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kimannIf you’ve ever walked into a room full of people who share your personal passion and thought to yourself, “I have found my people,” then you’ll know exactly how KimAnn Schultz felt when she attended her first Fashion Arts Society event.

Make no mistake—FAS is not a ladies lah-tee-dah organization for a few select people. It’s a four-year-old affiliate group of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and a forum where all kinds of people engage with each other over Fashion—and yes, that’s with a capital F.

Schultz was drawn to the group after reading about it in Indianapolis Monthly. “My first thought was, ‘How did I not know about this group?’” she says. Her first event was a movie featuring Audrey Hepburn, followed by a social where she met other fashion-minded people.

“It was the most amazing thing,” Schultz says. “It was one of those moments when you recognize your own.” Soon she started helping with Hats Off, one of the group’s signature events.

That led the writer, artist and Huffington Post blogger to accept an FAS leadership role as this year’s president. Schultz’s lively mind, enthusiasm and inclusiveness are a welcoming presence for all comers—especially those who are interested in having meaningful conversations.

I asked Schultz to be my first interview for Download, a series of Q&A articles where thought leaders share what’s on their mind, what they’re watching, listening to, reading—and, of course, what they’re wearing. (Yes, I stole this idea directly from the New York Times.)

Why did you decide to get involved with Fashion Arts Society?
To me, it’s this perfect marriage of dealing with wearable things that I love, buy and collect. I enjoy fashion philosophy as a form of expression and the way it marks time. When you blend that with support for the textile arts at the IMA and the amazing fashion legacy we have with these designers from Indiana, it represents a massive undercurrent of creativity and drive. It’s the equivalent of becoming an antique dealer to support your love for buying antiques. I get to transform my intense love of fashion and jewelry into something really constructive.

What do you most like about FAS?
The diversity of people is so refreshing. As we go through our adult life, it’s so typical to be pigeonholed by job categories. It’s hard to break out of that. In a group like this, what someone does to earn a paycheck has almost nothing to do with what brings us together, what our stories are, and how fashion plays into our lives. I’m blown away by our mutual love of fashion and I consider it a continuing privilege to hang out and work with all these people.

I think conversation is a little bit of a lost art. Our political environment is so tightly wound that politics is generally off the table and rarely gets covered. So people talk about themselves more. That subtracts from meaningful small talk and topical conversations about art and literature. FAS brings together creative types and creates some commonality. We get to delve into these topics that are near and dear to us. All the sudden, there’s so much more that can be discussed without being pigeonholed or creating social strata around income. There’s so much to be discussed that doesn’t put us in a box.

What’s your reading ritual?
We thoroughly embrace the Internet at our house, but I don’t have a Kindle or electronic reader. As fond as I am of technology, I’m extremely old-fashioned about some things. I love books, but I prefer a tactile book, and I use a leather day planner that functions as my diary, journal and business tool. Daily reading includes the Yahoo home page, the Huffington Post, of course, and the Indy Star online. I’m not a super big blog follower, but I do follow bloggers who are linked with FAS.

What do you think of social media?
I enjoy checking Facebook, and I do it sporadically, but with intention. Social media is fun, but I try to keep it in its place. I think it’s as simple as turning a switch off or on. I don’t keep Facebook open, and I don’t get notices. I check in on quiet moments early in the morning or late at night. I think limiting that activity to downtime is good.

How has technology changed the way you communicate?
For me, texting with my grown sons has been wonderful because it suits the way they do things. There is so much value in brevity. To convey something very well in a brief blog post or text is a new form of expression. Sometimes those little messages hold a lot of weight and meaning. And it’s a way to keep relationships active.

What are you watching?
I am a huge Downton Abbey fan. I love the visuals and observing the costume changes from different eras, pre- and post-war, and how what these women wear reflects the time and where they are in society. It’s a show that Mike and I watch together, which I just love.

I have to confess that, yes, I have enjoyed the guilty pleasure of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives series. To see real people in semi-real situations has way more validity than we might think. As a people watcher and casual sociologist, I find it interesting to see fame and fortune thrust on ordinary people and observe how they deal with it.

I’m also a news junkie, but I think the 24-hour news cycle dilutes news to the point that it’s not a good thing to watch all the time.

What are you listening to?
I’ve always been a huge NPR fan. I continue to support and listen to public radio. Mike is a musician and I’m a lyricist and we met through songwriting. Music is the foundation of our relationship. (You can find their three-song EP on ITunes!) I love keeping up with the new stuff out there. I am fully aware that my musical tastes do differentiate me from younger generations, and I find that fascinating. I have fond memories of my boys introducing me to music they were listening to and how awful it sounded to me. At the same time, I loved radical groups like Rage Against the Machine. Not long ago, we saw Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson in the Thick As A Brick tour in Chicago. That was such an awesome concert. We listen to satellite radio, so I do dabble in listening to all musical genres.

How would you define your personal style?
I will quote a jewelry designer I just discovered who refers to her line as being “for the woman who likes to wear cashmere hoodies.” In a few words, that captures my ultimate style. As I grow older, it’s easier to wear exactly what I want and to be as casual as I want to be, but still honor quality and style.

This ties back to what brings all of us Fashion Arts Society people together. I was the art kid when I was growing up and I always felt like a little bit of an outsider. Through FAS and getting a little bit older and feeling freer, you really learn to embrace being different and being comfortable in your own skin. And, for me, it means not compromising comfort or thinking I need to dress to unduly impress. It’s as much about what you don’t do as what you do.

What’s your ultimate go-to outfit when you want to dress in a hurry?
A fabulous blouse—white and crisp. An awesome Nanette Lepore blazer. Plus an awesome pair of jeans. And, of course, a great pair of shoes. I have long called shoes the fifth food group and have collected shoes, mindful of both style and good fit. Whether for sandals in warmer weather or year-round at yoga, I like my feet healthy, something no pedicure can hide or fix.

You can find KimAnn’s thoughtful posts at the Huffington Post and more of her work at any of the follow sites:


When KimAnn mentioned the lost art of conversation in this interview, she hit one of my hot buttons. I’m constantly annoyed by the trivial things we talk about most days—which might be why I enjoy book discussions and topical groups like FAS. Where do you turn for stimulating conversation and how do you cultivate it in your daily life?

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.