Collaboration is an essential part of any creative community. In the Nashville fashion industry, many collaborative projects are the result of all of the other things touched on this month: a creative community, connections to industry resources, and opportunities to learn from others. We at the NFA feel honored to serve as a catalyst for many of those things, and to offer platforms for our wonderful partners to make collaborations happen. In 2017, we held our first Brandology event – a day of discussion about what having or being a “brand” really means. Alongside the event, we partnered with AMAX to launch the AMAX Brand Builder Competition. Cherylann Stephens and her all-star team at AMAX Talent selected a prize-winner from a large stack of applications for an amazing opportunity: a creative direction session with the AMAX team and a digital lookbook, editorial, and e-commerce product photoshoot with art direction and professional hair, makeup, models, and photographer. That’s over $2,500 in valuable time, resources and creative energy that would provide a gust of wind under the wings of a growing brand.
The 2017 winner of the AMAX Brand Builder Competition was Lindsey Stewart Sherrod of Lilyan James. In a recent conversation, Lindsey said the process allowed her to focus on the ethos of her brand and her ideal customer. “Someone told me that branding is ultimately how we make people feel. The woman who fully encompasses what Lilyan James stands for is fascinating to me, so I spent time thinking about how she would want to feel as I completed the application,” she said. But the experience of working with the AMAX team helped refine her vision. “The woman who reflects our ethos feels comfortably confident to show up in any circumstance completely and unabashedly as herself. The team at AMAX truly worked with me to reflect this idea. I am exceptionally grateful that their industry experience allowed us to reflect to this kind of woman and bring her to life.” said Lindsey.
We are pleased to announce that the AMAX Brand Builder is happening again this year! For this year’s applicants, Lindsey has this advice: Be true to who you are. “No one understands the vision of your brand better than you,” she says. “Other people can come alongside of you, but the story begins and ends with you. I searched for certain types of bags that reflected a different story and never found them—so I created my own. The AMAX Brand Builder is an opportunity for you to fully articulate what you see for the future and allow others to come alongside of you and make it a reality.” She says that the application form also asks you to think about the value that you retain and add to the Nashville fashion community. “As a designer living in Nashville, I am thankful for all of the experiences that I have had. To create here is about learning from a wider creative community. When we bring everyone to the table, it produces greater experiences and allows our stories to be told in new ways.”
If you do win, Lindsey advises that you “enjoy your time with everyone.” This opportunity is for the winner to develop their brand, yes, but Lindsey feels that she learned from the models, photographer, and production team on a much deeper level than simply how to develop a photoshoot. “There is meaning in the process behind the shoot. Every person teaches me something along the way and it is ultimately reflected in the final work. The four models on this shoot had incredible backstories and life experiences. The photographer had recently relocated from New York. And, the hair and makeup teams were people whose paths have crossed with mine along the way in Nashville. It was interesting to see all of their talents come together. Collaboration isn’t about one person—it is about being open, honest, and listening. ” she said.
The 2018 AMAX Brand Builder competition is open today, April 30, 2018 through Friday, May 25, 2018 at 5pm. Find more information on qualifications and application process here.
Best of luck!