This past week has been a whirlwind of ribbons, fibre optics, and improvisation. Thanks to my dear friend Emily, I had the opportunity to get involved with a local company’s runway gala. MakeFashion creates and supports creators of wearable tech: “high tech meets high fashion.” The show was Saturday night, and since the word “go” last Sunday, I helped out with all sorts of last minute tasks and projects each day. From making shrink-wrapped bundles of fibre optics to make hair extensions and to put into 3D-printed
“mohawk horns” to creating rhinestone-studded LED twinkling chokers and bouts of sewing in between, it was a week of firsts for me.
It was exciting the whole way through: I loved the energy and seeing the passion from so many makers as their projects came to life and walked down the runway; I loved being counted on by the dancers who wore our chokers; I loved being able to fix things and make tech that I had never worked with before actually work (or, at least “mostly work” in one case). I loved that Emily trusted me and brought me in to something so special to her, once she heard I was interested in fashion and helping out with Make.
It was only a week ago that all of this really started for me, but it feels like so much happened in that time. Em and I had a project that we saw through from start to finish, and I got the chance to really see and appreciate something I had a major hand in creating.
The creative and maker communities have a reputation for being exclusive yet also for being like family. I’ll back up both those claims. I had tried to reach out to Make previously, as well as other local fashion-centric companies and projects. It took an in (Emily, in this case) to get in the door. Once I was in, it was scary. People really did seem to look at me like “who is this new person? And so close to the show?” I sheepishly kept to Em and the Artistic Director, Catherine, whom we were working directly with. But it didn’t take too long for people to smile or introduce themselves to me. By the end of the week, even the people who didn’t necessarily remember my name knew I was “supposed” to be there and that I was working with the rest of the team towards the same common goal: to put forward a great show to showcase the talent and innovations of the makers. People offered me help and resources, trusted me with tasks, and when all was said and done even congratulated and thanked me. I can’t say that I have made a whole new set of friends or that I’m part of the family. But I can say that I do feel a sense of belonging, and I think that’s a lot for an exclusive community after a week. I felt embraced and appreciated, and I had a lot of fun doing what I was doing.
I’m still not sure what part of fashion I would most like to be involved with professionally, but I can say that I would take on the role of “Fashion-Tech Assistant” again gladly. Being able to experience a part of the industry in such a hands-on fashion (pardon the pun) was a great experience that I can hopefully continue with. The one day I didn’t do anything directly with Make, I actually spent the day styling someone in Frank and Oak for a piece in my dad’s magazine (followed by the photoshoot). So this week was seriously jam-packed with all things fashion and style and I dug it. Learning new things and getting a taste of different areas in an industry that I am interested in was beyond cool and invaluable.
Whether I become a stylist, designer, artistic director, or professional Fashion-Tech Assistant, it’s safe to say that I’m excited for what lies ahead. Things look pretty bright, and that’s even after all the LED dresses have turned off.