Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My ChipIn

 Being a starving artist is both the most rewarding and frustrating job you can have. For me, it was only partly by choice. I knew I wanted to become a fashion designer at age 11 and have been working towards that goal ever since. I began selling my designs in a store before I even graduated college and then went on to become one of Denver’s most well respected designers before taking a brief break so I could make more money doing hair accessories. Even so, I have always had to have a side job to financially support myself. I would love nothing more than to design my clothing and hair accessories full time and get them manufactured to be sold all around the world, but I have no startup money and no way to get it. Eventually, I plan on doing a Kickstarter to officially start my business but that process takes a few months and I am in desperate need of help right now to pay my most basic of living expenses. 

Back in February I quit my job as a seamstress in a costume shop to work for a small company that made coats from recycled sweaters. The money was equal to what I was making before and I got to work from home on my own schedule which allowed me to continue to build my own business. Well this summer, without telling me, that business moved out of state, leaving me unemployed (I found this out from their facebook page). I have been supporting myself these last few months by selling my hair accessories, as well as doing odd sewing jobs whenever I can, but most of that money has dried up. I am desperately poor right now and have had to burden my parents over and over again with my bills. They are unable to support me much longer as my father is unemployed as well. I got a part time seasonal job for a local candy maker but it doesn’t start until her business picks up. I have also signed up for local holiday markets but those require payment up front and are always a risky venture. I am writing this on October 16th and I have yet to pay my entire rent. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing landlord who is probably mad at me for owing him money, but has let me get away with paying part of what I owe him late- THIS MONTH (I doubt he will be so kind in the future.) I dread every time I have to ask my parents for help and I am trying this in hopes that I can maybe ask them a little less often while I look for new work. So here is what I need: 

 -Money to pay for the various holiday markets I have signed up for. These will all make me at least a little bit of money but you have to pay beforehand. 
-Money for my bills which are as follows: Rent $400, RMRG $50, CSU Loan $40, Federal loan $120, Car payment $200, Phone $20, Car insurance $100, Mechanic bill $50 (as you can see I have very low bills, but even they are too much at the moment.) 
-Money for living expenses, such as food and gas. My car uses about $35 of gas a week because of how spread out my different stores and clients are. I walk when I can. 
-Money to buy supplies, such as feathers, metal headbands, and barrettes. These really add up and even though I always make a profit, the upfront cost of supplies is staggering. 
-Money to be able to improve my life and career, such as basic medical insurance, being completely legal with my company, being able to buy more nutritious food again, buy more clothing tags and business cards so I can stop selling things without my name on them, and creating line sheets/catalogs so I can increase the number of stores I am in. 
-Money to build up my web presence, such as rebuilding my website, photographing my products with professional models/photographers/MUAs so I can increase my sales, and blogging again.
Anything you can provide is a huge help and will not go unnoticed.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Buntport Theater

Buntport Theater is one of the most creative artistic forces in Denver in my opinion. Everything they perform is written by, directed by, and starring the theater group which consists of 5 actors and 1 technical designer. Not only are they wonderful people but I really admire the way that everything they do is a democracy. There is no leader or starring actor, they all share in the spotlight.

About a month ago I was asked by them to create a few of the costumes for their new play My Hideous Progeny, a play about Mary Shelley. Normally they piece together costumes but because this is a period play they needed a very specific look they could not find or borrow. I know Buntport from participating in a few of their Third Tuesday events and because I live with one of the actors from their popular superhero series Trunks that goes on Saturdays.

Come check out their play and be sure to take a look at the men's pants and the pregnancy dress because they were sewn by and co-designed by me!

For information on the play visit: http://www.buntport.com/archive/archive.htm

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Grant Humphreys Mansion Shoot

I teamed up with Meghan Savage Photography again to shoot some summertime pieces at the Grant Humphreys Mansion in Denver. Our model was Bryce, an adorable pre-teen model who is ready for Paris or New York in a second! Originally her older sister Jordan was to be in the shoot too but school sports had her busy that day.

It was a pleasant day, besides there being a bit of wind. We could only shoot outside since the mansion was closed that day, but I think the pieces worked better outdoors anyways. I really enjoyed this shoot and I can't wait to work with Meghan/Bryce again!


