“It was an idea that started about five years ago,” said Benedit-Begley. “I talked to my friend that is a photographer and asked him to put up an exhibit of his work and I could have a runway show down the middle of it. Before we knew it we had started an event! We ended up having 15 designers in the first Future Fashion show five years ago.”
The Lexington Fashion Collaborative is a non-profit organization that focuses on supporting, inspiring and sharing the love of wearable art. The purpose of the collaborative is to provide people with the resources they need to be involved in the fashion industry.
“Whatever you want to do in fashion it is available for you here,” said Benedit-Begley. “Whatever your passion is, we provide the opportunity for you to be able to form a portfolio and become experienced at a young age.”
There have been multiple success stories that have come out of the collaborative.
“Maggie Christenson was a model in 2009 for us and then went off to be the founder of Mour Magazine, Lexington’s first fashion magazine,” said Benedit-Begley. “Samantha Moore also modeled for us in 2009 and now has her own handmade accessory business.”
After starting up the Lexington Fashion Collaborative, Benedit-Begley realized what her true passion was.
“I’m interested in changing how the fashion industry operates,” she said. “So many people have the wrong idea about fashion and we are here to show them what it is all about.”
The collaborative welcomes anybody who is looking to furthering his or her career in the fashion industry, or is interested in learning about the business side of it.
Deaaron McCann, a recent graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, has been interning at the Lexington Fashion Collaborative for the past six weeks.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity,” said McCann. “When I was growing up we didn’t have an outlet like this, now people can start pursuing their dreams at a younger age.”
Naomi Connor, 15, is working at the Lexington Fashion Collaborative through the Fayette County Youth Employment Program.
“This is my first experience using a sewing machine,” she said. “I have loved every minute of it.”
Benedit-Begley, McCann and Connor all agree that what brings everyone together at the collaborative is their love for fashion. On September 12-14 all of their hard work will be on display at The Lyric Theatre for their annual Future of Fashion Show. If you are interested in getting involved, volunteering or finding out more information about the Lexington Fashion Collaborative, visit lexingtonfashion.org.
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