Local members of the fashion industry are coming together to help each other grow.
About two dozen fashion designers, photographers, models, jewelry makers and more showed up to the first meeting of the Humboldt Fashion Alliance at the Eureka Visitor Center on Thursday night to talk about how they can coordinate on photo shoots, look books, fashion shows and generally expanding their businesses.
Amy Fowler, a hat-maker who owns Humboldt Haberdashery and one of the organizers of the meeting, said having an alliance where photographers, models, retailers and designers can collaborate could help all of them grow their businesses.
“For my business to grow, I needed models and photo shoots because my hats are all on mannequins and that doesn’t work well for the people that want to spend the $700, $800 on a hat,” Fowler said. “ … I don’t have the money, I don’t have the knowledge to put those things together, but working altogether — I know a lot of other people in the same situation — I want to have this organization be a resource for that.”
No type of fashion is going to be put in any niches or corners, Fowler said, and the alliance will be embracing all types of fashion, including accessories, upcycled fashion, Burner fashion, designer fashion and whatever else members were interested in.
“Everyone needs experience and there’ll be opportunities for all levels of people,” Fowler said, “whether you’re a very talented, professional photographer working with high-end stores or people that want to get some experience shooting photos on a runway with like a youth show or something.”
Eventually the alliance may want to expand and have a storefront that offers classes and more like the Redding Fashion Alliance, but that was still a ways in the future, Fowler said.
Humboldt Made, which works with local businesses on branding, growing outside the area and collaborating to cut costs, is a key part of helping bring the alliance to fruition, Fowler said.
Alanna Powell, executive director of Humboldt Made, said the nonprofit is interested in helping the businesses in anyway it can, whether through consulting or collaborating on fashion shows like the one Humboldt Made put on during Friday Night Markets during the past fall.
“We’re just interested in getting to know this whole industry cluster because it does seem to a fairly isolated one,” Powell said. “And there seems to be quite a bit of interest and movement.”
Yavanna Reynolds, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco who moved to the area in April, said she took some time off from the industry when she had kids. Now she’s looking to get back into it.
“I have a lot of skills, but I’ve just been stuck in a little house with my children doing preschool work,” Reynolds said. “I’m hoping this will give me a chance to meet some other creative people and they won’t reject me as a poser or anything.”
Kaira Loving, owner of Loving-alls, makes overalls out of recycled materials she buys from SCRAP Humboldt in Arcata and said she was interested in networking now that her passion was turning into a business.
“Honestly, I don’t have any sort of business knowledge,” Loving said. “I more like just started creating this out of passion and now I’m like, ‘Oh wow, I have a business all of a sudden.’ And maybe learning some people who’ve been in the industry longer because I’m winging it on that end.”
The Humboldt Fashion Alliance is expected to meet again towards the beginning of February. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0506.