Acclaimed Nudie Suit designer and owner of Union Western Clothing, dressing the likes of Post Malone and Lil Nas
I grew up watching Hee Haw at my grandma's house every Sunday with my family. My dad was a big country music fan and had thousands of albums, many featuring country stars like Porter Wagoner and Webb Pierce in their Nudie suits. For a while my parents were really into square dancing and would drag my sister and me along to their square dance events.
I was never really a country music fan and in my teens and early twenties I discovered punk rock and skateboarding. After dropping out of art school, I worked in coffee shops and made art on the side, dabbling in printmaking and trying to find my voice as an artist. One day while perusing a craft store I picked up a book on hand embroidery and a basic embroidery kit. For some reason embroidery piqued my interest and I would take my projects to work at the coffee shop and embroider in between customers.
A customer who had seen me embroidering brought in a book for me to borrow that was about the history of western wear. Flipping through the book brought back a lot of memories from my youth, and I thought it would be fun to try to make my own western outfit.
Without a doubt the Soldiers & Sailors Monument! But also Kurt Vonnegut would definitely be featured somehow, and I don't think it would be an Indianapolis suit without an Indy 500 car somewhere in the mix. Beyond the obvious there are probably a lot of symbols that are personal to my Indianapolis experience. The Monon Trail in the Fall, Holcomb Garden on the Butler campus, the Eiteljorg Museum...
There is a burgeoning community of fashion designers and events. There's something about Hoosiers; whether it's stubbornness or a diligent work ethic that inspires us to build things from the ground up, rather than taking the easy way out and moving someplace where a community already exists. I guess it's pride in taking a step back and admiring what you helped create. There are people like Polina Osherov who is the founder and editor of Pattern, a nationally distributed fashion magazine, and designers like Katy Newton, a local designer who frequently holds large DIY fashions shows that are centered around inclusivity. They are working hard to create a movement here in Indianapolis.
People often call western suits "story suits." If you look at many of the old country albums, the suits that the performer wears on the covers tells a story about a song or an event in their life. My suits are no different. I ask my clients about their story. What inspires them, what do they love? Maybe they have a favorite pet or a flower that holds some significance in their life. For example, I recently made a suit for an ALS doctor in North Carolina that had motor neurons running down the legs, sparrows to honor a deceased patient that had sparrow tattoos, and other imagery that was significant to his work with ALS patients.
I can honestly say that I haven't quite grown used to it! It blows my mind every time. The first time was October 2018 when Post Malone won an AMA for Best Pop/Rock Male Artist and accepted the award in a suit that I made. I was literally screaming and crying at the same time. It was pretty surreal.
Livery is one of my favorites. I like to try as many of our local independent restaurants as I can, and I'm a sucker for a fancy cocktail. I'm vegan so it's great that so many restaurants are accommodating. During Covid I discovered the vegan Buffalo "chicken" pizza from Toppers Pizza. It's amazing!
We have so many incredibly talented artists here in Indianapolis. Beatriz Vasquez is an amazing papercut. In Mexico it is an indigenous craft known as "papelpicado" and much of her work explores her Mexican heritage, feminism, and social justice. Another artist I admire who is also a paper cut artist is Erin Huber. Her work explores themes of single parenting, loss, and rebirth. She has this incredible sense of balance and symmetry that appeals to my sensibilities and has even collaborated with me to create suit linings based on her work. There are so many more artists I could name.
Ride my bicycle down the Monon Trail to downtown on a sunny Summer day, get drinks on Mass Ave and sit on a patio people watching, walk around Midland Antique Market, or go to a First Friday event (if it's a first Friday of the month).
Executive Director of Indianapolis City Market
Illustrator & Digital Artist
Co-Founder of Be Nimble Foundation
Restaurant Owner and Chef
Blogger, Tales & Turbans
Writer and Journalist
Influencer and Entrepreneur
Designer and Owner of Union Western Clothing
Deputy Mayor, City of Indianapolis
Owner of THE TRAP
HGVT's "Good Bones" and Two Chicks District Co.
Handpoke Tattoo Artist
Chapati and Shani's Secret Chicken
Local artist and gallery owner
Kennedy King Memorial Initiative
Artist and Designer
Hotel Broad Ripple
Growing Places Indy
Pediatrician and Entrepreneur
Owner of James Dant
Drink Culture Podcast
Local Historian and Author
Phoenix Theatre Dance Company
Saxophonist and Restaurant Manager
Salumist and Owner of Turchetti's Salumeria
Barber Shop Owner and Barista
Realtor and Fashion Expert
Indy Eleven Head Coach
Indy Pride Executive Director
Music Club Owner and Promoter
Vinyl Record Collage Artist
Food and Drink Purveyors
Ice Cream Innovators
Illustrator and Educator
Painter and Biking Enthusiast
Manager, RUCKUS Makerspace, and Executive Director, Latinas Welding Guild
Food Bloggers and Authors
Artist and Illustrator
Magician and Illusionist
Development Director for Center of Performing Arts
Public School Principal
DJ and Founder, Rad Summer
Mascot, Butler Bulldogs
Zoo Membership Director
T-Shirt Shop Owners
Owner, The Smoking Goose and Goose the Market
Co-Founder, Sun King Brewing
Writer and Exhibit Designer
IndyCar Driver and Team Owner
Owner, Indy Eleven soccer club
Former Colt Linebacker and Owner, Brackett Restaurant Group
Blogger, Seersucker + Saddles
Fine Artist and Musician
News Anchor, WTHR
Executive Director, Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
Co-Founder of GangGang Culture
Executive Director, Pattern
Former WNBA Star, Indiana Fever
IndyCar Racer, Contestant on Dancing with the Stars
Chalk Artist and T-Shirt Shop Owner
Owner, The Gallery Pastry Shop
Founder of Felege Hiywot Center
Owner, Manayunk Calligraphy
Owner, Like the Lettuce: Fitness + Health Coach