David Peck admits that he had no idea what he was getting into as a young fashion designer relocating to Houston a few short years ago. “I thought, what’s going to happen? Is my career over?” he told Houstonia last night, at a gathering to preview a soon-to-launch web site called "Houston Designed."
Fortunately, Houston didn't ignore Peck—quite the opposite, in fact. He now runs a combined studio/showroom/factory on Upper Kirby. And now that he’s proved it's possible to design and produce a line here in Houston, he thinks the next phase is focusing on communication within the community to help alleviate the practical concerns of local designers.
That’s where Houston Designed comes in. The site will act as a database that lets designers of all stripes know what resources they have at their disposal, while showing off local talent. “Students here think that they have to move to New York or LA for their careers because they don’t know what resources they have available in Houston,” Esther Freedman, Houston Designed webmaster and founder of children’s clothing line Cuteheads, told Houstonia. Peck’s factory is a prime example: In addition to producing his own CrOp line and bridal collection, it provides services to fulfill the needs of other local talent, from fabric printing and pattern making to the finished product.
Of course, the designs themselves are the part of running a business that creatives are most eager to tackle. Once that’s in place, a whole new set of responsibilities comes into play. A connected community of the kind Peck imagines might benefit from swapping tips on big-picture issues of finance and promotion. The garment racks on which hung Peck's brightly colored silks and airy, digitally printed fabrics, for example, were custom-made by Colonial Brass. Though their bread and butter may be door knobs and light fixtures, the local company has found a new market in the local fashion scene.
With some of the more utilitarian stresses taken care of, the next phase of Houston design should leave them free to revel in that particular kind of worry they're best equipped for: creative angst.