by Laura Hutson
The topic broached was Southern fashion — if it's even a thing, and what it means if it is. The overall consensus was that there's no real "Southern" fashion, but that there is a trend toward American fashion, artisan fashion, grassroots boutiques, and slow pacing — and all of those ideas also happen to be nurtured in the South. Matt and Carrie Eddmunson of Imogene + Willie spoke about their business development, how they began by making 250 pairs of jeans for friends who bought them for $100 each, how they had nothing more than unemployment checks in the beginning, and how they quit buying papers and watching TV when they were starting out (in 2008, at the height of the economic crisis) as a way to keep out negative ideas.
A recurring idea throughout the panels (I missed the second one, but Libby Callaway pointed out that it had repeated) was that fashion is following in the footsteps of the slow-food movement. People are gravitating away from the mass produced in all areas of life, and it's becoming more widely accepted that people will pay more when they know they're buying a quality product, and that they're supporting their local economy and not some international marketing campaign.
I left the discussion feeling filled up — like I'd gotten a good dose of creative ammunition. Here's hoping there will be more like it in the future. I can't imagine a better way for Nashville to pave our own way in the fashion world than by creative summits like these.