OF THE MOST personable designers we’ve come across in the
last 12 months is Brad Batory, the man behind the Indashio
label in Dunedin, Florida.
When we connected with Batory, he was excited
about his latest collection, to be shown in March, all proceeds
from which will benefit the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
It is easy to be cynical of donations, especially
when one considers that some of 2002’s fallen companies were major
donors to causes. But in Batory’s case, the concern is genuine.
He’s a 19-year-old who wants to make a difference and has had to
already fight a great deal of frustration and many naysayers to
realize his dream.
Fashion-wise, he’s already there. His première
audience will not be disappointed, if the preview we received at
this magazine is any indication. Youthful, flowing and off-centre,
they speak of Batory’s design philosophy of creating garments that
are personal and have his creative signature. In other words, Indashio
is happy to carve its own niche and sets out to be as distinct from
the mainstream as possible. ‘My vision is diversity,’ he tells us.
‘I find beauty in things that I think others look past … I want
to do what hasn’t been done.’
Like many Generation Y members, Batory has a postmodern
outlook on life, critical yet accepting at once. ‘It’s like that
saying, “Two people could be looking at the exact same thing and
each of them see something totally different.”’
Not formally trained, fashion came to Batory as
an epiphany. With an undistinguished high school career—‘One of
my greatest accomplishments was graduating’—he had enough passion
and direction to know that he was not going to follow a downward
path. He would carve a future for himself, but on his terms. Of
his fellow classmates, he believes half are in jail, the other half
in college. Neither seemed desirous in Batory’s independent eyes.
That independence is apparent with Batory’s plans
for his label and its future direction. He is determined that Floridians
won’t be the only audience for Indashio shows. As with his contemporaries
in most of the world, Batory is hooked on the idea of the global
audience and its treasure of individual cultures. ‘Indashio inspiration
is [the] different cultures throughout the world: their history,
their style, their cultures.’ New York, Miami, Paris and Tokyo are
the cities that he picks as his stylish locales—and possibly sources
for future audiences.
He rates any label that properly differentiates
highly. Christian Dior and Versace get his vote for being colourful
and willing to stand out. For men, Batory cites Girbaud and Sean
John. A particular favourite is Betsey Johnson. However, he is not
impressed by the mass marketing of some labels, believing that fashion
should be as personalized and as distinctive to the wearer as possible.
‘I hate the Tommy Hilfiger look. It reminds [me] of Communism where
everyone dresses the same.’
He explains further, ‘I like companies that encourage
you to be you. I hate clothing lines [and] companies that dictate.’
Wisely, Indashio is not just a label churning
out clothes. A lot of graduates from FIT,
NIFT, Central St Martin’s and Massey
might be doing that and only a handful make it into the household-name
arena. One essential difference is doing something on top. Batory’s
differentiation comes from his humanitarian causes, which instantly
attract titles like ours. The great irony here is, despite his disagreement
with the Tommy Hilfiger look and their very different philosophies,
humanitarianism is a corporate strategy shared with the Hilfiger