Open Letter to Indianapolis Business Owners: You are Hypocrites.

(This is different from my usual video-related content, but very relevant to the community I’ve lived in since I moved here for college. If you aren’t local to Indiana, apologies for the interruption, but check out Pattern’s online issues. If you ARE in Indiana, ask your business owner friends what the hell is up.)

Dear Indianapolis Business Owner,

You are a hypocrite.

Or maybe you aren’t. But you know someone that is a hypocrite.

You all want Indianapolis to be culturally relevant. You talk about fresh, local, vibrant, exciting. You want to see the city you built your business in grow its creative scene. You want this because it’s a personal interest you have, to keep the community interesting and fun. But you also want it so that your business will continue to thrive. You want to continue to cultivate an attractive environment that will keep young people in Indiana. You want these people to choose to settle in the state and make new jobs and contribute to the economy. Your economy.

Did you know that an estimated 50% of Purdue’s class of 2013 will be leaving the state*? Why? A lot of them leave because they can’t find jobs here. And a lot of them leave because of the culture. They don’t necessarily want to live in a major hub like New York or LA, but they want to live somewhere that offers them something unique and interesting, a way to feel like they’re part of a larger community.

If you aren’t actively contributing to or nurturing the creative community in Indianapolis, you’re part of the problem. It’s your fault.

Did you know that Indianapolis has a fashion scene? It’s called Pattern and it’s a non-profit organization and networking group for fashion professionals that was started in 2010. They serve as an advocate for the models, hair stylists, photographers, designers, and boutiques. They educate the community and create relationships between people and brands. Fashion is big business in other cities. Did you know that the fashion industry professionals we have in Indy are really fucking good? Look at this, from Polina’s blog.

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This isn’t just a bunch of hopeful hobbyists. These are real professionals leading a cause, completely volunteer and passion driven.

They put out a twice yearly fashion magazine, a culmination of the city’s brightest talents on display. The potential impact of this group on the city’s economy is unbelievable. What if this grassroots organization continues to gain momentum, helps connect more individuals, and keeps producing amazing, high end fashion content? What if this could keep fashion jobs like hair stylists, makeup artists, and modeling from being outsourced? What if Pattern’s efforts could start bringing the fashion industry — and fashion jobs — into Indianapolis?

For some perspective, New York’s fashion industry “employs nearly 200,000 people in New York City alone, generates nearly $10 billion in total wages, and generates tax revenues of $811 million.”**

Today I saw a plea from Pattern’s editor in chief, Polina Osherov. We’ve only met once (maybe?) but I’ve followed her work for years. I was surprised to see that Pattern’s spring 2013 magazine is at risk of not being produced because they haven’t sold enough ad space. Local business are dropping the ball. A thousand tax-deductible bucks gets a full page advertisement. Besides the hundreds of members and social media followers and nearly 10,000 monthly web hits, Pattern is distributed across central Indiana in stores like Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and the IMA.

So, local business owner, you want a vibrant creative community. You want talented professionals to stay in Indianapolis. You want people buying stuff from you.

But you won’t contribute to a non-profit that’s producing head-turning content and forging ground for an entirely new industry in Indianapolis?

I don’t see how that’s a financially or ethically responsible decision.

— Kylee

Contact Polina (polina at patternindy dot com or 3177521476) if you’re interested in sponsoring this issue of Pattern. The deadline is February 8th.

(Video by my friend Jeremiah Nickerson. He does amazing work and he’s available for hire.)

*According to State Impact Indiana ** The Council of Fashion Designers of America

(And just so it’s clear, I have no real connection to Pattern and I’m not speaking on their behalf. I’m an observer, fan, and member of the creative community. As a video post-producer, I know how difficult it is to create a community of people with no binding thread. To see Pattern miss their issue would be disheartening to the creative community as a whole.)