Before reading anything more, quickly find a full body mirror.
â¦ OK, you’re back. Could you see the culture you just looked back on?
Is it in the fluffy socks that Grandma knits and presents every Christmas? The gold or silver cross hanging from a chain in the center of your chest? For the co-founder and executive director of Terrain Ginger Ewing, the truest part of Spokane culture?
âBeanies,â Ewing said. “The caps are big here, and it’s a very Pacific Northwest thing that’s reflected in Spokane.”
They are just one of the elements of Terrain X, a brand new clothing line that weaves both Spokane culture and local artists into its fabric.
Although released on Saturday, Ewing has dreamed of using artists to make clothes for years. She was inspired by Vans and his collaborations with artists like rapper Tyler, the creator and tributes to the Beatles.
âTerrain X is the platform to realize this artist dream land (Spokane) to design clothes like our initial inspiration,â Ewing said.
Terrain X took shape during the Terrain Creative Business Program, a comprehensive 12-week program that teaches local artists how to support a small business.
âIn our first cohort, six of the companies that participated in the program expressed interest in carrying out a collaborative retail project. “But the more we thought about it, the more we thought it was a terrible idea (to leave them), and we need our artists and creators and creators to have more structure and support.”
From there, Terrain took a photo of the pop-up store idea in a small space. But, once demands for a second larger location increased, officials at River Park Square offered Terrain to have its own store in the mall. From Here opened in River Park Square in June 2019.
Located on the second floor, the 4,200 square foot store was seven times the size of the previous space at the Spokane steam plant. More space invited more ideas, shifting consumer concerns from where to buy items to sell a particular type of merchandise. Residents and visitors to the state wanted Spokane-branded items for on-the-go keepsakes or more sparkle from their hometowns.
âSixty percent of the people that come (to River Park Square) are visitors, and they look for Spokane items, and then every time we had Spokane things on our shelves, they would fly away,â Ewing said.
Terrain released Terrain X over Thanksgiving weekend, a time when buyers looking for sales are mixing money at record highs. In a study conducted by the National Retail Federation, 180 million shoppers sent $ 30 billion. Small Business Saturday is between Black Friday and Cyber ââMonday.
âWe knew this would be the perfect opportunity (to debut) Small Business Saturday and make it part of the holiday season,â Ewing said. âWe were very specific about the small business launch on Saturday as Terrain X got closer to completion. But it just happened to line up that way.
To ensure artists have been properly recognized, Terrain X object tags have a biography and photo of the artist who designed the work, which he prefers about Spokane, and a QR code that brings visitors to a portfolio of artists. Terrain’s mission is to compensate its artists, so the selection of inaugural artists was split between diverse talent and skill sets.
âOne of the things we say often is that you can be an amazing artist, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to paint a mural or produce socks,â Ewing said. âIt’s a set of skills that can be learned. We went with an artist who we knew had these skills, although we were open to working with artists who didn’t.
Ewing also wanted a reflection of diversity in Spokane, citing âcultural and artistic diversityâ which is reflected as much as possible.
Joshua Thomas, Karli Ingersoll and Jiemei Lin are the artist-designers featured in the first edition of the clothing line. Ingersoll and Thomas are from Spokane, while Lin was born in Hangzhou, China, and came to America as an exchange student for a school in the United States.
Ingersoll’s design, art and murals are some of his most notable works. Prior to entering the freelance scene, she worked in advertising with corporate clients like Netflix and Lululemon, creating logos and logos.
She has murals at local restaurants such as People’s Waffle, Lucky You Lounge (which she owns), and Chop Shop, including one on North Monroe Street. For Ingersoll, art is an opportunity to deepen the relationship between man and nature.
âI take a lot of inspiration from growing flowers and vegetables, the connection and the process of growing things and life,â Ingersoll said. âThe natural world is more connected to us than humans are able to see. “
When she is not in her artistic world, she is in the garden or watches documentaries which extend a green thumb to her. The Netflix documentary “Fantastic Fungi” helped her realize the distinctive shape of mushrooms.
âFungi are such interesting species to explore because there are so many types, so many shapes and colors,â she said. âIt’s interesting to go in that direction to design and play with them.
For Terrain X, Ingersoll mirrors the seasons in Spokane; one of her crimson red sweaters is painted in pinks and blush yellows reminiscent of previous sunsets and changing leaves in mid-October.
Thomas started working with Terrain after creating a COVID Crusaders comic in 2020 through Spokane Arts and The Black Lens. He holds a degree in visual communication and an MBA from Eastern Washington University. He then founded his company, Lejit Designs, which elevated him to making murals and illustrations that oscillate between traditional and digital media. Thomas, MÃ©tis, finds refuge in black art and culture.
âGraffitiâ¦ cartoons, cartoons, manga, books in general (are influential), and I can also say this: black culture is evident,â Thomas said. âThere is a certain flow in there, and it comes up a lot in my work. There is a kind of identity crisis that you go through by being mixed up, and as I grew older I became more and more reconciled with my darkness. In my art, I got really good at embracing this part of me.
For Terrain X, he infused his love for graffiti into a bubble drawing for the word “Spokane” on an ash gray sweatshirt. He also designed a graffiti t-shirt with Spokane features such as Parkade, riverside festivities and a basketball to pay homage to Hoopfest in a cyan-yellow-white color mix.
Lin’s hometown is still reflected in the shirts, shoes, and items she designs for Terrain X. Hangzhou is known as the “Imperial City of Poetry” where Lin grew up attending art museums that reflect appreciation of the art of ancient Chinese rulers. Lin is a digital illustrator with traditional murals. She also illustrates children’s books.
âMy parents always took me to these gardens and art museums, and at a young age it was my art education,â she said, âMy parents who were very encouraging wanted me to expresses artistically, and I think that was a big part of me and the Chinese heritage.
For Terrain X, Lin designed an illustration of a girl with bangs looking through binoculars, finding the Spokane Waterfall and Bridge looking at her. Around the girl are navy blue and orange flowers and a small line of Mandarin, the common language spoken in China.
For Ewing and the featured artists, Terrain X is just getting started. As the line’s releases continue, Ewing hopes for an expansion of not only artistic opportunities but also Spokane-related works that embody culture and diversify fashion tastes.
“One of the things I’m really proud of is that we wanted to appeal to as many people as possible, so when you see Josh’s or Karli’s designs, they’re very different styles and artistic representations.” , Ewing said.
âWe’re always starting to get a deeper insight into who and what Spokane is not just creatively but as a whole, at least through an artistic interpretation. We will see it more and more as the range evolves, but first you have to succeed. I can’t wait to push Spokane towards what they stylistically embrace with this line. I dream big here.