Monday, April 18, 2011

DenverbyDesign Fashion Show

I have no good excuse for my long absence. I have a lot of good REASONS, but none of them are really that good of an excuse. I moved twice (with no help), had mouth surgery, became addicted to Netflix online, and did a few fashion projects/custom orders, but none of those are what I would consider good excuses for not spending a few hours every couple of days online.

But with that said, let's move on.

At the end of February I was asked to do a fashion show for Mod Livin's DenverbyDesign event on March 12th. Despite my obvious time crunch, I decided to create a new mini collection for the show. I immediately knew I wanted to do a collection inspired by the space itself. I felt inspired by the idea of modern accessorizing but with slightly mod/retro silhouettes, all inspired by furniture. I used silhouettes and details used for couches and chairs, such as tufting, couch buttons, zippers, and piping.

I wanted some of the pieces to be very wearable with a fun little nod to the theme, but then have others that were a more high end interpretation of the furniture. I used faux leather, shiny vinyl, upholstery fabric, and plain satins that could be built on to. I knew I wanted some hats to add a modern touch, so I had a friend knit/crochet some hats inspired by furniture coverings/details. I only ended up using two of the hats, but I had multiple to choose from.

Because of the time limit, I ended up having to simplify many of my designs. In my original designs, many of the skirts were to be paired with long sleeve shirts with cuffs and collars. I ended up switching these out with decorated t-shirts and tanks so that I could spend more time focusing on quality and craftsmanship, rather than just throwing things together. Another thing I had to settle a bit on was fabric choice. Money was tight (when is it not?) so I tried to use fabric I already had around and cheaper versions of the fabrics I wanted.

All of the pieces I created were inspired by furniture in some way, but some pieces were less obvious than others. One example is a red dress with piping and lace down the front. When inspected closely, you see that the lace is in the shape of couches. I tried to make the collection like a great guessing game for the audience.

Hair and makeup was a challenge for me. I knew I wanted each model to have a different version of a braided updo, but was not completely sure on what kind of makeup I wanted. I ended up giving Rebelle Salon creative control. The result was a great mixture of Renaissance, Victorian, and modern inspired braids, with the makeup being an all nude face, to give the models a slightly creepy look.

For the show itself I had the models walk down the runway and then pose next to a chair that the outfit was inspired by, or looked a lot like. The chairs ranged from shiny plastic chairs to a faux leather chair that reminded me of bondage gear. Though it was very difficult to get the show together in such a short period of time, I was very happy with the outcome, and the audience really seemed to enjoy the collection. Check out all the pictures below!

Poster Design

Hair Inspiration Pictures

The Runway Show

Zoe wears a faux leather tent dress with front piping and covered buttons. Full metal side zipper.

Kailee wears a decorated tank and double layered skirt with furniture silhouettes and braided tassel trim.

Erin wears a decorated tee and satin skirt with furniture silhouettes, removable bow, and ric-rac. Crochet hat.

Alyssa wears a satin shift dress with faux collar, piping, covered buttons, and couch lace.

Jordan wears a cracked faux leather shift with side piping and couch nails and a full back metal zipper. Knitted hat.

Kinsey wears an hourglass detailed dress with piping, faux quilting, upholstery fabric, and removable bow.

Taylor wears a silk dupioni dress with puff sleeve, piping, and couch nails around hem and down bottom half of sleeve.

Dana wears a satin dress with hundreds of shiny vinyl chairs positioned to look like lace.

Bryce wears a decorated tee with a couch collar and a faux leather skirt with piping and skinny belt.

Group Shots

Pictures all by Meghan Savage Photography


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inspiration Song- Lucky by My Brightest Diamond/ We Carry On by Portishead

Back in 2007 I had a job in retail that sometimes required me to come in before the sun came up. One day I had to come in particularly early and the sky was completely dark and the ground completely covered in snow. As I was approaching a big hill I noticed that there were people standing at the top. I was really inspired by the dark figures against the white ground. The effect was dark and mysterious, but still beautiful. I knew right away that I wanted to do a collection inspired by this dark image. The collection would use dark colors, such as black, purple, and blood red. Along with the visuals from the figures on the snow I would also be inspired by religious cults and vampires. (Now mind you, this was before vampires were "trendy.")

