Monday, February 8, 2016

Fashion, Revolution & White River Junction

In 2002 Kim Souza began a Revolution, and I don’t just mean the eclectic boutique in the Gates Block where you’ll find thoughtful selections from the most recognized names in the industry right-alongside the latest from local fashion designers. Perhaps you’re aware (if not already having personally benefited from) the latest Renaissance of White River Junction beginning in 2002 and continuing to present. Recently inquiring about our neighboring sister to the south, Claremont, NH, Senator David Pierce asked, “What formula” was responsible for WRJ's current boom years? If I were to attempt to answer the Senator’s question I’d have to say, “It was… R e v o l u t i o n ”.

On the surface, the Revolution of WRJ is quite simple, people with similar or common purposes form alliances to better serve a community as a whole, and over time develop infrastructures, each supporting their own unique economy of culture, which ideally, enriches a community by offering more opportunities to those who live within it. Souza’s Revolution has done precisely this by forging a much recognized and celebrated cultural economy, she has simultaneously nurtured the emergence of a visible and active Local Design Community. And so it is, after 24 seasons, when sheer success and the popularity of Kim’s Tip Top Couture Spring and Fall Fashion events roused a production scale too large to manage bi-annually, WRJ premiered its first annual Spring Collective in 2015, a new runway event hosted by the Main Street Museum featuring 100% local designers.

What’s next you ask? Well, you can never plan the future by the past, or at least so says Edmund Burke. But if you ask me, it’s the mojo responsible for the success of Kim Souza’s Revolutionary Runway and birth of Main Street Museum’s Spring Collective that has the potential to take things to another level. Right now, the goal is the continued growth and nurturing of our local design community. Later, who knows; White River Junction is home to a Cartoon School, so why not a new Fashion Institute as well? 
Anything is possible!

Mark Ezra Merrill
Designer & Co-founder Fashion Weekend White River Junction 2016