Category Archives: Rare Magazine

Austin Eavesdropper in Rare Magazine!

Oh my gosh! You guys!!

I came across this just now while browsing on my girl Tiffany’s blog, Austin Is Burning! I am totally thrilled!

Please excuse the self-promotional nature of this post, but, can I just tell you how touched I am to be included on this list?  It is part of Rare Magazine‘s annual “Rarest of Them All” issue, where readers vote on various “Best of” categories. I didn’t even know when the poll was going on! But I guess people voted for me!!

If you cannot tell, I am on my period right now (sorry!) so my emotions are kind of, um, abundant. But I just want to say this:

The fact that this blog has readers is EXCITING ENOUGH to me. But the kinds of readers who say it is their favorite? That almost makes me cry a little bit. I always think I’m not doing enough. “I should create a Facebook page…I should make more videos…I should comb through all the archives of my stupid-looking early posts and re-format them or better yet delete them and hey what the hell is an RSS?” And trust me, I want to do/fix/learn all of those things!

But while I learn and improve, I so, so appreciate everyone who has stuck with me and found this blog enjoyable.  This is the most fulfilling hobby I have ever had. I have gotten to meet the coolest people through Austin Eavesdropper, I have had a forum to talk about my public obsession with this city, and I have opened up certain posts and read your comments before when I need to feel a little bit awesome again. (It’s true.) I want to continue to make it better so that you love it even more, and if you ever have a suggestion or simply want to say “hi,” please know that I do a little tap-dance whenever people write.

Wow. I’m kind of acting like I won an Academy Award here – I think I’ll stop now. Before I do, have to say it, one more time:

thank you. i love you!

Interview: Matt Swinney, Founder of Austin Fashion Week

In just five days, little ol’ Austin, Texas will throw its very first Fashion Week. From July 13-19, local salons, designers, boutiques, and lounges will host a movable feast of fashionable wares, complete with trunk shows and a local Fashion Awards ceremony. Like SXSW, the events are all over town and the schedule is pretty damn extensive, with stores and designers debuting new lines and hosting sample sales. In true Austin fashion, our vintage stores will be a big part of the festivities, which sets us apart from Fashion Weeks elswhere in the world.

AFW’s founder, Matt Swinney, was kind enough to pop by Austin Eavesdropper to dish on all the haps.

1. First things first, Matt: What are you wearing?

Seriously? Actually, I’m wearing uber-preppy plaid shorts and a very stinky polo shirt, because the glamour side of this job is getting to distribute Fashion Week pocket guides and posters to hundreds of people in 100+ degree heat. Loads of fun.

2. Matt, you’re the founder of Rare Magazine as well as Austin Restaurant Week. Tell us about your background in those capacities, and how they prompted you to start Austin Fashion Week?

Rare certainly gave me the connections to even THINK about being able to pull this off. I’m so proud of my time there and the relationships I’ve built — some days, it literally makes me a little verklempt to think about the quality of human beings I get to work with on a day-to-day basis. I should probably tell them more often, but the level of respect I have for boutique and salon owners, along with the local artists that make things like Fashion Week possible, is through the roof. Restaurant Week gave me the confidence to know that I have the ability to pull off a huge-scale event, and Austin Fashion Week is certainly that.

3. How long has Austin Fashion Week been in the works? Were there any early conversations that inspired you to take this on?

You know, not as long as you’d think probably. Working on Austin Restaurant Week and helping to make that successful gave me an understanding of what it takes to pull off similar events (on a scale perspective). I’ve always wanted to do a big event driving tons of foot-traffic into local boutiques. In Austin, the sheer number of local boutiques and salons here is unlike any other American city, on a per capita basis. People need to not forget to walk in the doors of those retailers, lest they’re not there when you really need them. Doing this in a down economy is even more important in my mind.

4. This next statement is going to shock a lot of people: Austin, Texas is different than New York City. It’s even more different than Milan and Paris. Why did you feel it was important for Austin to have its own Fashion Week?

Austin doesn’t equal New York? I don’t believe you! Kidding aside, I think most people from so-called “cosmopolitan” cities like the ones you mentioned probably don’t even register Austin as a “fashion” city, and those that do probably look down their noses at us. But, so what? I KNOW designers in Austin, I KNOW boutique owners, I KNOW salon owners, and you know what? They have more talent in their pinky fingers than most people, so who cares if we’re just a small little hick town in the middle of Texas? For me, it’s about educating every Austinite about the level of talent here. I’m not saying we necessarily WANT to be any of those cities you mention (we don’t), but how are we ever going to get there without trying to raise the bar by having our own version of Fashion Week?

5. How do you see Austin, Texas fitting into a larger fashion community?

It absolutely fits. See Kendra Scott. See Anthony Nak. See Cat Swanson. See Jenny Hart. See Jen Perkins. See Austin Craft Mafia. ALL of these talented men and women (and many others) have put us on the map.

