Two great March events: An inspiring student-run fashion show and the business side of selling art
Originally published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel March 10, 2012
SLVHS Fashion Show—Wear the Wild Things Are, March 22-25
“What you wear says a lot about who you are.”—Taylor Friend
|One designer’s collection from the 2008 SLVHS fashion show.|
Of course fashion has always been about trend-setting. But what began as a testing-the-waters call for designers, has become a full-blown, expertly produced runway show, with lighting, sound, sets, refreshments, advertising, models and clothing designs, all provided or created by SLV high school students. The ninth installment of this ambitious annual project, “Wear the Wild Things Are,” will feature eight designers and six collections.
|Taylor Friend’s sketchbook shows one of her|
designs for the show: a two-piece bathing suit
and cover-up, the halter top of which
has already been completed.
Since sewing is no longer taught in school, LoFranco and Friend said they were both taught to sew by their mothers. “It all started with doll clothes,” said Friend. But they’ve taken a big creative leap forward that their mothers may never have considered by designing their own patterns. “I like the creative process of making a pattern,” said Friend. “So if I use a [purchased] pattern, I change it drastically.”
Friend says her collection was inspired by the power of the San Andreas Fault. She has a sketch and idea book with photos of red rock formations and jagged rips through the earth. But she says that the Santa Cruz “street vibe” is even more influential in her designs. “The fashion mix of Santa Cruz is indie, beachy. Everyone is trying to do something different.” Mary LoFranco added, “I think we’d all agree that our habitat is influential above all.”
(from left to right) Designers Taylor Friend, Nicole Bullock
and Mary LoFranco convene at Friend’s home one
Sunday morning in February to work on their designs.
The Fashion Club—about 12 students—started meeting and planning at the beginning of the school year, but had trouble finding adult advisors—a school requirement. Finally, they found Debbie Wambaugh, the parent of a SLVHS senior and fiber artist, who has helped with the fashion show for several years. “In mid-October I heard there wasn’t going to a fashion show, so I stepped up,” said Wambaugh. In January, Valerie Friend, a parent and teacher, also volunteered.
Wambaugh said her role as parent advisor is to guide and inspire them. “I’ve been trying to give them a guideline and a calendar. But when they say ‘student run’ they mean student run. Even the house manager is a student for the first time.”
|The audience applauds a colorfully lined jacket|
at the 2008 SLVHS fashion show.
The Business of Art…from Passion to Profitability
“If you’re not making money you’ve got a hobby”—Keith Holtaway
If you’re a struggling-to-make-ends-meet artist pouring your passion and precious resources into your art without receiving much in return, it may be time for some serious (and inexpensive) soul searching. For just $25 per seminar you can attend the “The Business of Art Seminar Series” offered over the next three months through Cabrillo College Extension, and find out what it takes to establish a true business selling your art.
The lead-off seminar in the series, held last month, “The Business of Art 101,” was led by SBDC Certified Business Advisor, artist and co-founder of Pizza My Heart, Keith Holtaway. “Nothing enhances creativity more than not having to worry about money,” he told the sold-out crowd. Holtaway is a proponent of the one-page business plan, which can clarify a business concept in a short, concise way, by answering five questions: What are you building? Why does this business exist? What results will you measure? How will you build this company? What is the work to be done?
Holtaway said there is a commonly held stereotype about the artist mindset, which is, “I’m an artist and I don’t need to know about business.” He coached the audience to get rid of unprofessional tags and treat their art like a business by adopting successful business practices such as monitoring and planning. He emphasized that hiring a professional bookkeeper is a key element to any profitable business, as well as setting-up a separate business account and keeping a clear paper trail. “The whole process is about measurement and having good data,” he said. “You can’t make good choices based on bad information.”
Some inexpensive resources Holtaway recommended were:
- A free weekly business newsletter available at www.artistswhothrive.com
- Jim Horan’s book, “The One Page Business Plan”
- Squareup.com—a way to accept credit cards on your mobile phone
- Creativesandbusiness.com—a step by step approach to starting a creative business
The next seminar in the series, “Pricing Your Art,” will be a panel discussion led by the very successful local muralist and artist, James Aschbacher. This is an invaluable opportunity to not only learn from the vast experience of four local artists who are actively making and selling their work, but to get your specific questions answered by experts. “There’s nothing like real life experience to learn from, so you don’t make the mistakes we all made starting out on our careers,” James wrote to me about the seminar. “And the real fun begins starts when we open up the floor to questions. That’s where the students learn the most.”