Fern Mallis, the woman who initiated New York's will be honored at www.IndianaFashionWeek.com  (Watch the documentary "The Tents" to learn her story, it's fascinating!!!)  So you see, Indiana has way more to offer than just corn, Indiana is fashion too...who even knew?  

This is an incredible opportunity for us to represent our city of Evansville and shine.  I met with Zairion and Sarah to bring them up-to-date on expectations and have given them assignments to discover more about this event.  They just finished school for the year.  We will likely do a trial run at our local Goodwill to be better prepared.  I've already purchased all of my fabrics, baubles and bits for my challenge, which has taken over my house. 

We will head to Indy with the parents chaperoning the week of June 18th-22nd to compete and volunteer in Indiana Fashion Week.  And with that comes a budget of expenses we will incur  and we need your love and support.  Here is the breakdown on expenses:

Hotels (x3 rooms) for 5 nights $1,500.

Gas there and back for 3 cars        210.

Food (x6 people) for 6 days         1,620.

Supplies for design comp.               100.

Addl. trips for garment drop offs      60. 

INDFW ticket for family members    210. 

VIP Party, Rewards &  S/H                 200. 


Reward Images...

 Zairion's Harlem Renaissance musician print
Zairion's Harlem Renaissance musician print
Evansville, Indiana's Greyhound bus station print
Evansville, Indiana's Greyhound bus station print

Risks and challenges

As with anything there are risks, life happens and what goes on with our loved ones can sometimes present challenges to be at our very best. New environments and new situations are hard to immediately adapt too, but please be assured this is a high priority for all of us because of our passion for fashion and design in ways we don't even realize yet. We will be doing some trial run throughs to take care of potential hiccups. And we will be surrounded with a supportive group of family, friends, and fashion folks in the Indianapolis area.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $51 or more About $51

    Signed limited edition print from us.

    Zairion has some stellar art prints highlighting successful creatives in the African American community. They showcase strong leaders that are somewhat generic, so we can see ourselves in those characters. I have prints that highlight local historic landmarks, specifically the Greyhound Bus Station in Evansville IN. And Sarah will be offering fashion prints. You can pick one of three, valued at $30. on quality archival paper.

    Includes:
    • Indiana Landmarks, Greyhound bus station print
    • Harlem Renaissance Musician print
    • Fashion Print
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    VIP Party at a location TBD

    You'll be invited to a VIP party after we return home from Indiana Fashion Week. We will
    give a talk on our experiences and share our designs with you in person. If you are unable to make the VIP party, you can schedule a private studio tour. For those donating from out of town a video will be emailed to you with our experiences.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $498 or more About $498

    Social media 'shout-outs' thru 7-19

    For those persons or businesses who want the "Runway Ready" level sponsorships, we will give 'shout outs' for your financial help through the end of Indiana Fashion Week on 6/22 and at the VIP party as well mid July. You will also receive prints and the VIP party exclusive invite.

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Funding period

- (16 days)