We hold nothing but excitement for a bold new shopping event happening at the end of this month by The Nashville Fashion Alliance. For one evening and one day, Track One (an event space in We-Ho) will be transformed to welcome shoppers to an immersive experience of fashion and art called The Wardrobe Project. The Wardrobe Project is designed to function as a connector of shoppers, designers and varying art forms through visual displays. Think shopping, social advocacy and entertainment rolled into one.
This is how we imagine the sights and sounds of the event: a banana chandelier hanging from the ceiling, Cavanagh Baker’s one-of-a-kind designs against the backdrop of a local artist’s work, abstract pieces by Alex Lockwood, locals clad in Elizabeth Suzann dresses, and the gasps of shoppers as they discover new-to-them local brands. At this point, your guess is as good as ours as everyone involved in the event, including co-chairs Nina Thomas and Martha Ivester, are tight-lipped about what to expect at The Wardrobe Project. “The WOW factor will be working overtime at this event,” Nina hints, and Martha adds with a smile, “No one knows what to expect and everyone will be excited!” One thing’s for sure, this is a shopping opportunity you don’t want to miss.
With dozens of local brands under one roof — their designs framed in large-scale installations by local visual artists — we can only imagine these predictions to be true. “We want people to walk out curious about learning more about our fashion community,” NFA Founder Van Tucker adds. “I want people to walk away inspired that this is an amazing creative community — and to shop local,” Martha echoes.
“The event is a bold representation of what the city has to offer,” says Caroline Acree, whose Instagram account Nashville Wardrobe Project — a name the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA) fell in love with and used for the event — showcases local brands and retailers. “Local fashion is easy, and it’s chic; it is not cowboy boots and hats,” shares Van. “Caroline put a visual to that,” and the NFA plans to expand upon this visual.
Most importantly, the event will raise awareness of the brands in an accessible and embracing atmosphere for many people who have not yet been exposed to the industry.
This opportunity to showcase Nashville’s diversity of brands and art forms is putting NFA’s mission into practice: to incubate and accelerate emerging fashion companies through advocacy, economic development, resource development and education. For those of you unfamiliar with the Nashville Fashion Alliance, read this article and mark your calendar for The Wardrobe Project event. It’s amazing to think that our region has the largest per capita concentration of independent brands outside of New York and Los Angeles. In fact, you might have to see it to believe it. The 40+ makers who have come together to make this event possible are expressive of the region’s growth in fashion, which is not happening by mistake. “The NFA injects so much vitality — fiscally and emotionally — into the local economy,” Nina shares.
NFA is fostering a community in an effort to progress fashion cultures in Nashville and beyond. “We are solidifying the place that the fashion industry holds in our creative economy, and rightfully so,” Van says. “Usually when people think of Nashville’s creative economy, they think of music — and recently, this has taken a turn to culinary. It is time for the fashion industry to stake its claim.”
Designers in menswear, womenswear, children’s clothing and accessories have aligned themselves with the NFA and will display their breadth and depth of talent at The Wardrobe Project. Choosing only a few from the list of over 40 vendors to mention proved difficult. We have our well-known (to us) favorites, such as Amanda Valentine, Carden Avenue, Ceri Hoover, Seraphine Design, Black By Maria Silver, Ona Rex and Will & Ivey as well as newly discovered brands including Brownlee Bathing Corp (a company launching their brand at The Wardrobe Project), Morton & Mabel, Portmanteau Jewelry Collection and Emily Phillips. Each designer will bring pieces that are unmitigated in quality. “It is not just about the aesthetics — although the aesthetics are beautiful. I would put local brands up next to the finest in the country,” Van says.
There is a blurring of lines between fashion and art, and nothing will showcase Nashville’s creative collaboration quite like this event. With so many facets of the creative community, the dynamism is contagious. “The creative economy and the cross-pollination is what differentiates our economy from Seattle, or Austin, or Atlanta. It is what creates the magic that is blowing up. You can eat at great restaurants in any city in the country; you can find great brands in any city in the country. But they don’t have a sustainable creative economy. And that is why we are differentiating that. The fashion industry can’t be an island — nor would we want it to be,” Van responds when asked about the importance of collaboration between different art forms. The excitement and outpouring of support for this one-of-a-kind event is a testament to the character and fabric of Nashville and its creative community.
Nitty-Gritty Event Details:
The Wardrobe Project (TWP), a shopper’s marketplace, is designed to showcase the extraordinary array of our fashion brands in a chic, sophisticated space, framed in large-scale installations by local visual artists. This will be the NFA’s biggest event yet, an experience that invites shoppers to engage and buy local.
On Friday night, ticket holders will have access to the VIP Preview Night, which kicks off at 6 p.m. In addition to early access to The Wardrobe Project, guests will be treated to valet parking, smaller crowds, cocktails and small bites and the opportunity to meet the people who create the products and learn how they are made. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here. Also, if you purchase a ticket to the VIP Preview Night (and bring the ticket to the event), you will be entered into a $4,000 local wardrobe giveaway. We are already dreaming about the many ways to spend the $4,000!
The Wardrobe Project’s general admission is free and open to the public on Saturday, October 1. Starting at 9 a.m., you will be able to head into Track One to see the space for yourself.
6 StyleBlueprint Insider Tips:
- On Thursday night, NFA is hosting another event called The Reclamation, which will include craft cocktails, a five-course dinner with wine pairings, a live musical performance from Guilty Pleasures and a repurposed fashion exhibit with pieces originally found at Goodwill.
- The dress code for all events is local luxury, and you are welcome to embrace your own definition of what this means. “You can be as creative as you want and no one will bat an eye,” Martha encourages. For Van, “What makes it luxurious is that it was designed and produced locally.” Keep an eye out for Thursday’s “What to Wear” article, which will feature local designers and provide inspiration for local luxury.
- On Saturday, October 1, get there early to beat the crowds and snag a good parking spot.
- Take advantage of the on-site alterations and fitting rooms.
- This event also celebrates the opening of Artober, a month-long celebration of arts and culture that runs through the month of October. Check out the Artober Nashville events in visual and performing arts, music, craft, film and more.
- Stop by the StyleBlueprint lounge for some fun surprises, including mini-makeovers by Therapy Systems and booth styled by Amos Events!
“The Wardrobe Project is an opportunity to wallow around in the the greatness of Nashville,” says Van. “It will be a magical night of culinary, visual, music and of course, fashion.”
We can’t wait!
For more information on The Nashville Fashion Alliance and The Wardrobe Project, visit nashvillefashionalliance.com.
Shop local by visiting Nashville businesses found in the free SB App. Click here to download.