Last night I had the great pleasure of experiencing the fourth Stitch Austin, a fashion show and craft bazaar-an annual celebration of independent design, artistry, and creativity. The day started with my arrival to Austin Music Hall at 9am for the volunteer job I signed up for in August. Throughout the morning, the volunteers did a variety of pre-production jobs consisting of booth layout & labeling, goodie bag assembly, and model/designer/crafter check-in. Having volunteered regularly for the entirety of my adult life, I was truly appreciative of the planning and proper organization the Stitch coordinators put into the volunteer session.
The doors opened at 5pm with a line down the block. The first 100 people to enter the doors received a fabulous bag by 31 Corn Lane. I, on-the-other hand, resisted the urge to add yet another bag to my ridiculously ever-growing collection and showed up around 630pm. As I walked in the door, Super Sonic Soul Squad, a dance troupe of crafty types, took to the dance floor and started Stitch off right with thoroughly enjoyable hip-hop dance moves generally reserved for a high school drill team.
The craft bazaar consisted of 70 vendors, a good portion being jewelry. I am not the hugest fan of jewelry, but I did make friends with a lovely lady from Dallas named Julie Briggs, www.handmadejulz.com. She makes rings, bracelets, and necklaces out of colorful wire and glass bobbles, combining organic shapes with colorful graphics. She can even take personal digital images, like your cat’s face or your favorite niece’s school photo, and turn them into wearable works. I bought two rings from her to give as gifts for the upcoming holidays. My friend Kelly Butler flew into town from Nashville to pimp her Tramp Lamps, www.tramplamps.com. For several years Kelly has been making corsets and “under-things” light up. She handpicks each undergarment from vintage and antique stores, curing the fabric with a solution she developed. The pieces are then adorned with various flowers, beads, and ribbons. After attaching a chord and light bulb, she lights the “lady” up and names them.
Another company I took notice of while browsing at Stitch is lbs. designs by Leah Sanchez, www.lbsdesigns.net. She creates little picture collages by sewing swatches of fabric together onto t-shirts, and the outcome is fantastically colorful! She has t-shirts with chopsticks, piñatas, trees, and more adorning them–no two are alike!
I made my way up to the runway at 830pm and stood there until 945pm, when the fashion show started-at this point, the house was standing room only. The Master of Ceremonies was Matt Bearden and 18 designers showcased their talents. Fashion has always intrigued me because of the patience and attention to detail that working in that industry requires. While I can not state whose clothes I liked the best-I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl-I will say that the featured designers are extremely gifted and Austin’s fortunate to have seen their brilliance here at Stitch.
Three deejays and two bands took to the stage throughout the evening and into the night. The deejays-BIGFACE, Jennifer, & Mel-provided great shopping music to the sold-out crowd. The bands, however, were almost, if not completely ignored. And, this is truly unfortunate because both bands were really talented. +/- went on at midnight to a less than enthusiastic crowd. What had been standing room only moments before, now held a handful of people. When Irving took the stage at 1am, most of the crafters were beginning to close up their booths. And, Irving had to keep thanking people for sticking around. Both bands played their hearts out-like the place was packed-so I give them immeasurable credit for that.[fa:p:a=72157594376694365,id=297655812,j=r,s=s,l=p] Stitch was definitely the place to see and be seen. The ladies behind Amet and Sasha, Naughty Secretary Club, Tina Sparkles, and Identity Crisis Clothing are smart, inventive, and resourceful. They are providing a venue where artists can show their wares, and where the public can be educated on buying a handmade product. And, what they are doing is very important and goes much deeper than just putting on an event. They have discovered a missing link in today’s world, and have taken that missing link and forged new territory: creating a following, a movement, an underground culture. I look forward to attending next year’s Stitch with baited anticipation, and I kindly suggest you make plans now to attend.