Nearly 30 local fashion brands and designers came together for the Black Fashion Expo on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Culture, an event space at 6170 Busch Blvd.
The event is organized by Bobby Couch, a local fashion entrepreneur and the founder of brand and creative consulting firm Fashion is Columbus. He is also the marketing director for Art of Republic and has worked behind the scenes to curate a number of fashion events, including on the team for Fashion Week Columbus.
Couch says he has done a lot of groundwork to get to this point. A University of Cincinnati alum, he says the expo is rooted in something he felt he wanted to do since he moved back to Columbus.
“I’m able to just do more entrepreneurial, free-spirited things for marketing purposes,” he says. “I thought this will be a good time to marry those two ideals in my life and figure out a way to create a brand new lane.”
Couch says the biggest thing about the Black Fashion Expo is that it is not a fashion show. The event will include a fashion marketplace with nearly 30 featured vendors, live modeling, demonstrations, exhibits, and an installation that will be “very Instagrammable and interactive,” says Couch.
There was also be a panel discussion called Thread Talk (a play on TED Talk). Couch says the discussion will feature local streetwear designers, cut-and-sew designers and models.
“Different people that have done different things that are recordable in different parts of the fashion community, and they speak to their experiences that they’ve had. Whether that be New York Fashion Week, or getting published in GQ. Or speaking on Gucci,” Couch says of the panel. “This is a huge topic around the world, we’re making memes about it, but let’s sit down and actually have a serious fashion talk about it.”
This is Couch’s first try at the expo, and if successful, he says he wants to move on to other cities. The event is not just for Columbus fashion, but minority fashion as a whole, says Couch.
“The Black Fashion Expo isn’t specific to Columbus necessarily, it’s just the test market and the test pilot,” he says. “For me, I wanted to be inclusive of all fashion, just like I think that fashion should be inclusive of all people, not just black people. But specifically, in this case, I’m highlighting black people. It’s Black History Month and it made sense for what the theme was for this year.”
The Black Fashion Expo took place on Feb. 24, 2019, from 1 to 6 p.m. Find more information and tickets at fashioniscolumbus.com.