Fashionista Frontier. . .The Next Tipping Point?

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Imagine being an intern on Monday and a manager at a high-end retail boutique on Tuesday. Imagine the leap of faith you take when you decide to leave your current job before having a new job. Imagine that just days before you're jobless, a prominent venture capitalist turns to you and says, "It's time to start your own business." Now imagine it's true.

"In business, when you lose the passion you can't continue," says Kellie Crawford, the 25-year-old fashionista behind the On Lokation showroom and traveling boutique based in Washington, DC. "I love what I do and I have the passion. If I'm not working I'm thinking about it."

During the last three years Kellie helped start three of DC's trendiest boutiques. She worked 60-70 hours a week for other people, now she is doing it for herself . . . and DC's fashion elite. Through On Lokation Kellie regularly turns disparate elements, like a 1920 Ford Model-T showroom, live band, skateboard handbag and bamboo sweater, into a party.

"One of my recent events was held in an abandoned building, with a DJ, video sculpture installations and hors-d'oeuvres. If someone asks, 'Is this a gallery or a store?' then that means it worked. It's a fashion retail experience," laughs Kellie.

In her words, On Lokation is a cross-marketing vehicle, bringing together innovators and revolutionaries in fashion, interior design, architecture, and music. In layman's terms it is the hottest sub-culture in-crowd shopping event in DC and coming to a city near you . . . soon.

Nyia: Can you describe an On Lokation event?
Kellie:On Lokation is two-fold. On one hand we explore the city, finding people and spaces that are aligned with On Lokation's aesthetic. I open in an artistic space like a theater or a gallery and I merchandize it like a store. I once had an event in an abandoned building. On the other hand, we're sitting in the showroom," Kellie mentions with an acknowledging wave of her hand. "This is by appointment for people that want one-on-one attention. This is a space for them to relax and take their time, order in lunch and use wi-fi. It is a private space for high-profile individuals to be able to come and spend all the time they want.

N: What is your definition of an artistic cross-marketing vehicle?
K: The various artists involved get to market to their market during a focused or theme event. The On Lokation team consists of an amazing group of revolutionary artists, photographer Yvonne Taylor, a make-up artist Lauretta McCoy and phenomenal stylist Angelique Alston. Matthew Taylor does video installation and Lori Graham does interior design. Rasul Sha'ir and Yves Louis-Jacques are totally innovative marketing guys. These people bring a totally new level of their craft to the process. I also involve fashion related charities like Dress for Success, so you feel good when you shop.

N: What do these artists have in common?
K. What these artists have in common is their audience. What they need is a platform to showcase that art to people who actually appreciate it, instead of putting a blanket ad in the newspaper directed to the whole city. There are only certain people who would get it. But here at the On Lokation events, pretty much everyone in attendance is your customer.

N: How do you describe your aesthetic?
K: My aesthetic is contemporary with a classic edge, or vintage-futuristic as Rasul says. I love lines. Some are reminiscent of the 40's or 50's in their cut, but there's some type of detail that contemporizes the piece. It might be made of soybean or bamboo, which makes it modern. Or for example, I have a Japanese coat that you can be worn upside down. If you wear it one way it's classic, but the fact that you can turn it upside down and wear it a different way totally makes it modern or futuristic.

On Lokation, Kellie and her team are at the forefront of a larger and more widespread "vintage-futuristic" movement. They take basic or traditional arts and practices and innnovate the uses. It is the movement Steve Jobs tapped into when he paired the existing mp3 format with a branded online music store. The movement moves when real estate developers open the condo-lofts like those along DC's 14th Street. It moves when a trendsetter, like Kellie, brings together a low-key collective of social entrepreneurial artists to deliver charity and fashion rolled in one. It might even move 'the tipping point'.


The Movement

What does the iPod, MySpace, American Idol, YouTube, PayPal, and Google have in common? Give up? Seven to eight years ago these concepts literally did not exist or had no real presence in the market. Today, they are ubiquitous. As a part of our social and economic reality these phenomena are a tour-de-force - whether you want them to be or not.

These interactive ideas and virtual products constitute just a small fraction in the mosaic of today’s market that are beginning to shape and mold the socio-cultural and economic realities of the 21st century. What other ideas are on the horizon? Who are the people behind these concepts? What will next change the way we buy, communicate or entertain ourselves? We are in the midst of a movement!

This is Threshold. The blogazine exploring entrepreneurial thought and action in brand building. We explore cultural trends, marketing, technology and design and how they are creating innovative business solutions exploding in today’s market. Everyday remarkable people, places and things are changing the way we think about and engage our world. We are in the midst of a renaissance and new breeds of designers, technologists, artists, entrepreneurs, and business innovators are redesigning the playing field and changing the rules of engagement.

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