SHREVEPUNK Reflects Creative Community of Shreveport
When you’re working on a fashion show, it’s hard to sometimes see the big picture. So many details go into the planning process and can range from nail color, accessory placement, lighting and of course, design. Plus there’s everything and anything with the venue, models and volunteers. It can be challenging, yes, but the rewards are endless when it comes to working with your community.
After spending the greater part of 2016 in New Mexico, I returned to Shreveport with a bang. I had already been working as a designer for The Agora Borealis fashion show (13 hours away, albeit) but as soon as our tires hit the ground in Shreveport, it was game on. I was immediately asked to be the creative director for this endeavor, and I couldn’t have been more elated.
But this wasn’t just any fashion show — this was a theatric fashion and art show. If you’ve ever watched America’s Next Top Model, just imagine the final runway performance. It’s not just a fierce runway, but a true theatrical show.
As creative director, my main job was to work with the designers (myself included) on their concepts and creations. The theme, Shrevepunk, was a fusion of Shreveport history and steampunk culture. The idea was to encapsulate northwest Louisiana’s architecture and history spanning from 1863-1940 through fashion. Color palettes were chosen to reflect three ages: Steamboat, Locomotive and Aeronautical. My goal was to make sure the looks representing each age flowed seamlessly throughout the show.
Of course, that would be a dream come true. No show goes without a few backstage hiccups. My initial check-in with the designers proved we’d have a long road ahead with only a few short months until the show. At the time (February) we had about 50 percent of the show’s look completed. But that’s the fun part — finessing and creating. All of the backbone pieces were in place, now it was time to finish up the fashion.
Working with Katy Larsen and the Agora is a feat and a treat — mainly because it’s always challenging (and I mean that in a good way). There’s always an element of surprise and things can change at a moments notice. You have to be on your toes always, as with any fashion show. With the combination of artistic involvement, there were multiple items other than just fashion in play. We had stilt walkers, a woman wearing a champagne dress and moving art. We worked together with the community to showcase an array of talent including clothing and accessory designers, artists, makers and more.
The thought process behind this show (as with all Agora fashion shows) is to show northwest Louisiana that fashion matters (and can be attained locally!). With a crowd of nearly 400 (and over 150 people behind the scenes), we pulled off an incredible show featuring 11 designers. Of those designers we had some like myself who styled vintage, others who created looks from scratch and many that were upcycled (those for sale are currently featured at The Agora Borealis).
The day of the show was spent in full at our venue, 601 Spring Street in downtown Shreveport. Show day is always a full day because there’s so much last minute prepping that goes into everything. Prior to the event we were able to stage the seating which included all of VIP couches and chairs. We hung our lighting (provided by Steve Culp) and began to dress the marketplace. Stations were then put into place for food, alcohol, additional seating and photography. The day of was spent finishing the marketplace, stocking up on additional needs for production and models (water, food, etc.) and doing final run throughs on everything. While I had been appointed the role of creative director, I doubled as designer and worked with my own set of models for the first act. Luckily, many of models had done previous shows with me, so they knew the expectations going into it all. While I don’t always advise models dressing themselves (anything can happen), my models understood the importance of my time and availability. I did an initial check-in, let them dress each other, and then a final check for hair, makeup and their full look. Coordination was key for this and we were able to pull it off flawlessly.
For me, this show was not only a representation of steampunk style, but a look into the creative minds that live right here in our backyard. We see these people who work in restaurants, or who are librarians, or who serve your morning coffee, and we don’t always see past that. Sometimes those people are bursting at the seams with creativity and we have no idea. This show gave the public that glimpse in, and it was a chance for all types of people to come together and support the creative dream of The Agora Borealis — to bring art into all of our lives. We’re already working on next year’s show, so you better believe it’s going to be bigger and better than this years! I hope to see you there.
Derick Jones is a freelance writer and the owner of Vessel Vintage clothing store. When he’s not producing fashion shows he’s spending time with his partner and their dog, Princess.