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Midwest Fashion Week explores sustainable fashion in ‘Nouvelle Nature’

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Local designers showcased new collections during the 2022 Midwest Fashion Week at the Indianapolis Arts Garden. (Photos/Lenny White via Pride Photography)
Local designers showcased new collections during the 2022 Midwest Fashion Week at the Indianapolis Arts Garden. (Photos/Lenny White via Pride Photography)

Indianapolis’ fashion scene is rediscovering its roots and moving toward sustainable fashion.

Midwest Fashion Week will present its annual fashion show Nov. 19 at the Indianapolis Arts Garden. The show, entitled “Nouvelle Nature,” will feature six local and national designers’ collections of clothing that reflect this year’s theme of the ecosystem, pathways and sustainability, said Berny Martin, founder of Midwest Fashion Week.

“This event has been a generic of the core of the Midwest, and for us this is a part of not only showcasing talent but also a way to highlight the future of some of those individuals, and the talents, and the businesses that are happening here,” Martin said. “It’s also a great way for the city and the people to attend and see what the future has to hold when it comes to fashion.”

The idea of “Nouvelle Nature” has been in the making for several years, as Midwest Fashion Week, founded in 2006, built upon its foundation to develop purpose and objectives for Indiana and the Midwest’s place in the fashion world, Martin said. The event’s purpose is to showcase the diverse wealth of talent in Indiana, and how the industry flourishes when everyone comes together with their skills, and each department can work in the chain of command.”

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In fashion, sustainability goes further than just what fabrics are used, Martin said. It also means job creation on the local level. Most of the designers in the show are from Indiana, including Vestonia Davis, a local designer who has been sewing and making handmade clothes since she was seven years old.

As one of the featured designers for “Nouvelle Nature,” Davis said her latest collection “Concrete Love” takes natural elements, such as roses and hearts, to emphasize the idea of love.

Davis studied fashion throughout high school before attending the Art Institute of Indianapolis and said she uses brand NiLUV to create womenswear that plays into the contrasts between hard and soft — this often includes intricate details with classic silhouettes infused in streetwear.

Local designer Vestonia Davis will present her newest collection “Concrete Love” during the 2023 Midwest Fashion Week show “Nouvelle Nature” at the Indianapolis Arts Gardern Nov. 19, 2023. (Photo provided/Vestonia Davis)
Local designer Vestonia Davis will present her newest collection “Concrete Love” during the 2023 Midwest Fashion Week show “Nouvelle Nature” at the Indianapolis Arts Garden Nov. 19, 2023. (Photo provided/Vestonia Davis)

“I like to design clothes that can be paired with jeans, or you can work with a hoodie but still have an elegant design to it — such as a sequined skirt with a hoodie or a graphic T-shirt,” Davis said. “So, a little more of the ‘glamorous edge,’ I call it.”

The glamorous edge of Davis’ fashion goes hand in hand with the theme of nature and sustainable fashion at the center of “Nouvelle Nature.” Not only is everything in the “Concrete Love” collection handmade, but Davis also said she incorporates floral patterns, designs and natural colors, reinventing — or recycling — previous pieces into something new.

“Nouvelle Nature” is an opportunity for Davis to gain exposure for herself as a designer as well as a chance for her and the other five designers to display their versions of art.

“I hope people can just see artists’ visions in fashion because I feel like fashion is art,” Davis said. “I know a lot of people take a lot of time and a lot of skill to create their pieces, so being able to show how it’s done and the passion that you put into it — your version of art — I think it’s important.”

Midwest Fashion Week’s “Nouvelle Nature” is Nov. 19 at the Indianapolis Arts Garden, 110 W. Washington St. Proceeds from the show go toward the Fashion Community Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to create a more diverse environment within the fashion industry, Martin said. For more information about the show and ticketing, visit midwestfashionweek.com.

Boss up Business Brunch

Prior to its annual fashion show, Midwest Fashion Week will host “Boss Up Business Brunch: MFW Edition.” The networking event aims to foster connections between among local creatives and entrepreneurs, and will feature three panels moderated by DaNisha Greene, Erica “Ms. Eklass” Pierce and Dr. Tony Thompson as well as more than 15 industry professionals in fashion, beauty and barbering, marketing and more.

“Boss Up Business Brunch: MFW Edition,” is Nov. 18 from 1-5 p.m. at the Hovito Ultra Lounge, located at 234 S. Meridian St. For more information about registration and a schedule of events for the day, visit http://bit.ly/3u3ZEQy

This story has been updated.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848 or chloegm@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.

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