Alternative Fashion Mob is Getting Ready for Another Great Year

rachelI am thoroughly pleased to be featuring one of the sweetest young ladies I know as well as a dear friend, Rachel Murdock.  Rachel and I first met when we were new members of Etsy Team Columbus.  I remember sitting outsidfe Whetstone Community Center discussing the team with new and old members and being struck with how adorable this artist was!  My next encounter with Rachel was at a Hit’n’Run event at CS Gallery where we were selling our wares.  We started talking about the team, our art, the gallery and a friendship quickly developed.  Since that time, we have served on some of the same committees for ETC, spent time creating, partying and laughing as well as supporting each other through some difficult times.  Besides being friends, I sorta feel like her surrogate ‘mom’ (no offense meant to her lovely mom, Joyce) just because of our age difference.  She is always someone I go to for her level headed advice and for creative ideas.
Rachel photographed by John Nethers rach 11
AND she is the reason that I have gotten involved with The Alternative Fashion Mob and their fashion week.  She introduced me to the cute and quirky Kelli Martin (a former featured artist/fashion designer) along with many other creative people on the team.  When she asked me to support the AFM events, I was more than pleased to help out.  And this year, I am happy to say that I will be blogging for the group, doing interviews like this with the Fashion Mob and featured designers.
rach 1Since we first met through our Etsy shops, I’ll talk first about Rachel’s lovely hair adornments as that is what she sells through her shop, Artzymorena Designs. Although she has had this shop for a few years she has neglected it in favor of doing shows and, more recently, to pursue AFM endeavors.  She frequently has a booth at Comfest and has also participated in the EcoChic Craftacular, the Short North Fleas, Craftin’ Outlaws and many other local shows.  Her hairpieces, flower bobby pins and headbands are her signature pieces but she is also a very talented artist who experiments with a variety of genres.
rach 2
rach 8 (2)
She graduated with a bachelors in Art Education with an emphasis on Art Therapy from Capital University (she’s a West side native) but she is also a fine artist and crafter tending to work in spontaneous spurts. Currently, she teaches art at a suburban elementary school and loves it (the kids definitely love her too as I have seen from her FB posts!)  So every day she has the opportunity to use her training and creativity to inspire little ones to express themselves.  She will also be completing a Master’s degree this summer in  Curriculum and Instruction Design.rach 4
When asked to define her art, she said: Perhaps it is due to my art therapy background, but I tend to focus more on the process. My painting style is very organic in that I tend to allow myself to be inspired by how I’m feeling. The textures I want to create–the colors. I’m big on color theory and I guess you could describe my art as experiments in that. I gravitate towards mixed media and have an eye for papers and findings that could be incorporated into my work. I guess I’m a little magpie. I look for things that I consider to be special.
rach 10
One of her passions is creating hair pieces (headbands, combs, etc) that have a retro quality to them using cruelty-free feathers, vintage brooches, and hand-dyed lace. She also make flowers from old slips or remnants of fabric that she finds particularly beautiful ( I have donated many to that art form!!!) but her  most common (and what she states are fun) pieces are bridal.
Alphonse Mucha, a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, is her muse and inspiration.  His combination of colors and use of line is ‘just heavenly’. She adores him so much, in fact, that she has a massive tattoo on her side of “Summer.” (It took 2 years and over 40 hours of work to complete. “It’s something I’m really proud of.” )Summer

She also draws inspiration from other creative people. Just seeing others put passion and ideas into action makes her want to make time to do the same. The wealth of creativity found in Columbus, and the many talented individuals she has met, have made her feel blessed to be a part of the artistic community here.
I’m also inspired by other creative people. Just seeing others put passion and ideas into action makes me want to make time to do the same! I love the wealth of creativity found in Columbus, and I’m happy to work with so many talented individuals!
When Kelli Martin (a fellow West Sider and a friend through meetings at Comfest, etc.) asked her to to meet with her and a group of like-minded individuals to discuss “an idea” she had in the Fall of 2012, she jumped at the opportunity.  The group started planning an alternative fashion event in a truly grassroots fashion.  As plans evolved, the Alternative Fashion Mob (now their official name) realized that Columbus could handle a year FULL of fun and engaging fashion inspired events.  And that is how the  Alternative Fashion Mob was born!rach 3
As with all of the Fashion Mobsters, she wears many hats and is involved with the event planning for the group. Right now, I like to say I am a Jill of all trades, but I have evolved into the sponsorship director. I produce the content and levels for our sponsorships and seek in-kind and monetary donations to help fund Alternative Fashion Week. I also coordinate the annual art sale and mixer. 
Honestly, I was amazed that this group of only six like-minded individuals managed to pull off and amazing week of alternative fashion culminating in a one-of-a-kind Fashion Finale featuring local designers in a mere SIX MONTHS! Everything fell into place for them as they worked diligently to get this movement rolling.  Attending the finale was one of the highlights of my spring last year.  So many creative designers right here in Columbus…I felt like I was sitting b the runway of a Paris design house.  What excitement!
But the group and Rachel are not resting on their laurels.  They have been busy, busy since Fall 2013 getting prepared for an even more spectacular round of events for 2014, starting with the 2nd Annual Simply ArtRageous Art Sale and Mixer on Saturday, February 8th at Camelot Cellars from 5:00-9:00pm.  All artwork for sale has been generously donated by local artists along with a wine tasting opportunity with the money raised helping to fund Alternative Fashion Week 2014 (AFM’14)!
( You can find more info here:  or at here:
Their Kickstarter Campaign will also be starting soon so Rachel is encouraging everyone to check social media for updates for times and places!rach 8
In addition to all of these things, she has been a model for several events, one of which was the Condom Couture event hosted by Planned Parenthood where she modeled the first place dress (designed by CCAD student Sarah Ribble… all gowns/fashions were made from condoms!)  She also was a model for Kelli Martin during last year’s finale event.
On January 23rd, she was also interviewed on Columbus Alive ( ) about the AFM and AFW and did a rockin’ job promoting the event/group!
Rachel indicates that the end goal of Alternative Fashion Mob is to open the Columbus Fashion Incubator (or CFI if you like acronyms) with a brick and mortar storefront to offer workshops and educational opportunities aimed at providing workshops for both artists and the community at large as well as featuring local designers’ fashions. When this dream comes to fruition, Rachel plans  to take on the role of “Community Outreach Director for Arts and Education” or something to that effect.
It seems to me that Columbus is ready for the fashion explosion that is gonna occur because of the efforts of these Mobsters and I hope that I get to ride on their coattails, promoting them, their events and doing justice to the amazing talent that we have ‘right here in this river city!’  But more than that, I’m super psyched to be friends with this amazing woman and look forward to strengthening the bonds of that friendship in the coming years!!!
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