victa designs

Collaboration

Stephanie VictaComment

I've been thinking more and more about all of those humanitarian projects I want to do. Well, last week I contacted Sue Frame, Director of Jakmel Ekspresyon in Jacmel, Haiti, to ask if she wanted to collaborate on project....she said yes! I was so excited to hear that she was on board. Remember that I've wanted to make dresses for girls and women to inspire confidence.....well that idea has evolved.

A little background on Sue: She's amazing! She was the shop manager and my boss in grad school. After losing a friend in the Haiti earthquake, she and a few friends put there heads together to open up Jakmel Ekspresyon (JE) on the basis of providing local artists with space and facilities in a non-discriminatory environment. The center provides skills and resources to empower self-change and entrepreneurial spirit to local and international artists.

I contacted Sue to talk about setting up a sewing studio to teach the basics of sewing, garment construction, machine maintenance and (drum roll please) business management. JE is a great organization to work with because Sue is a great teacher and inspiring person; members receive free classes in return for developing and teaching classes to others. Once a member has gone through a class they're able to use the facilities to earn a living. As homage to JE, they contribute 10% to operations. The framework is there to be sustainable!

I was exploding with joy after our conversation on the phone. Need I mention that she also invited me for a visit in January to meet JE and its members? I will get a feel for Jacmel and see if it's a good fit to go forward. I just purchased my ticket and am on to thinking about what kinds of questions I'll ask when I meet everyone. I want to ask them if this is something they would like to learn and how they envision using the skills. From my understanding, Jacmel is a culturally alive city, flowing with performances in dance and theater. So it seems natural to have a studio space to make costumes or a clothing line or fix already existing garments.

I believe that people can gain the skills necessary to overcome what seem like defeating odds. They just need more Jakmel Ekspresyon's in their lives. Cheers to exploring and reaching out to help others!

Growing and Growing

Stephanie VictaComment

I'm soooooo excited!!!! A couple of months ago I was thinking about leaving Denver and since I made that decision I also realized it was time to fully commit to Victa Designs. I wrote down all of the company goals, got a few patterns in the works to be graded and finally got my line sheets together and sent them out to a few retail stores.

There is so much power in making a decision! Everything I wanted started to manifest and now I'm busy figuring out how to make product for a couple of stores. A big many thanks to all the people who have supported me through this in small and HUGE ways. I wouldn't be here other wise.

Cheers to New Beginnings!

Stephanie VictaComment

I want to share a bit of my story to everyone on the same page with why I'm doing this project. I'm not a person who kept a journal so blogging might prove to be tedious or to my surprise, it could open up new interests. Thought bubble...I always dreamed about being a food critic as a sidebar in life. Well here's a little about how I got started...

I have always been interested in fashion. Not being able to keep up with it as a teenager, I decided to make my own trends and styles by sticking to basics while adding something with a little flair. I have been making clothing since I first learned how to use a sewing machine at 15 but only got more serious about designing while in grad school. My dear friend and studio mate, Younghwan Choi, was making a costume for his performance and it was looking a little sad. I offered my help to make it fit better; in turn, it reminded me how much I enjoyed sewing and designing clothes. Sewing became my stress relief from conceptualizing art and writing papers and before I knew it my wardrobe was growing. I was more detail oriented and could construct a garment a little easier.

I did a few projects for myself, a friend, and did some interior design making roman shades and curtains, upholstering things, a lot of dabbling if you will. When I left the US I had two suitcases for the next year and a half, one with a sewing machine and fabric, and the other had clothes and personal belongings. I collected cloth in Italy and when I reached the Philippines I found a seamstress to help realize the designs I had come up with. I was never aware of how challenging it could be to relate ideas to someone about what was so clear in my head. Communicating with her got me to focus on details while developing a curiosity in pattern drafting.

All the while I was still sewing on my own time, exploring how to construct garments using a french seam because I had no serger to lock the fabric. This proved difficult at times but made for a clean, finished garment. I was just figuring it out as I went. Even if I have a clear drawing of what I want it to look like, there's still discovery that happens as I sew it. That is when I am inspired to add the details. Now let's fast forward to Denver.

I'm experiencing the reverse culture shock of being back in the US and not knowing what I will do with myself after doing an amazing project. I get a couple of mick jobs and carry on. I met a couple of designers in Denver and tried to work with them to learn something but it probably wasn't a good fit. I spend all of my free time sewing and wrestling. After putting out the message and reaching out to Emily Griffith, I found a pattern drafter, Landry Burrows, I could work with easily. She helped me get a couple of things moving.

A year later I met Ashley O'Brien who got me a job at Cosewn and life just opened up! It took me two years to settle into Denver and now it has me by the balls. I wasn't sure if production sewing was the right fit for me but I could see myself producing garments there. I stuck it out, have learned so many things and am so grateful to Ashley and Jessica (owner of Cosewn).

I remember listening to a lecture about success some time ago and the most prominent part that stuck out to me was that most people give up right before they meet success. I suppose writing this is a reminder to myself to not give up, that it's just the beginning of something really fun. I gotta say it has been the scariest endeavor and I've done many things. So cheers to new beginnings and being brave!