Trade Collective showcase set to debut in Winston-Salem

by Kashif Stone

A creative runway showcase is set to debut in Winston-Salem, providing more influence to a city whose artistic culture is expanding. ‘Trade Collective’ is a collaborative fashion project that will showcase pieces from local up-and-coming designers seeking to influence and network with other regional creatives.

The project came to fruition by the help of Ashley Johnson, a featured brand owner and host of the event. After graduating college, Johnson moved back to Winston-Salem and quickly noticed that the list of creatives she could possibly work with went from plenty to zero. “I got involved somewhat with what the arts community had to offer here, but it was difficult to find people with the same taste, and also willing to collaborate,” said Johnson. “However, I was certain that I was not the only one.”

Ashley Johnson and Whitney Daniel will soon present their brainchild, the Trade Collective runway showcase, which will feature the masks shown created by Lakea Shepard.

Upon searching for collaborators, Johnson came across Whitney “Snooty Judy” Daniel. Johnson and Daniel officially met this summer after a networking mixer, created and hosted by Daniel, at Delurk Gallery in downtown Winston-Salem entitled “20-Something, Doin’ Something” (20SDS). The mixer was dedicated to helping young professionals collaborate with each other. “After 20SDS, Whitney and I met and thought, ‘why not take all the people we’ve been working with, and their projects, and feature them in a show?'” said Johnson. From there, the two conceived the event and Trade Collective was born. Johnson officially met another collaborative hopeful, Lakea Shepard, the artist featured in the showcase, who was also met with the same issues once she moved back to the city.

Shepard is the featured artist in the showcase. Shepard is a studied and wellpracticed textile artist based in Winston- Salem who successfully blends textiles and her art, which has deep cultural and social significance. One of Shepard’s series featured in the show is titled “Poppa Said Girls Don’t Play with Guns” which are masks and head pieces worn on the head and face. The pieces tell one of her prolific stories and are a commentary on both black, and her personal, history. Shepard’s pieces are described as journalistic, intricate and extremely personal, sometimes even taking months to complete.

The Trade Collective runway showcase will feature art and fashions curated by local brands and artists. Forty Lily, developed by Johnson and inspired by thrift culture, is a line that focuses on reclaimed outerwear. The brand will debut a line of items during the showcase and plans to release the pieces to its website for purchase in the coming weeks. Snooty Judy is a curator of many aspects. Her role as co-creator of Trade Collective is overall Creative Director and stylist for the show. She also plays an instrumental role in the planning, feature articles and photo stories produced for the show. All of the show’s feature articles are on her lifestyle and culture blog snootyjudy. com. Ego Linguistic is an up-and-coming streetwear brand that makes cuttingedge clothing with culture-conscious design. Ego’s a brand that not only provides quality clothing, but delivers a message of empowerment, diversity and social consciousness. “They’re a brand that unifies young people and that’s what I really like about them,” said Johnson.

The showcase is aiming to be different than a standard runway fashion show. “In most runway shows, you see items simply strutting around the catwalk,” said Johnson. “I don’t want to give too much away but our set is interactive, and we incorporate dance. This showcase is more a production than anything.” With Winston-Salem’s expanding arts community, attendees can expect a show with a message that resonates differently from what is often seen in the area. “We want people to understand that it’s okay to have out-of-the-box visions, to build things larger than yourself and to collaborate with different minds,” said Johnson.

Trade Collective can be seen as a social project because creative collaboration is something anyone can do. “If you’re in the business of dreaming, creating, and collaborating, you’re already producing for Trade Collective,” said Johnson. After the debut of this production, Johnson believes it will open doors for other creatives to approach Trade Collective for collaborations to broaden their local platform. !


Trade Collective runway showcase will debut Saturday, November 21st at 8 pm and will be held at 3650 Patterson Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC.