Lexington Fashion Collaborative
Launched in 2009, the Lexington Fashion Collaborative (LFC), a 501c3 non-profit, has given Lexington-based aspiring artists, photographers, writers, designers and models an opportunity to showcase their talent and contribute to the ever-growing local fashion industry.
Co-Founder and Director of LFC Soreyda Benedit-Begley began her journey by collaborating with photographer Richie Wiremen to do a fashion photography exhibit with his photos and a runway show with her clothing. “After the word got out about this event, many local designers got interested in being part of it and we decided to bring in as many as possible,” Benedit-Begley says. “With only about six weeks of planning, we ended up having 15 designers and over 300 people came to the show! After the first Future of Fashion (this has become the LFC’s annual fundraiser event) a lot of the participants got very excited and started to meet regularly until we officially formed the organization.”
Since the launch of LFC, the organization has grown to be very diverse, attracting experienced talent as well as emerging talent, according to Benedit-Begley. They’ve collaborated with designers such as Laverne Zabielskie, Sarah Jane Estes and Naomi Connor, a 15 year old high school student who won the 2013 Future of Fashion emerging designer award; photographers such as Andrew Kung and Liam Spradlin; and models such as Laura Kirkpatrick.
“We work with all art forms. Clothing is such a big important element of our everyday life and a very special form of self-expression for everyone,” she says. “We collaborate in shows that bring together all art forms to create multimedia shows that are always very exciting for the audience and bring together people that very likely would never be attending an event together.”
One of the most popular events at LFC is the “Future of Fashion” event that is now going on its fifth year. This event is known as LFC’s signature event that typically brings together the most talent. This year, for example, it’s bringing together 35 designers. “This show offers a wonderful platform for everyone who wants to be involved in fashion to get first-hand experience with what goes into producing and being part of a fashion event,” says Benedit-Begley. “This is entirely produced by volunteers.”
LFC has also joined forces for several other events, such as Boomslang Festival, Beaux Arts Ball, Fashions Night Out with Vogue Magazine and the Carnegie Center Classic Series Great Gatsby. In addition, LFC does community networking events two to three times a year so that LFC members or anyone in the community get a chance to meet and exchange information on outgoing projects. “We do projects with anyone and everyone in the community who is working on developing a brand or interested in promoting their label and meet other people working in the fashion industry in the region,” Benedit-Begley explains.
Because LFC is non-profit it does rely on several different avenues to keep the organization running such as the Annual Future Fashion event, art organizations such as LexArts, locally owned businesses, grants for small projects and promotion through printed local publications. “We are looking into obtaining funding for long term educational and skill development programs,” she explains. “We are also working on developing a sewing and clothing manufacturing program with refugee women.”
With more and more requests for collaborations and several events coming up such as the Pop-Up Shop for local designers and artists on December 6-8 at the Breadbox Artist Studio and a fashion design and photography exhibit at the Hesdley Whitney Museum on March 23, 2014, Benedit-Begley still has many future aspirations with LFC. “I would like to have a facility where we can do workshops, a showroom for designers, a photography studio, a hair and makeup room, a runway model training facility and a library with instructional books and DVDs,” she says. “I would like LFC to expand to other places.”
To learn more about Lexington Fashion Collaborative, visit their website at www.lexingtonfashion.org or Facebook page.