How I spent my Spring Break

Not unlike many college students, I headed south for Spring Break. But gone are the days of relaxing, as I was lucky enough to attend the famous South By Southwest conference, SXSW or simply “South By” as the locals call it, in Austin, Texas. The 10-day event starts out with Interactive and Film as the key focus, taking over the downtown convention center, all hotels in the city center and many vacant blocks, grassy patches and street corners in addition to screening rooms. The second part of the week turns into a full on music festival, it takes over the entire city, and it’s impossible to see everything!

Projection, photo courtesy of Bobbin Talk

My goal was to explore deeper, the interactive, social media marketing, and digital video concepts I’ve been studying over the past year. Some of the panels I attended were full of New Yorkers (Conde Nast new business panel) whereas others discussed digital video, and the various challenges and opportunities which exist in this wild west time of new media. A talk on online education drew about 125 people, a handful in higher ed, some in primary and secondary ed, with many coming from tech development; all which led to an audience led learning seminar.

Gretchen sewing t-shirt tote bag

It wouldn’t be a true trip without some fashion. The City of Austin has long had a fashion scene. I remember first learning of the style council in early 2000’s and so was pleased to meet and experience fun fashion meet-ups and a lovely blogger breakfast hosted by Austin’s own, The Glamourai. The breakfast was hosted in the new W Austin hotel, accompanied by a tour from the Interior Designer. Be sure to have brunch or drinks in this amazing space, which begs to be explored.

The home crafter movement network of Etsy partnered with pattern company and sewing project site, Burda-Style, hosted a 2-story event on 6th Street. Colleague and accessory designer, Aneta Genova, of Bobbin Talk, and I had a blast exploring each of the stations. We made t-shirt totes, and hand-painted shot glasses, after taking silly photos of ourselves in the costume photo booth. This creative day was one of the highlights of our trip. It was great to hang out with friends Turi Fesler and Susan Koger of ModCloth during various parts of the week, and to hear Susan speak again. I cannot wait to return next year!

Aneta choosing her t-shirt