The business-side of creating fashion

Michael McGee | 7/10/2014, 1:49 p.m.
Fashion, the Internet, inspiration and commerce were all united at the South Dallas Cultural Center on June 26. Inside the ...
Color.Colour.Colores. “Before You Start” business workshop for designers. Marion A. Marshall, SDCC, and Mike McGee

The Dallas Examiner

Fashion, the Internet, inspiration and commerce were all united at the South Dallas Cultural Center on June 26. Inside the Arthello Beck Gallery, the program Color.Colour.Colores took aim at getting local designers, photographers and entrepreneurs from the concept of their creative businesses to streets and showrooms, in style.

“That’s the reason I started this project, Color.Colour.Colores; to educate designers, to help them to have a better understanding from the business-side as well as the creative-side so that they could be successful,” said Marion Marshall, founder of the workshop and herself a past showroom owner in the Dallas Trade Mart.

“What I believe is, most of them don’t think about fashion as a business,” she continued. “They all see the pretty side, and the fashion shows, and the big designers making a bunch of money, but they really haven’t given a lot of thought and done enough research on how they can make their business successful.”

Marshall noted that the evening’s specific program was entitled “Before You Start” and said she hoped to have similar workshops on different topics every month or so under the CCC brand.

The 90-minute program included a panel of designers – Arthur Porter, Chesley Antoinette and Tendai Tawonezvi – as Marshall moderated. The audience listened intently and took notes as the guest speakers discussed such topics as the laws for getting a limited liability corporation off the ground, using crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter.com to garner finances for equipment and material, as well as guerilla-marketing plans. Some novel tips included “pop-up” retail spaces that offer fresh, original garments for a limited time or designers attending art show openings dressed in their own fashionable creations.

“I wanted to be able to showcase some designers, as well to provide [attendees] with the support, whether it was in terms of access to a lawyer, access to an accountant, helping them research fabrics, P.R., whatever they needed,” Marshall said further about the purpose of CCC.

Future plans include a workshop where attendees will be able to touch and manipulate fabric, and get the chance to physically create a garment or accessory.

“Eventually I’d like to have a full-fledged incubator where we have people in-house. We’d actually have a real library where people could come in, and this is just the beginning of that,” Marion offered.

Antoinette designs jewelry and hats – or “sculptural headwear” as she termed her concepts – as her specialty. Outfitted in a yellow, multi-hued pillbox-style hat and a necklace constructed from piano keys, the young creator admitted that she participated in the fashion event for a deeply personal reason.

“I love teaching people and showing people the beauty in taking something mundane and transforming it into something that is wearable art – that they can then have their own self-identity in fashion.”

Antoinette acknowledged that local gatherings such as “Before You Start” were significant not only for fashionistas but for the cultural life of the city itself.

“First of all, artists, designers – that’s all a business. Any artistic avenue that you wind up taking is a business in some way or another,” she voiced. “And, as far as bringing the community together to understand that, it’s very important so that we can continue to support our artists and designers locally so they can stay here and thrive in the community and help build up the community as well.”