I’ve had people ask me to define “fashion in Austin.” What I love about it is that we are fashionable almost because of our lack of fashion. For us (I’m speaking generally), it’s not about what’s “hot” or “in.” For us, it’s about what we feel comfortable in. Hell, it’s 1000 degrees here, so of course we’re going to wear flip flops to work! That doesn’t mean we don’t have fashion. It just means we’re comfortable throwing a $5 vintage tee with a $300 pair of jeans. I think that’s admirable. When I’m in Dallas, I have friends that literally would not walk out of the house in a baseball cap on and no makeup. Here? That’s Saturday at Kerbey Lane with all the “fashionistas” of Austin. In Dallas? That’s not “fashion” — that’s WORK!

6. How will our fashion week be different than other, older fashion weeks elsewhere in the world?

Well, most Fashion Weeks are about celebrating big-name designers and new collections through fashion shows. While I think that’s something that we’ll do in the future, the big downside to that is it doesn’t get people moving through the fabulous boutiques. For me, it’s important to introduce designers AND boutiques and salons.

7. Who are some of the special guests that will be present at AFW?

Kayne from Season 3 of Project Runway will show some pieces from his newest collection at the Austin Fashion Awards. We’ll also be hosting 6 designers who just finished up in the Fashion Merchandising School at UT. There’s another REALLY big surprise guest that I can’t tell you about yet, but I can tell you there will be a seriously cool pop up shop coming to town the 2nd half of Fashion Week. The lovely and incredibly talented Jenny Hart from Sublime Stitching will emcee the Fashion Awards show.

8. What are the big highlights of AFW that people absolutely should not miss?

Oh gosh. I think the Fashion Awards are going to be ridiculous. I think it will be a party people talk about until next year’s show. I think the pop up shop (to be named soon) is a can’t miss. And, I just hope that people look at the entire events list and really make an effort to support as many of these participants as they can. They’re just too talented as a group.

9. Who are some of the people and companies in Austin that are helping to make AFW possible?

The 2nd Street District has been an amazing partner. The retailers in the District have really stepped up to make Fashion Week possible. All of our media partners are amazing, but specifically Mix 94.7 and Time Warner — they’ve both been with me through thick and thin. The newest addition to our team (by “team” I mean Launch787 and Clink) is the Wyatt Brand. David and Kristen and their team have been immensely helpful through this process.

10. Give us a brief sneak preview of the AFW Red Carpet Fashion Awards.

Alpha Rev. The Octopus Project. Mike Relm (have you checked him out? seriously). UT Fashion Designers. Kayne. Jenny Hart. The Soldier Thread. Ume. All in Dell Hall at the Long Center? That sounds like a PARTY to me. Ever wanted to go to the Grammys? The Oscars? Well, think of this as our version of those….we’ll try to live up to that!

Rare Magazine: News

Ok Austin community that cares about Rare: let’s make this right.

So Taylor contacted me last night after this blog post had been up, and said he wished I would have emailed him first. Fair enough – that’s a totally valid point. He also told me the July issue would release (YAY writers and photographers!) and that he had been interviewing and hiring new staff members for the magazine. I don’t know who those staff members are yet, but I guess we’ll find out.

Bottom line: Rare is surviving, which is thrilling news. As for what’s to come, if the mag will change, take on a different style/tone – I’ve got no news there, so again, guess we’ll see.

Anyway…I’ve had enough drama for one day.

Before I sign off, I just want to reiterate the fact that this magazine’s founder, Matt Swinney, created something this city clearly adores and feels passionately about. When Carrie Crowe came on in 2006, she and Matt turned it into a publication attuned to the creative pulse of this town, featuring a new visual artist every month and assigning stories on everyone from street food vendors selling kebabs out of their trailer, to eco-couture fashion designers showing pieces on runways. The community-minded stories, such as local transportation and greener city planning, underline their solid vision that Austin is a place for innovators of ALL kinds — right down to the mag’s kicka*s design.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: The publication or company in this town that gets Carrie next is immeasurably fortunate – one of the besteditors I have ever had, and I probably speak for all of the writers.

So. Matt and Carrie created something grand, which I feel very lucky to be a part of. I even got my first tattoo during a Rare interview, believe it or not. Taylor, I am also happy to have your communication, and hope that you continue the great thing those two started.

Who’s ready for happy hour?


Rarest of Them All Party: WEDNESDAY!

Um…..PUMPED. This is Wednesday night. Who’s going? Let’s discuss.

free grey goose + white denim + amy’s ice cream + “confetti cannon” (?!) = YES PLEASE!

What’s your favorite thing from this list of awesome?

I feel so sophisticated with the Rarest of Them All Party at the Long Center this year. Like a fancy grown-up! Tickets are $25, and include drinks/food along with the musical performances….and whatever extra confetti cannon/fireworks madness. Here’s the Do512 post about it, where you can listen to music samples, and the Facebook invite. Apparently, last year’s Rarest party had over 1500 people.

Darcie Duttweiler and I wrote the copy for year’s winners in this year’s Rarest of Them All issue, and I have to say that is an intense but FUN writing project. You know what else is intense? Predator. R. and I are watching it right now, and the Governator is about to get his ass kicked.