The Nashville community had a unique opportunity to view local fashion designer Jeff Garner’s “A Dress to Change the World” show, featuring a tribute collection for the late Princess Grace of Monaco. These selections from Garner’s Prophetik label were originally shown in Monaco in September as part of the event “Grace, A Symbol of Change.”
On April 1, Garner brought this show to Lipscomb University’s Longview Mansion. A dessert reception began at 7 p.m. on the lawn of Longview followed by the fashion show at 7:30 p.m. Following the show, Garner spoke to patrons about his design style and philosophy.
The show was presented as a fund raiser for Lipscomb’s fashion design and merchandising program. If you are interested in contributing to the fashion and merchandising program, contact Jeff Fincher, the College of Arts and Sciences development officer, at 615.966.6214.
Garner, a 1996 graduate of Lipscomb Academy, is known as a romantic visual artist, pioneer, and unconventional designer. His sustainable, organic label Prophetik is transforming and leading an evolution of fashion and changing the perception of luxury. He was recently named a 40 under 40: Craft Futures artist by the Smithsonian Institution, and his designs are part of an exhibit featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery this spring.
“I believe the Princess Grace Tribute Collection exemplifies what one can dream and aspire to as Princess Grace Her Royal Highness exuded in her walk in life and to those of us who aspire to endeavors that seem beyond our reach,” said Garner. “The sustainable aspect of the collection made with natural fibers and plant and earth base dyes made in Tennessee exemplifies that in obtaining that dream and vision we respect others along our journey, including our environment and not demand or control our destiny.”
Longview offered a fitting venue for this show as Garner, a native of Franklin, Tenn., takes his inspiration from the dressmakers of the Civil War period who worked with what was in front of them, fashioning beautiful gowns that were later taken apart to recreate new dresses – sustainability born out of necessity. Longview was built in 1845 and served as a campground and battle site during the Battle of Nashville.
“I have always wanted to do a show at Lipscomb...(there is) something about coming home, being an alum of Lipscomb and native Tennessean,” he said. “It is an honor to be able to give students at their age a chance to learn about the discipline and medium that I had to learn on my own. “
The inspiration for Garner’s unique Prophetik label was born from his days growing up on a horse farm. It was there that Garner said he developed a connection to nature and a peaceful understanding of the world. The Prophetik label combines Garner’s love for his surroundings with his artistic desires.
Fashion industry experts say that Garner’s designs have a sophistication that set them apart from typical organic clothing.
“I want people to experience the heart of Prophetik,” said Garner. “Having a social conscience will never go out of style. Using organic dyes from the garden, recycled bottles transformed into greenspun fleece, working with materials like flax and durable hemp that is naturally softened with baking soda and providing employees fair pay to produce his designs are all a part of what makes Prophetik distinct.”
With his collection, Garner said he hopes to bring awareness to an industry that has not been as concerned with the process as much as the results.
In the 11 years that Prophetik has been in existence, Garner’s sustainable garments have been stocked in high-end boutiques across the United States, including the distinguished Fred Segal in Santa Monica (a celebrity favorite), and Eco Age located in London, Japan and Switzerland. With a focus on sustainability, the UK’s fashion industry has welcomed Garner’s diversity with open arms. Prophetik shows at London Fashion Week where Garner was named “2010 Eco Men’s Designer of the Year.”
Garner has also worked as a costume designer for Miley Cyrus, Jeremy Camp, Newsboys, Amy Grant, Sheryl Crow, Jonas Brothers, Kings of Leon, Barry Manilow and Donna Summer, many of whom have become supportive friends and fans of Garner and Prophetik. Garner frequently speaks at universities on sustainability in fashion.