What is Columbus designing?

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There's at least two clothing designers who've been working in Columbus for more than a decade. Who can name them?

That's Darrell Hunter's point exactly.

Hunter and his partners in Jwork - a label featuring casual, printed urbanwear - have been advocating for Columbus designers since launching their enterprise. Now, the group is walking the walk with this weekend's fashion showcase and plans for a national tour.

"We came to the conclusion that nobody's coming to Columbus for this stuff," Hunter said. "So we're taking it to them."

Designs by Winborn's Cory Winborn and Michael Schundo, two longtime Columbus designers, triggered the idea, he said.

"Not because they've been doing it for so long, but because no one's coming to Columbus and seeing what they do," Hunter said. "Something's gotta change."

So Saturday, their work will saunter down the runway with items from other select designers (including Jwork) in an evening event headlined by Fly.Union, Stretch Lefty and DJ J. Rawls.

"There's a lot here that people don't know about," Hunter said. "We've been in shows with them before, so we were familiar with their work and knew we wanted to help them showcase their talent."

The event aims to put the "'show' back in showcase," he added. The nine featured design labels range from House of Baboski's couture fashion to Rusted Custom Apparel's tattoo-inspired designs, and each has scripted a storyline for their segment.

Tickets are $20 presale, but military veterans with ID can get in free - Hunter's two partners in Jwork are vets - and a portion of proceeds will establish a scholarship for a Columbus senior planning to study art or design.

Show-goers can check out fall designs on sale after the show - and should prepare for a weekend-long event next year, Hunter said.

Ultimately, a nationwide tour with designers from cities all over the Midwest involved is on tap for 2010 - a seemingly aggressive strategy, but Hunter said he's sure it can be done.

And, he believes, there's both a need and an outlet, he said.

"We're looking to take this everywhere," he said, naming Chicago, New York and Los Angeles with no hint of anxiety. "Really hit the major fashion venues."