When local Charleston fashion designer Julie Wheat of Cavortress asked me to join her on a trek to the South by Southwest's inaugural Style X event in Austin, Texas, not only was I honored to be considered by her to document her travels, I was extremely excited to share with the rest of the Charleston community just what it takes to make it as a creative professional from the Holy City.
Looking from the outside in, many folks only see the end result: fabulous fashions, sleek photographs, gorgeous models, and all the glamour and glitter. In an industry centered around appearances, designers are naturally reluctant to open the "backstage" part of their life, and they are already exposing a deep part of their creative identity with their work. For a designer to allow the world to delve even further into their life and see what is behind the pretty fabric is pretty rare.But Wheat and her fashions aren't known for playing by the rules. In the past 48 hours, we have made the twelve hour drive from Charleston, SC to New Orleans, LA. After a late night getting in, we spent a day treking around the city, checking out antique jewelry, local vintage shops and drinking lots of Community Coffee. The setting of New Orleans had a perfect juxtaposition that parralleled the purpose of my journey. Still recovering from Katrina, New Orleans' vibrant culture dances amongst the dark shadows and broken windows of abandoned buildings still vacant and bruised from the storm. The city embraces the good with the bad, and proudly shows its work in rebuilding their beloved city. While Wheat's designs will dazzle amongst the lights and crowds of Style X, behind it is countless hours of work, phone calls, days on the road, bad gas station coffee and the grunge of the interstate. Hotel mix ups, not knowing where we're sleeping, and working from the road are things people probably don't think about when they look at a designer's creation.But if New Orleans is proud enough to show the sweat of its brow along with it's charm, why shouldn't we all embrace our trials and efforts endured in creating something beautiful with our lives? So welcome to Wheat's van, filled to the windows with fabric, clothing, powerbars and empty coffee cups. There will be a time for glamour soon enough, but the adventure and open road of possibilities is keeping us more than satisfied.
- Follow our adventures with Cavortress on our topic page, and be sure to follow her along on Twitter at @Cavortress, and connect with her on Facebook. Follow contributor Katie Kozar on twitter at@ktkozar, and @TheDigitelExtra for real-time updates as well.
- Don't forget to get the latest on the fashion week on our topic page