I began to design the collection but I never went forward with it because I had a very specific idea for the runway show and there is not a space that I know of in Denver that would work. So I have saved this inspiration idea for a future time when I think I can create it to the best of my ability and make it everything I want it to be.

I am very inspired by music and have recently found the perfect songs to represent this future collection. My Brightest Diamond's cover of Radiohead's Lucky and Portishead's We Carry On have the perfect level of darkness while still having a beat one can walk to. Check out the songs below!

Here are a few inspiration pictures for the collection:

Vampires and Cults

Modern Goth

Color Palette and Flowers


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lanvin Spring 2011 Collection

I am a fan of wearable drama, which is why I love Lanvin so much. Alber Elbaz's use of ruffles and fullness really inspires me which is why I had to check out his collection for Spring 2011. This collection was not as feminine and romantic as some of his other collections have been, but it just as dramatic. The collection seemed to be all about strength and showing skin. There were exposed metal zippers, leather belts, two toned dresses, draping, and leather harnessing- all done in a way that was both feminine and strong. Strength seemed to be a major part of the message because the models really stomped down the runway.

The set of the show was very simple, yet really made an impact. The runway was bare and dark except for a few ceiling to floor beams that went down the middle of the runway. The collection began with several high drama pieces that flowed as the models moved. After these pieces the mood switched to something slightly more wearable, with tank style dresses, trenchcoats, and lots of tight pleating. Besides tight pleating, some loose pleating was also shown. My favorite pieces in the collection (25,26, and 42) were pleated in some way. The show ended with over the top shimmer, which was mainly made of big pieces of glittery material. I really like this collection because of the range it shows. One moment it is wearable and the next it is over the top glamour. Runway should be dramatic, but it should also have a little hint towards commercialism in it. The point is, after all, to sell your pieces.

The finale walk was one of the most dramatic I have ever seen. The models all stomped towards the end of the runway at the exact same time in a big crowd. It was so smooth it almost seemed choreographed. While I do not believe this to be Lanvin's best collection, I believe it to be a very worthy one. Check out highlights below:

Looks 1,3,and 4. Shows the flowing movement in the beginning of the show.

Looks 5,6,and 7. Shows the two toned look and draping done in collection.

Looks 13, 17, and 20. Shows the easy to wear feel from a section of the collection.

Looks 22,25,26, and 28. Shows the tight pleating done in collection.

Look 30,41, and 42. Shows the looser pleating done in the collection.

Looks 36,37, and 38. Shows the sheer look from the end of the show.

Looks 44,45,46, and 47. Shows the glittery finale pieces.

Check out a video of the show to see everything in action!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fashion Blogger Spotlight- Tavi Gevinson

Let's think about how often a pre-teen gets invited to sit in the front row of fashion shows, or be in fashion magazines, or get free clothing from big name designers shall we? Well, if it wasn't for Tavi Gevinson, the answer would be NEVER. Why on earth would a fashion designer give free clothing away to a 14 year old who was not a big Hollywood actress? Well, in this case, it's because she happens to be one of the most famous fashion bloggers out there.

Tavi is not the best photographer but she is a great writer and a fun dresser. Because of her age she can get away with wearing clothing that no one else can wear, including Comme des Garcons and costume sunglasses. Tavi is such a good writer that people often accuse her of having someone else write for her. Scandal! I personally do not think this though because of her childish obsession with the same things I was obsessed with when I was her age.

Tavi is fun to read because of her views on the world, her crazy outfits, and the amount of high press events she gets to attend. Back when Target had the Rodarte line, Tavi was the partial inspiration and spokesperson for the line, which is a pretty big deal. She has also been in Teen Vogue, New York Times, Pop Magazine, and French Vogue. Check out some of her crazy looks below!

Style Rookie, Tavi's site is one of my favorite fashion blogs because it is so refreshing to see a young mind discuss fashion and how fun it can be, rather than the same jaded magazine writers. You can check her blog out at the site below: