The Story of Deborah as a Designer
My love for fashion design and sewing started at a very early age. As a young girl, I dreamed of designing dresses for movie stars on the red carpet. I made my older sister’s prom dress when I was just 12 years old, and by high school I was making a dress for every formal dance for myself or a friend. By the time I was a senior, I was creating and selling clothing for classmates and teachers.
I was raised in a middle class family where social justice and care for the Earth were common topics of conversation. The reminder that there are starving children in Ethiopia ensured that dinner didn't go to waste, and that notion was passed on to many other aspects of my life. I found creative ways to take old clothing, piles of which were handed down from my sisters, and create something new out of it. I would take jeans with holes and make skirts, and cut up old tee shirts and piece them together to make new shirts. I gave myself an education on the ethics and labor practices within the clothing industry and committed to buying used clothing and accessories.
After high school, I attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, an elite fashion design school, to get my fashion design degree, then moved back to the Midwest to start my career. As much as I love drawing and designing, the part I am most fulfilled by is actually creating garments. My first job in Minneapolis was at a local high-end custom clothier. There I got a real taste of what kind of business I wanted to create in the future. My career continued by working for other small startup businesses making clothing for the designers, and by default managing much of the business. By 2011, I was confident enough to start doing fashion shows of my own. Although it was good experience, fashion shows and startup businesses do not pay much, so I got a job at a corporation. A year at a big box bridal retailer got my foot in the door of the bridal industry as an Alterations Specialist where I began working with brides, bridesmaids, mothers-of-the-bride or groom, and prom girls. I took that experience and found another twin cities bridal salon where I worked as an independent contractor seamstress.
It was among the lace and tulle that I found what I am truly passionate about: helping women feel beautiful and working with beautiful dresses with no creative limit. Did you know that many bridal shops throw away all of their sample dresses!? This place was gracious enough to donate their throw-away dresses to me to use in up-cycling the garments. Still, at this bridal shop, I knew the dresses were mass produced in sweatshops overseas. I wanted to be able to provide the same service but with dresses that are ethically made. I also wanted to have a place where I could sell my own up-cycled designs. My lifelong vision of creating beautiful dresses while serving people in an ethical manner is coming to life with the vision of Beauty by Design.