The Pulse of Fashion in the South

What exactly is a pulse? By definition, it is "a rhythmical throbbing of the arteries as blood is propelled through them." Although we are not discussing human anatomy right now, in any community the lifelines of art and fashion are the artisans who collectively fuel the movement of the industry. Art is fashion and fashion is art. People often make the distinction between the two, but personal style is like applying layers to a painting. Some fashion is bright and cheerful, while goth or punk styles are dark and moody. This is why you feel something when you see someone dressed with a purpose.

Without art, fashion wouldn't exist. It is crucial, therefore, to promote an artistic community in any area that has a blossoming fashion industry, and vice versa. The arts community in Savannah has always been strong thanks to SCAD and a plethora of eccentric characters planting roots here. Thus, the city has become a lush garden of artisans, artists, and creative people, sprouting a diverse but focused bed of budding designers and talented up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Evidence of the growing Southern fashion scene is abundant. Charleston has emerged into a bona fide market during fashion week; Atlanta is booming with an ever growing number of boutiques filled with local designs; and North Carolina is repurposing historical factories, providing a Southern space for designers to produce their products in American-operated, American-made spaces. The questions are no longer addressing designer and price, but rather where it's made and whether local materials were used.

Savannah has the creative people and the vision to be the fashion headquarters for not only Georgia, but also for the entire South! Broughton Street is attracting a consortium of widely respected international brands, and the rest of downtown is growing with boutiques, local retail spaces,  and even manufacturing headquarters. Simultaneously, flights are increasing to and from New York as well as other major hubs. Combine this with the growing number of art school graduates that plan to call Savannah home, and you have the perfect ingredients for some good Southern soul food.

With all the forward progress, the question of how to make it happen still remains. There is an uncertainty about what the next platform for showcasing Southern designers will be, and it is important that Savannah land its spot on the ever-fickle "Fashion Map." The "pulse" not only promotes local business and jobs, but an incredible atmosphere of interest and artistic energy which makes Savannah so incredible.

Imagine the possibility of utilizing what Savannah naturally offers, and the numbers of visitors who can help build a fashion and art hub for the South. Our city could be a model for other places throughout the country, but a city can only become its best version of itself when ideas are free to wander. The human pulse—the very thing that pushes us forward—is constantly refueled with thought, emotion, and beauty.

Original essay by South fashion editor Ashley Borders.