There are lots of ways to consider solving Indy’s recent spike in crime. Some turn to education, some to sports; some turn to panel discussions. Ten/10 Productions turned to fashion. On Friday, Aug. 1st in Indy’s International Marketplace, the local production company held a Back to School Fashion Show for teenagers and one child under 5. High school students gathered weeks before to audition for the show that would take place at Rue 21 on Lafayette Road, the franchise’s only Indianapolis store.
This city has seen more than a handful of violent crimes this year and many of them just this summer. The fashion show was an effort to get teens involved in something positive. To keep them occupied. I liked the premise so I attended the event. My first thought upon arrival was that I was happy to see something like this happening away from downtown. We know the International Marketplace for its various ethnic food options. It’s growing now, though, and even has its own music scene. The mission of the International Marketplace Coalition is to promote the revitalization of the Lafayette Square area by creating an environment conducive to attracting and retaining sustainable economic development for the benefit of this community, the city of Indianapolis and the region.
A couple of Friday’s ago, it was doing just that. The show started with a couple of bouncy teenagers donning their wedge sneakers, brightly colored tops and skinny pants. The looks on the models’ faces were priceless. They were proud and having fun. They were in the moment and occupied. Who knows what was happening back in their neighborhoods at the time, but for at least 10 hours during this project, they were safe and they were engaged.
“We produce plays and have even shot a pilot for a new TV show, but there’s something to leveraging the teenage spirit and finding ways to give back that intrigues me,” said Temara Payton, CEO at Ten/10 Productions. “We are using the art of fashion and even makeup and choreography as a way to give students an outlet and to give them a voice.”
The deejay for the evening was also a student. Senior in High School, deejay Blottboy (who I covered in another recent post), spun his own original beats as his peers danced and walked the runway at Rue 21. The actual show only lasted about 40 minutes, but its impact will likely last a lifetime -- on both the youth of Indy and the tone of the International Marktetplace. I really think we may be undervaluing and overlooking the potential of this area on Indy’s Westside. We have an opportunity to celebrate the many cultures that call this their home, to taste the flavor of so many new places and to experience where the world comes to dine. It’s a chance to hear new music, to learn a new languages and to make new friends. Events like teen fashion shows are a step in the right direction, in my opinion. It’s the perfect combination of celebrating a diverse area of town while making high schoolers feel engaged and part of something good.
International Marketplace hosts “Taste the Difference” on Sept. 27th in the parking lot of New Wineksin Ministries at W. 38th Street and Lafayette Road. Meet the team that day at 4501 W. 38th St., Indianapolis, IN 46254. For additional details, visit http://www.lsacoalition.org/taste-the-difference-event.html.