Willigan’s to unveil new items at Fashion Show￼
By Kyle Mooty
While the image of Lockhart is painted with barbecue and a spectacular courthouse, Will Rhodes and Sarah Barr hope to infuse a little of the Gulf Coast into the area with their new fashion designs.
Grabbing people from the community to participate in its fashion show for a new line of clothing, Rhodes and Barr have no idea how it will turn out, but they know it’ll be fun.
“It’s gonna be a hilarious event,” Rhodes said. “My son is modeling one of our hats. It’s gonna be like the bad Christmas fashion show. We’re gonna have fun with it. “
What is known is on Thursday, Dec. 1, Lockhart Arts & Craft will host Willigan’s Island’s new clothing line fashion show. Rhodes, owner of Willigan’s Island, a pickled green beans business, is venturing into the world of clothing. He has brought on board artistic designer Sara Barr, co-owner of Arts & Craft, to bring the clothing to life.
Right now, the clothing line includes hats, high-top sneakers (three designs), hoodies, long-sleeve T-shirts, short-sleeved T-shirts, and crew neck sweatshirts.
“We’re doing clothing based on 80’s beach wear, surfing stuff, casual wear; stuff reminiscent of the 80’s,” Barr said. “There are palm trees, seagulls and bright, bold colors.”
Most importantly, each said, the items will be made in Lockhart.
“It’s a sense of community with what we’re doing with making clothes in Lockhart,” Rhodes said. “I honestly love saying Made in Lockhart. It’s a really cool thing that Sara and I have come up with.”
The doors at Arts & Craft will open on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. with the fashion show beginning at 8 p.m.
There will be an online release at willigansisland.com, but the Fashion Show will be the first live appearance of the clothing line.
“I grew up in the 80’s,” Rhodes said. “I don’t know why but I always gravitate to that time. Sara and I just started working together and created these designs. We’re both creative, so I thought we’d take this company in a clothing direction. What I really like about what we’re about to embark is we both to get really creative.”
One of the most fun parts of the Fashion Show at Arts & Craft will be the models, all from the Lockhart community.
Magic Mirror, Circa 1975 Chain Stitching, Potter’s Field Vintage, Golden Hour Gifts, and others are set to show off Willigan’s designs.
“It’s almost gonna be like The Last Waltz we did last year,” said Rhodes, a talented musician as well.
Both Rhodes and Barr expect people from as a far away as Austin to be at the show.
There will be a DJ (Gabe Reyna) at the show and it will be emcee’d by Lance Robbins.
“We have so much creativity here with music,” Rhodes said. “This is another way to show our small town’s creativity. A lot of people here make things. It’s not just music.”
Barr said the show will involve local vintage shops to sell items at the show.
“We’re hoping other people can make some money as well,” Barr said. “It’s gonna be like a market where people can walk around and buy in person or order things from these different folks. It’ll be a great community feeling. Lots of people can be involved. I think that’s one of the things we love about this small town is that everybody is right there, and we can reach out to other people and get them involved. Anytime somebody does something it helps other people. It’s easy to bring in multiple groups so a lot of people can benefit and share the love.”
The event takes place the night before the beginning of the two-day event A Christmas to Remember in Lockhart, Dec. 2-3.
Barr said she and Rhodes first discussed the idea of a clothing line about two years ago, so seeing it come to fruition was exciting.
Rhodes hopes the clothing line grows to other items, enough that a catalog can show all of the designs.
“I feel like this thing has a lot of potential,” Rhodes said. “This thing has feet.
“I have no idea of what we’re going to get into. It’s a really wonderful outlet that kind of happened by accident. I feel like fashion-wise we do have kind of a sense or vision.”
Rhodes plans to take some of the designs along the Gulf Coast, from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.
Barr recalled growing up in a landlocked area of Texas and seeing kids come back from beach trips with beachwear she yearned for.
“There was almost this aspirational feeling in middle school,” she said.
Rhodes said the food business took a hit during COVID and has been extremely difficult to get back on track.
“I was a food entrepreneur with 27 other colleagues,” he said. “There are only three of us left – my company, Yellow Bird and Barbecue Wife.
“I’ve had this idea for a while, and I’ve worked with Sara on posters and things like that. I was immediately attracted to her creativity and her work. One thing about Sara and why I like working with her, is if I need to tweak something, I feel like she really grabs the essence of the idea very well. Obviously, I love her work. Basically, I have her come in and do the design work, then my job is to go out and try to sell it.”