Alternative Fashion Mob to Open Fashion Design Resource Center

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

The Alternative Fashion Mob, with the help of a $10,000 grant, recently announced plans to open a resource center for local designers.

The money, given as part of the Create Columbus Commissions' 2014 grant cycle, will go toward a space called FABRIC-a workshop-meets-storefront-meets-studio for local aspiring fashion designers (and design enthusiasts).

Amee BellWanzo, head of marketing and event planning for AFM, says the idea for FABRIC came as they were planning and fundraising for the first Alternative Fashion Week in 2013.

"We thought it would be great to put the money back into the local design community, " she says. "And that really should be our goal-whatever we're supporting needs to be able to benefit the design community."

The Columbus Idea Foundry will host the space-part of what BellWanzo refers to as "phase one" of FABRIC. It'll have a meeting room for designers to meet with clients, dressing rooms, a small area with fabric sales and workspaces filled with sewing machines and dress forms.

Being located at the Foundry also means designers will have access to a laser cutter and 3D printing, and AFM will continue to host fashion shows and events there, too. BellWanzo says she hopes it'll be up and running by September, around the same time as the Independents' Day Festival, Sept. 19-21.

"Idea Foundry is a great starting point for us," she says. "Hopefully when we do find our own space, we'll continue the relationship with them."

And that's phase two-a standalone location for FABRIC. BellWanzo says after some fundraising, the group hopes to find a large warehouse-type location in an up-and-coming part of Columbus. They need room to host events and the flexibility to convert the space into a classroom one day and a runway the next.

Phase two will also include a retail space for local designers to sell their work.

To introduce FABRIC to Columbus, BellWanzo says AFM will be hosting monthly meetings, events and classes for the general public, including a screen-printing workshop, a clothing swap and possibly a cocktail and movie night. It'll also host fashion shows during the Independents' Day Festival.

Keep an eye on the group's site for more info on those.

-Taylor Starek, @taylorstarek