Not long ago, driving down Archibald Yell toward S. School, I noticed a shiny metal sign for a new place called Ultra Studios in the space next to Lowlife Tattoo (formerly Xtreme Novelties).
This Thursday, Ultra Studios will open its doors to the public for the first time for a show called “A Fashion Evolution Experience”, and 100% of the proceeds from the show will go to benefit Children’s House of Northwest Arkansas.
Ultra Studio’s official grand opening is a few months away, but the huge building just off S. School in the Mill District will eventually house retail space to sell clothing and jewelry made by local designers, a gallery space in the center of the building for installations and monthly art openings, and a huge runway for regular fashion shows. It’s an ambitious project to say the least.
Brooke Benham is the owner of Ultra Studios, as well as the designer of the Native Couture line that will be on display on Thursday. We got in touch with her for an interview about the show, and she was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Brooke Benham: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Always Moby, the New Depeche Mode, Robin Thiche, The Ting Tings, New U2, Kanye West
FF: What is Ultra Studios?
BB: Ultra Studios is a Luxe Lifestyle and Gallery, and what that means is: A store where you can find an abundance of fashionable/wearable art, and aesthetic art.
FF: When will you open officially?
BB: We will open officially with our grand opening on May 15th.
FF: You have a big show coming up called Native Couture: The Evolution of Fashion. What can folks expect from the show on Thursday?
BB: Attendees at the show can expect a fashion show like no other in this area. First, all the clothes are designed by me, and made locally by Ultra Studios in Fayetteville. Second, the Runway Show itself will be done like no other, meaning the models do not walk right behind one another. I have choreographed the show to tell a story of the evolution of fashion.
FF: What do you mean by Native Couture?
BB: Native Couture is a new label of mine for just this season. It’s one of a kind clothes with my Native American heritage thrown in, but modern.
FF: How do you draw inspiration for your designs?
BB: I look to theory, my world around me, and my heritage.
FF: The show is a benefit for Children’s House. Can you tell me a little bit about Children’s House?
BB: The Children’s House is a school for children from 18 months to 5 years of age. The children that come to Children’s House have been taken out of a neglected or abusive situation. There, they recieve mental and some physical therapy, and learn what they need to learn before entering kindergarten. It’s a great organization.
FF: Are there other local designers doing cool things in Fayetteville?
BB: There are many talented designers here in Fayetteville. I don’t know any personally, but that is exactly who I would like to feature here in my store!
FF: I’m really glad you set up shop near the mill district. Do you think that area of town can become an arts / entertainment district in the future?
BB: Definitely. That is what I saw when I first saw my building for sale. I love this area, and I think it will definitely grown into a great arts and entertainment district soon.
FF: What are some local artists we should check out?
BB: XI Krump is a great artist. She did my stage design. My dad, of course, Jay Benham. Nathan Beatty is so bright and vibrant, and so Van Gogh. Just to name a few.
FF: After your show on the 30th, what’s next for Ultra Studios?
BB: The sky is the limit. We will do a feature artist every month with an artist reception. We have some drag shows in the works, and of course, many more fashion shows.