Designers bring fashion forward in DuluthFive fashion designers — four of them Duluthians — displayed their apparel prowess at a charity event March 25 at Clyde Iron Works for children with speech and hearing disorders.
By: Naomi Yaeger, Duluth Budgeteer News
There was a little steampunk. And some geek chic urban street wear, fairy tale futuristic and Russian ballerina. One outfit even seemed to evoke Dr. Seuss, made out of aluminum, faux fur, feathers, lace, cotton and Spandex.
Five fashion designers — four of them Duluthians — displayed their apparel prowess at a charity event March 25 at Clyde Iron Works for children with speech and hearing disorders. Dubbed the Fashion Forward Collective, the event was a spinoff of designer Jen-Ann Geving’s first Fashion Forward fundraiser in 2008, a benefit for Duluth’s Family Justice Center.
“I grew up in Duluth Heights, went to Lowell (Elementary School),” Geving said of her early education, where she spent 10 years playing the flute and violin but was “not too crafty.”
That would change after she graduated Denfeld High School in 1997 and entered Minneapolis Community and Technical College, though at first her interest was in criminology. Yet living in the neighborhood near the Minneapolis College of Art and Design inspired her to try her hand in clothing design.
“I bought a really cheap sewing machine and just started making patterns out of butcher paper,” said Geving, who also acquired a dress form to drape cloth over. “I kind of played around with it not even knowing what I was doing.”
After some fits and starts with her education, she eventually switched her major at MCTC to apparel design, and then “flew through” the coursework to graduate in 2003 with an associate of arts in apparel design and services.
Her first job in the fashion world was at Jump’N Style in Eden Prairie, where she designed figure skating dresses.
“People would pay $500 for a dress,” she said.
Later, she worked for Birchberry, a woman’s clothing line in downtown Minneapolis before returning to Duluth in 2005 and freelancing for Duluth Pack.
She also worked for Duluth motorcycle jacket and riding gear manufacturer Aerostich, designing jackets, rain pants and accessories. Since 2007, she’s worked out of her home where “my dining room is my studio,” she said.
Fast forward to last weekend’s Fashion Forward Collective at the Clyde Iron Works, a benefit for Duluth’s Scottish Rite Clinic for childhood language disorders.
“Close to 175 people attended and not only did they support local artists, but also the clinic. That was a treat,” said Carol Roberts, the clinic’s director. “It’s eye-opening to see the young talent in the designs that were displayed that evening.”
The other Duluth designers were Richard Rosvall, Elizabeth Chesney and Aleash Hladilek. Guest designer was Minneapolitan Danielle Everine of Lifetime TV’s “Project Runway” fame.