Byrd's Eye View - Prophetik's Southern Shores
James Cameron and wife Suzy visit Nashville, talk about big ideas
As the threat of thunderstorms loomed, a large crowd gathered Friday night on 8th Avenue just outside The Standard for local designer Jeff Garner's Prophetik "Southern Shores" fashion show. Making it worth the threat for this highly anticipated event were two special guests: James Cameron, director of the two top-grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic, and his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron.
The Camerons made their inaugural trip to Nashville aboard a commercial flight that same day to play host for the theatrical show, which included 24 looks from Garner's fall/winter 2010 Civil War-inspired collection. A horse even walked the runway.
The event benefited a cause close to the Camerons' hearts: MUSE, a green-minded, non-profit elementary school in Topanga, Calif. The couple started it in 1995 after deciding that traditional schooling did not best suit the needs of their three youngest children.
"The philosophy of MUSE is really celebrating children for who they are and allowing them to live their passions and be who they are meant to be and not try to put them in a box," Suzy Cameron said in an interview with The Tennessean.
James Cameron added, "I wasn't crazy about home schooling just because I thought the kids needed to socialize with other kids, so we said, ‘Well let's find some like-minded families and we'll just put something together' and then Suzy got the bit in her teeth and pretty soon it was a school with 50 kids."
Suzy said with a laugh: "It's kind of something that happens in our family. We kind of think of these little ideas and they turn into bigger ideas."
It's those bigger ideas that first brought the Camerons and Garner together. Suzy Cameron met Garner through a friend while working on her Red Carpet Green Dress global design contest. That effort encouraged designers to use sustainable materials when creating their fashion lines, an idea that Garner has been on board with since the beginning of his eco-chic line.
"I actually teach and protest that people should buy less and consume less, and it doesn't make sense because that's how fashion lines make money. But the goal of Prophetik is to bring awareness and find out how we can do things better in the industry," Garner said.
James Cameron said the themes in and success of his top-grossing Avatar have furthered the idea that you don't have to choose between promoting a healthy environment and making money and creating jobs.
"When Avatar came out, so many people around the world responded to it as a movie, as a piece of entertainment but also as something deeper, something more meaningful to them. ...So many environmental groups and indigenous rights groups contacted us and got us involved in their causes. These were things that I had cared about, but now I was meeting people who were taking direct action, who were doing things.
"I think what's happened - quite the opposite from it being a time of kind of resting on our laurels - we realized how big these challenges are and how urgent these issues are. We actually have just sort of gotten more involved and we have been busier after Avatar than we were during it."
-HEATHER BYRD, METROMIX DIRECTOR
PICTURED: Images from the Prophetik Southern Shores fashion show outside The Standard in downtown Nashville on Friday, April 23, 2010.