This is the second installment of a behind-the-scenes series with local fashion designer Julie Wheat of Cavortress on her travels to Style X at SXSW in Austin, TX back to Charleston Fashion Week. To read part one, please click here.
One vital attribute that every fashion designer must have: the ability to act quickly on their feet. Clothes may not fit models, deliveries don't arrive, and a ton of other catastrohpic events may occur and wreck a designer's show.
Julie Wheat showcased her finely-tuned creative and fast approach to problem solving time and time again throughout the week, and there were quite a lot of bumps in our road to get over.
We finally arrived in Austin late Wednesday night after a grueling two-day, 20 hour drive to find out that our hotel - which Wheat had booked several months before hand - had overbooked. We were directed to a rather unsavory motel up the road, and since SXSW attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, we knew our chances of finding another decent place to stay were slim.
Undeterred, we drove downtown while Wheat stayed on the phone, determined to find a place to stay that didn't look like something out of a 1970's porn film. We stumbled upon Charlie's, a gay-friendly bar filled with delightful and welcoming folks. The entertaining Spankie Valentine delighted our eyes and ears with her fearless fashion and music while we rested and had a much-needed drink. Upon telling the bartenders our plight, they immediately poured us stiff refills and started offering up their homes. Luckily, after a staggering three hours on the phone, Wheat was able to snag an upgrade. Glamorous, indeed.
But there was one more issue: it was 4 a.m., and Wheat had scheduled a photo shoot for early morning the next day. Forced to cancel the shoot, we went to bed hoping our luck would be better tomorrow.
The next day we took off to South Austin grab a cup of coffee and support Julie's brother Brian Wheat - a very talented singer/songwriter - at his gig in a local coffee shop. We were also fortunate to find a group of food trucks next door to the shop to sample the local fare.
Upon further wanderings, the tides finally began to turn in our direction. Julie stumbled upon an amazing and quirky compound of sorts, built up by local store owners just across the street. It had homemade yard art, old motorcycles, a renovated 60's trailer, and even a friendly, weathered old Texan fellow with an old cowboy hat.
Seeing the potential of the scene, Wheat called her model, and had an impromptu photo shoot. Liz - the model - had great energy, really connected with the camera, and looked amazing in Wheat's design. The afternoon light was perfect, and the setting could not have been more fitting, or Texan. The store owners were very gracious and kind, allowing us free reign of their property, and even a beer or two to cool off in the sun.
While luck was finally on our side, time was not, and the evening had a lot of fashion and networking in store for us. We thank our hosts, and quickly packed our things and headed downtown to the heart of Austin and SXSW.
- Follow our adventures with Cavortress on our topic page, and be sure to follow her along on Twitter at @Cavortress, and connect with her on Facebook. Follow contributor Katie Kozar on twitter at@ktkozar, and @TheDigitelExtra for real-time updates as well.
- Don't forget to get the latest on the fashion week on our topic page