KMAC Couture is a highly-anticipated wearable art runway show that attracts fashion designers of all ages and skill levels from across Kentucky. Held in the heart of Louisville, this event is one of the most important creative moments of the year in the state. Not only does it provide a platform for local artists and designers to showcase their work, but it also offers an opportunity for them to connect with each other and with the museum's guests and exposes them to a new level of creativity.
In a city where fashion isn’t exactly a leading industry, KMAC Couture is a beacon for local artists and designers. Isaac St. Thomas, a designer at KMAC for 5 years now, describes it as “an opportunity to connect with those who have the same interests,” something that he believes would be difficult to do without KMAC.
Similarly, Deji Lasisi, a full-time engineer, acknowledges that KMAC has given him a chance to explore his creative side. KMAC Couture offers an opportunity for those who may not have had one otherwise.
One of the unique aspects of KMAC Couture is that it welcomes artists of all ages and skill levels to participate in the show. Megan Hines, the event coordinator at KMAC expressed, “I just remember personally being a teenager who wanted to have a creative outlet so badly and we just didn't have opportunities like this. I want to be able to say that KMAC is a place that can offer those opportunities to anybody”. Megan emphasizes that the museum is committed to providing opportunities to anyone who wants to express themselves creatively.
For beginners who need help bringing their vision to life, the museum requires a mentorship program. Mentors are volunteers with knowledge and experience in the industry who check in regularly with the artists. Workshops are also offered for models to practice their walk. "We want the artists to be themselves more than anything," says Megan. "We understand that there are artists who are not at a professional level yet, but that doesn't mean that their ideas aren't valid or worth being seen.”
This year marks the 11th year of the couture show, which is not your typical gala. It is a paid experience that allows attendees to walk away with a memorable experience. Being the museum's biggest fundraiser, tickets are priced between $225-385. However, KMAC uses the money raised from ticket sales to fund its year-round programming that provides access to art for people from all walks of life in Louisville. Every contribution helps the museum fulfill its mission of connecting people to art and sustaining local creativity.
The application process is simple. Once the application opens, it is posted on social media and shared through the museum's newsletter. Artists have a little over a month to apply, and they only have to submit a sketch once chosen. "We have a committee that comes together and curates the show. It is based on our theme that year and the way the looks flow on the runway," says Megan. From there, artists have around four months to create their couture pieces.
Designers and models are not the only ones that can get involved in the event. Photographers, hair and makeup artists, and other volunteers all help to make the show happen. “All the services that are provided for the event; they really are from the generosity of our volunteers”, said Megan. Samantha Jean Moore, a participant in the show for 5 years, said that her favorite part about the show is getting to meet all the artists and models who are backstage. “There are just some wonderful people that I have made friendships and relationships with. I have been able to collaborate with them on other projects.”
This year’s theme is One for the Books, in which artists are to draw inspiration from their favorite books, poems, authors, and pieces of writing.
The show, previously held on Main Street, will be moving to Paristown this year. Not only will the new location allow for more artists and models, but better production quality, as well. “We are going to have lighting like we've never had before, more looks than any of the shows previously, and a beautiful space to showcase all of the amazing talent,” said Megan Hines.
Tickets are on sale now for the runway show, and for the afterparty at Paristown. You can buy them here.
The Creative Connection will be hosting a ticket giveaway, and a photographer call to offer local photographers and videographers the chance to shoot the event!