Fashion Happening Nashville + Ona Rex + Zachary Gray
On October 15, I was honored and excited to be a part of an annual event called Fashion Happening Nashville. Put on by two lovely ladies in the Industry, Hunter Claire Rogers (all around fashion guru and amazing ass-kicker) and Anna Zeitlin (of Fanny and June -- a custom hat and accessory brand based here in Nashville), the evening is an opportunity for the community to see what local fashion really means. This year, however, they put a slightly different spin on it and paired up designers with photographers and handed out the theme, "Imaginary Process." Each pair was tasked with interpreting and exhibiting what that process is.
If you guys don't know by now that Brett Warren is my end-all-be-all for photography (and a thousand other aspects of Ona Rex), then you've been living under a rock. He was the first person to truly push me into starting my business and has been a huge part of it ever since. However, there comes a time in every Ona Rex's life when you gotta step out from your safety blanket, nay cocoon, and work with the other amazing talent that resides here in our ever-growing, traffic-impounded city.
Zachary Gray has long been on my I-admire-you-like-crazy list, and once Brett and I decided to spread our little wings with other people, I knew Zachary was my target. Thankfully, he agreed and we embarked on the multi-month-long attempt of lining up our schedules to shoot our collaboration.
I knew I wanted to explore a new realm for Ona -- one of tulle and prettiness and volume. I'm really inspired by a brilliant designer named Molly Goddard, who famously works with tulle to create what she lovingly describes as "Party Dresses." This is the inspiration I have been feeling for Spring 17, so this was a perfect way to dip my toe in. I created two different garments for Zach to shoot, both tulle.
The first was bright yellow and draped on the form into voluminous gathers that traveled around the bust, over the shoulder and across the back in an angular yoke. Tiny ribbons enclosed one side seam and I let the skirt extend towards the ground in simplicity.
The second piece was made of nude tulle to contrast and balance the yellow and was kind of the opposite approach in style. Instead of it hugging the curves of the body, I wanted this one to feel like a cloud -- as if there was an energy simply permeating the air around its wearer. I hand-sewed tiny pleats across the chest and back which felt like little ribs on the garment. I finished the seams running down the tops of the arms with petite ribbons, because ribbon was having its moment with me.
Zach and I worked on styling the pieces with some existing pants from both my Spring 2016 and Fall 2016 collections. I loved how the sportiness of the pants broke up the delicacy of the tulle. The giant black boots didn't hurt either. We shot in a dream location on a dream day -- inside the vacated Sporting Goods Store on Rosa Parks downtown. It was every bit as dingy and dank as I had hoped. I love when things juxtopose, so I was quite the happy camper.
I am so proud of the images Zach took. He is a brilliant, brilliant artist of our time and I have no doubt one day I'll look back on our images together and wonder how he ever knew a little tike like me.
Be sure to follow Fashion Happening on Instagram and stay up to date with their next event. It's sure to be a good one!