February 2, 2011



Mary and I had the rare and fun opportunity to crash a local designer's workshop the other day as he prepared looks for the website of his newly formed Rampant Fashion Cooperative. Let's be honest, Mary and I are a little more "uptown" than Midtown, so when our GPS guided us to the front of an abandoned antique shop kiddie corner from the notorious Press Club - we wondered for a moment if this was going to be our cup of tea. Wandering through a narrow alley, up a dark stair case and through a strange subdivided attic space we finally found the smell of hairspray and glow of spot lights that whispered to us "you found it". It was here that we met this guy:

His name is Jason Powers, and he is the designer we were here to meet. In the flicker of the backlight Jason swished about the raw wood and exposed concrete space, gathering a grouping of smiling creatives to meet us. "This is my team" he said as he introduced us to each of them, one by one.  It was that word "team" that we would soon learn was the heart of this project. 

Jason quickly explained that Rampant was really more of a collective than a fashion label - less defined brand image and more collaborative experiment. Jason, a self taught designer handles most of the sewing and sketching while Christie Eichinger (a FIDM graduate) was Rampant's "business brain" - responsible for everything from selling merchandise to building buzz. Other collaborators included model / jack of all trades Josh Stonier (He's the hunk of burning love below in the blue t-shirt), Mateo Mamola a graphic and digital designer and Crystal Jones a photographer. Jason insisted that each of his partners were equally invested and equally important to the project. A traditionalist when it comes to business, I found this whole "collective" concept interesting, albeit a little confusing at times. 

Generally speaking, when it comes to the business of fashion, each of these entities i.e. photographers, models, artists etc. are pieces of the puzzle, collaborators on projects, but not really a part of the actual design process. The entourage generally comes after the clothing has created a demand for it. With Rampant it seems that the entourage is actually an integral part of the creation process. While Jason is clearly the creative maestro behind the clothing itself it seems that he truly defers to his companions each step along the way taking the position that the more cooks in the kitchen - the better. While the whole thing is unorthodox to say the least, it doesn't mean that his communal approach to fashion can't be great. After all, isn't fashion about breaking the rules? 

We had the chance to see a few finished pieces while we visited, all hand sewn, varying in style and inspiration. The looks consisted of a mix of mens and women's fashion featuring everything from t-shirts to cocktail dresses. We wish we could have seen more, but what we did see had promise and potential. Jason and crew have done some initial projects including a fashion show for this years Diogenes event. For now the group is hard at work creating and editing and creating and editing some more. They hope to reveal their first official efforts this summer at a launch party to be held July 22nd at the Crocker Art Museum. They plan to benefit the Mustard Seed School.  

While I am not 100% confident in saying that I fully know what the Rampant Fashion Cooperative will turn out to be just yet, what I can say is that the people I met were all very talented interesting people with an infectious energy and a desire to do something different and fun in their community through fashion. In Sacramento there are those that stand on the sidelines and spitball and there are those that actually step up and try and do something interesting. Rampant is going full speed ahead, making no apologies and doing so in a way that you can't help but like. I for one am eager to see what Rampant turns out on July 22nd. We love to see our peers taking a risk and doing it in the name of fashion. We're rooting for you guys! Check out images from their line below. Like them on Facebook too.

- brother

Showing off our Rampant T-shirts - thanks guys!

No comments:

Post a Comment