Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lexie Barnes: The Knitting Lounge at Fashion Week NY

I'm hosting a Knitting Lounge and Media Center at the Bryant Park Hotel during Fashion Week to merge the craft of knitting and art of fashion. I'm an indie accessories designer and entrepreneur with a hip line of handbags, travel and work bags, diaper bags, and ... knitting bags. And as I cross over from the craft industry into fashion with my new line at Fashion Week New York, I want to take knitting across the line with me.

Even with the recent knitting renaissance, knitters still bear the stigma of the spinster or lonely housewife. Of course, the reality couldn't be farther from the truth. Knitting crosses all borders -- age, race, sex, religion, culture, and occupation. Knitters are everywhere. They are social by nature and creative by design. There's a gaping chasm between crafty knitting and designer knitwear, and I'm out to bridge that gap.

Here's my plan...

The Bryant Park Hotel offers a front row seat to all the action in the park and a convenient spot for the media to relax and recharge. In my suite, we'll offer knitting lessons, tasty snacks and crafty cocktails, a sneak peek at my newest line of knitting bags and accessories, and some crazy cool gift bags.

The cost to pull off an event like this is really high for a small label like mine. Typically, a designer would seek backing from larger companies who are willing to pony up some dough to get in on the media action. But these days, there isn't a lot of sponsorship money floating around any company -- no matter how large or small. So I've turned to to help raise the money.

The wonderful folks at Kickstarter have set up a system for us to take donations toward funding the event. We're thrilled at the response so far -- we've raised over $1000! But to do this right, we still need more backers. The deadline to raise the funds is this Friday, September 11th, at 11:59 pm eastern. If we don't reach our goal, we don't get a penny of the pledged funds -- that's the way Kickstarter works. Kickstarter doesn't want anyone to get stuck trying to pull off a big plan with a smaller budget than they need. Makes sense to me.

So we're asking for your help, too! Please support the Knitting Lounge by spreading the word throughout the knitting and independent designer communities. You can send the link to your mailing list, blog and twitter about it, post the link on Facebook, anything you can think of. We've got just TWO MORE DAYS to pull it off, so every little bit helps!

Not only will the Knitting Lounge at Fashion Week shine a media spotlight on handknitting and our beloved industry (which is so often left out of the high fashion world!), but it's also an exciting way to show the general public how strong and connected our community truly is. In times when small businesses have it tough, it's been wonderful to see how customers, friends, fans, and colleagues have come together to make something special happen.

In return for your pledges, we offer rewards like a free copy of my book, Sew What! Bags, or a full day of spa services for two at Canyon Ranch here in the Berkshires. In addition, all Kickstarter backers -- and all guests in the suite at Fashion Week -- will receive a limited edition handknit bracelet (search Fashion Week Bracelet on Ravelry!) designed by me. The bracelets can be worn all week as a symbol of being, knowing, or loving a knitter -- or just because they're "fashionable."

— Lexie Barnes

Lexie Barnes is an entrepreneur and self-taught designer with her own successful line of handbags and accessories. For over a decade, she worked behind the scenes in independent theatre and film. There she fell in love with the combination of spontaneity, order, and artistry that's needed to create something original and wearable. Lexie brings to each design her sense of individual style, her knack for including practical details, and a big bunch of love. Lexie and her husband, Cory Barnes, live in western Massachusetts with their four sons.

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