When listing fashion capitals of the world, Indianapolis does not usually come to mind, but that could all change very soon due to the efforts of one bold organization. Pattern (originally founded as the Indy Fashion Collective) took root more than two years ago when Polina Osherov and others saw the talent located right in our own backyard thanks in part to Berny Martin and Midwest Fashion Week. “There was no organization locally that was representing and advocating for fashion creators and lovers,” says Polina, “but it was clear that one was needed.”
The Indy Fashion Collective was rebranded last year as Pattern with the help of Janneane Blevins and the KA+A design firm. “It was a total reset to focus on the community,” says Janneane who is a current board member. The group has a goal of building a recognizable fashion district in Indianapolis but they realized they needed the people before the infrastructure. Benjamin Blevins, husband and fellow board member of Janneane explains, “we don’t need to convince the city that fashion and a creative class are good for the economy. We need to convince them that enough people in Indiana care about fashion.”
To build the community, Pattern’s main focus became the creation of a space for fashion lovers, designers, stylists, make-up artists, photographers and even just the fashion curious to come together and mingle. Taking a tip from Verge, Indy’s tech meet-up group, Pattern created free, open monthly meet-ups where fashion could be discussed and connections made. “I believe that the existence of Pattern has created an energy and excitement for the local fashion industry as never before,” says Polina. “Those who are engaged in the fashion/textile industry, whether as creators or fans, finally feel like they are not all alone in the city. There is no entry threshold at all, other than the desire to become connected.” Apparently this is what Indianapolis has been waiting for because more than 100 people showed up for the first Pattern Meet-Up last October. Today, Pattern has 480 members on their Meet-Up group, 770 Facebook fans and 753 Twitter followers.
Organizing monthly meetings of the Indianapolis community seemed like enough for Pattern to focus on, but Polina had a vision for more. Polina had a vision for a full glossy Indiana fashion magazine. She along with Nikki Sutton and Kathy Davis came together for this grand undertaking with Indiana stylists, make-up artists, models, photographers, jewelry makers and much more to assemble a tangible showcase of Indianapolis’ fashion talent. Pattern Paper, issue one, was published in February. “Thank goodness we didn’t tell Paulina no to the magazine,” says Janneane. “It’s a huge testimonial. The reaction was totally amazing.” Due to lack of funding, only 100 copies exist in print, but the online version has received nearly 50,000 hits worldwide on issuu.com. “Right now we're at a point that people are admitting to being pleasantly surprised and impressed by the high quality of the publication and its content and we'd definitely like to continue in that vein,” says Polina. “However, the long-term goal is to transition to a point where no one is surprised that Indiana is an enclave of great talent, but instead look to the publication because they expect to be inspired, challenged and to see innovation.”
One magazine though isn’t enough and so today marks the release of Pattern Paper, issue two with the goal of publishing two issues a year. Having learned from the first process, this issue was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and 1,000 copies have been printed. More than 50 people have worked on this magazine to produce 112 breathtaking pages of pure Indiana fashion complete with photo spreads, interviews and editorials focused on what is happening here.
But this is just the beginning of Pattern’s story. As a relatively young organization, there is still much more for them to do and Indianapolis as a young fashion city as many ways to grow. I would recommend keeping an eye on Pattern and the Indy fashion scene because they may be small but there is so much momentum here.
“My vision is that the industry stays small, but that we are able to create an infrastructure that promotes world-class innovation and artistry. Indianapolis will never be New York or Paris or London, but that's just as well. We can write our own rules here for how we can foster new talent and support existing businesses. Right now, my hope is that through Pattern, we generate enough interest in building a stronger fashion/textile industry amongst our local citizens, to get the city and community leaders onboard with the idea of a small garment district. I know that it's a massive undertaking, but it sure would be great to have a corridor of boutiques, live/work spaces, a showroom and a dedicated space for events that's specifically fashion/textile oriented. Don't you think? And while I know that something like that is probably years away, what I've observed about Indianapolis, especially in the last five years or so, is that we know how to get stuff done, so that definitely gives me hope!”