Take it from someone who studied Fashion Design, studied and lived in NYC several summers, interned in the industry and finally worked in the industry for the past year.
When most people think of fashion they think of NYC or Paris. I don't blame them, I do too. After all, it is historically speaking where famed fashion houses started, trends occured and fashion weeks began.
The Lowcountry isn't often on the list of top places to be or study to be a fashion designer.
However, this is changing, with The Art Institute of Charleston's new program in Fashion Design, I am seeing more often than not, people staying in the Charleston area.
I graduated with the FIRST ever class of Fashion Design in The Art Institute of Charleston in June 2016.
One of my very best friends (and still is) left for Florida after we graduated and is working for White House Black Market designing pieces left and right.
I took a decision to stay here and work for a startup between NYC and Charleston and source between the two for the womenswear line.
It turned out that yes, you can actually live here and work as a designer and remain close to the Lowcountry. However, I found one of the major problems designers face: buying fabric. Where do we go?
As a student, it was the same question. We would have to source and order from NYC stores and companies for fabric swatches and yardage. It was expensive and usually had to be rushed shipping for the next class period.
We did shop as students at Joann's,Hancock Fabrics and any little mom and pop places but those options don't usually have nicer fabrics for final wardorbe pieces. They also don't usually have many options within certain fabrics.
Then, my senior year of college, Hancock's Fabrics shut down. Thus, again the idea of a fashion fabric shop would be ideal in the Charleston area with as many samples of fabrics and bolts as famous Mood holds in NYC.
I can't help but think of this niche market opportunity here. It'd help out our own community and especially the arts/fashion side but also keep creatives in the Lowcountry.
I love supporting local and with more options, designers and students alike can do so. Until then, I guess we will be ordering here and there from NYC and supporting our local Joann's.
Tell me, where do you shop for all of your design needs?
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any tips, ideas and/or location spots in Charleston for the fashion design scene!