Q&A: Rachel Murdock of the Alternative Fashion Mob

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From the January 23, 2014 edition

They may seem like an edgy crew of fashion warriors, but the members of the Alternative Fashion Mob believe in playing well with others. In fact, they depend on it. The mob’s quick-and-dirty approach to building the Columbus fashion scene has gained huge community support, which they hope continues at their first fundraiser of 2014. We spoke with Rachel Murdock to find out a little more about the group’s plans this year.

The Alternative Fashion Mob is a grassroots operation. We began as just six or seven people with an idea, and we've turned it into reality. We try to put on workshops or hold events once a month; we transformed a warehouse into an event space. The whole operation is completely DIY. Everything we do is supported by our fundraisers and sponsorships.

Our first fundraiser is on February 8, and we can’t wait. We are having a donation-based art sale from 5 - 9 p.m. at Camelot Cellars. It’s really amazing to see all the support we get. The community really rallies around us, and we basically fund our fashion week on the generosity of Columbus artists who donate work. We are taking donations up until February 1. Plus, it’s just a really good excuse to hang out and have a good time.

Buying local is a huge trend right now. I’ve seen it with everything from locally grown food to fashion. When we started the Alternative Fashion Mob, we found in a survey that people prefer to buy local when they know where to get what they’re looking for. We want to offer a platform to Columbus designers to promote their work and get it to the right consumers.

Making fashion accessible is our main priority. People operate under the assumption fashion isn’t for them, that it’s exclusive. We’re not about that. We want to foster and promote an inclusive community that allows everyone who is interested a chance to participate. When you try to break into the fashion world, nobody tells you how to put together a collection or how to market yourself. We want to be that medium by forming this network of designers, photographers, store owners and bloggers who work together and help each other develop skills.

There is a missing link in Columbus between indie fashion and independently owned businesses. We want to fill that void because we believe in working together. It doesn’t have to be competitive all the time. We are having our fundraiser at Camelot Cellars, where the owner is donating a percentage of proceeds from a wine special to The Alternative Fashion Mob; we are partnering with Evolved for Drauma, among other collaborations. We just believe in pooling our resources and going for win-win situations.

Photo by Meghan Ralston