Indianapolis Fashion Magazine Reaches New Heights

When people think of fashion cities, they think of Paris, New York, Chicago; not Indianapolis. The fashion and arts community in Indianapolis is making moves to change that. Two women specifically have played a huge role in the up-and-coming fashion industry in Indianapolis, Polina Osherov and Nikki Sutton.

In 2010, there were many separate people working within the fashion industry, including Osherov and Sutton. When they began meeting together, they saw the need for something more organized. Then the idea arose to turn the fashion-networking group, Indianapolis Fashion Collective, into something bigger. That was the start of PATTERN.

The vision of PATTERN is “to promote excellence and gain recognition for Indianapolis as a global center for design, creative expression, and innovation”, and they do just that. The main thing that PATTERN does is release a magazine twice a year. They also have an online site that is updated with articles much more frequently. PATTERN sets up different meet-ups with people to come in and talk.

Over the summer, they had a Streetwear Expo where designers came together to showcase all of their different styles and work. All day everyone was talking and sharing ideas. One of the PATTERN founders, Julia Rutland says, “ That’s what this whole fashion thing is about — we are such a small community (for now) that we are genuinely happy to see others succeed and help each other to do just that. It’s not a competition it’s about making the whole community great and getting the fashion industry here in Indy noticed from all different avenues.”

They also have the PATTERN Workshop located on Mass Ave. They plan to eventually modify it into a full store where local artists and designers can sell their creations, but for now they have the PATTERN Workshop where a lot of the magazine magic happens. They also have a photography studio located in the Stutz Building off of 10th St.

However, PATTERN is mainly a fashion-based magazine that combines every aspect of Indianapolis creative city life, from fashion design to writing to photography. PATTERN is non-profit magazine that strives to close the gap between Indianapolis and major fashion capitals. Part of the mission of PATTERN is to “provide(s) educational, economic and community building opportunities in Central Indiana, primarily serving those interested in fashion and other creative pursuits”, found on the official PATTERN website (

PATTERN carries a high fashion and editorial feel to it. It truly combines all of the different Midwest talents into one publication. “People in London, Chicago, L.A. and NYC pick up a copy of PATTERN because they love its aesthetic, its contents and what it represents. They find out it is based out of Indianapolis, Indiana and they’re truly shocked”, Rutland says. PATTERN works to break the Midwestern stereotypes about fashion to those living in the highly regarded fashion cities.

PATTERN is highly regarded by the Indianapolis fashion community. Local modeling agency mother agent, Leslie Turner, says PATTERN provides opportunity after opportunity for her models to gain experience and exposure. Turner is involved with PATTERN because she has had many of her models published in the magazine. Photographers reach out to her for the help of her models in hopes that their talents together can be something to inspire the fashion community. Some of her models even refer to PATTERN as “the Indianapolis version of VOGUE”. Some of her PATTERN published models include Ayden Morris, Trace Lindquist, Ebony Smith, and Angelique Bloodshaw.

Morris says, “I was extremely excited to see myself in the pages of PATTERN because it’s a huge local Indy magazine”. When Morris started modeling almost 3 years ago, she set a PATTERN publication as a goal for herself. She went on to say “if you’ve made it in PATTERN, you’ve made it in Indy”.

PATTERN is a collaboration of many different art types though, not just modeling. There are photographers, makeup artists, fashion designers, and, not to mention, the entire team that puts the magazine together.

The joys of publication are just as exciting for photographers. Published PATTERN photographer, Steve Brokaw says, “I was excited (about being published) primarily because I was happy for the entire team. It was acknowledgement of the hard work of the entire team”. Photographers put in a ton of time trying to get tear sheets in a magazine. They need a model for one or two days, but then they have to go through and do all of the editing and pre-publication work. Another published PATTERN photographer, Willyum Baulkey says, “PATTERN gave me a chance when I was still a young(er) photographer looking for an audience who would appreciate and love fashion photography. I have been fortunate to have been published several times in PATTERN’s pages since then and am humbled every time.”

PATTERN also creates a lot of opportunities in Indianapolis. For example, they provide internship opportunities. PATTERN hires interns for different creative outlets during the summer, fall, and spring. They offer internships for Social Media, Fashion, Music and Arts Journalism, Graphic Design, Street Style & Event Photography, Event Planning, Business Administration, and Non-profit Management and Marketing/PR. PATTERN interns are expected to help in planning events and attend the events they help put together. Earlier this year PATTERN helped put on the INlightIN Festival in downtown Indy. They featured local designers who created light up designs for the event. PATTERN intern, Nick Olbina helped track down the designers willing to participate and then walked around with the designers and models wearing the designs the nights of the festival. This also helped to show the Indianapolis community just what some of the local designers have to offer.

The Indianapolis fashion and creative industry is fickle and subject to change at any time. However, PATTERN has helped to establish Indy and make it stand out more. Morris thinks, “Indy fashion and PATTERN go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other”. While the Indy fashion scene grows, PATTERN will grow, as long as it keeps its drive and momentum. Brokaw says, “I think if it’s done correctly under Polina’s (PATTERN’s executive director) leadership it can be a strong brand and magazine”.

PATTERN has played a large part in the community though. They hold events and promote local shops. They have pulled many different types of people and talents into one organization. The entire brand “is a point of focus and allows both experienced and novice creatives to be involved and get recognition” Brokaw says. Indy has so much undiscovered talent to offer.

However, Indy will continue to me a minor regional player until the fashion industry has more backing from local business and the government. “Once the cure is strongly developed then it (Indy fashion) has a very strong future”, Brokaw continues. Until Indianapolis is more confident and prominent in fashion, it cannot stand a chance against the larger markets.

PATTERN has greatly impacted and jumpstarted the Indianapolis fashion community and reputation. If PATTERN continues to grow and gain momentum like it has in the past five years, the future will be limitless for the organization and Indianapolis fashion and creatives. If the community keeps working together, new heights could be reached and those from cities like New York or Chicago could come to be involved in PATTERN, only to help push its successes even farther. PATTERN is opportunity, and the opportunities are endless.

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