This is the third installment in a four-part series focusing on Redding’s Fashion Scene. Inspired by the Redding Fashion Alliance and The Iconic Fashion Exhibit, I will now introduce the designers involved in one of the main events of the Alliance’s Fashion Week: the Fashion Show Gala.
The show featured the works of local clothing and accessories creators. I interviewed several of the participants from this year’s gala to get an idea of the people behind the ideas. The designers vary in age and experience, style, and inspiration. Most of them are from Redding or have lived here a very long time. Many went to school here, moved away, and then came back.
I was very interested in the inspiration for their designs. From major designers, movies, and art, to nature and architecture, the ideas come from many sources.
Sustainable fashion is another idea that influences many of the local designers. My regular readers know that I am very interested in sustainability, the idea of fashion as an investment rather than something cheaply made that will probably end up in a landfill after ten wearings.
One such designer is Gini Holmes. Gini likes to print thrift store fabrics with found objects and plants. Her garments look deceptively simple: kimonos, dusters, and loose-fitting tunics. But when you zoom in on the pictures from the website or see them in person, you can see the attention to detail. Digitally printed silks are heavily influenced by water and leaves blowing in the wind. Decorative stitching adds texture to otherwise flat sections. One can see the Asian influence of origami, nature, and shibori dyeing.
Gini studied Printmaking at Stanford University and Art and Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has lived in Redding for 37 years.
“I enjoy manipulating sketches and photos digitally and printing them on fabrics,” Gini adds.
Kimberly Nicole Boney creates jewelry and accessories with vintage, upcycled and repurposed elements.
(For those of you who are not familiar with the term “upcycling”, it’s like recycling but a garment is improved by restructuring it. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe.)
“Jewelry and upcycled denim are my specialties,” Kimberly told me. “My designs are heavily influenced by iconic women from the past, architecture, and by the pulse of the city. I was born in New York City and cities like San Francisco and New Orleans still enchant me.”
Having visited her website, I can see the architectural influence, as well as nature. Kimberly tends to use filigree and copper elements in the metallic parts of her jewelry that remind me of Art Deco. The blues and greens make me think of the ocean and sky and the coppers and reds are reminiscent of sunsets. To quote her website:” I’m a bit vintage and a bit modern, a bit glam and a bit nature girl.” That certainly shows in her designs.
This is very much a family business. With her husband Cleveland, Kimberly launched a line of distressed denim separates. She admits she doesn’t sew but fortunately Cleveland does!
“Having watched his mom work magic with her sewing machine when he was little, Cleveland knew just how to make my fashion dreams come true.”
And Kimberly moved to Redding eleven years ago to be closer to her mom, her biggest supporter.
Another fan of upcycling is Marcella Brown of Studio M designs by Marcella. Born and raised in San Francisco, Marcella loves designing children’s clothing as well as wedding gowns. Repurposing jeans and wedding gowns are two of her specialties.
“The theater inspired me. My Grandma took me to different shows growing up which includes operas and ballets,” she remembered. “I was the little girl in the audience saying to myself I don’t want to be a dancer. I want to make those beautiful dresses.”
As anyone who has worked in theater production will tell you, recycling of costumes is very important, especially when the budget is tight. The Last production’s ballgown skirt can be remade into a poodle skirt for the next show.
Marcella, who was taught to sew by her mother and grandmother at a very young age, has been involved in many local theater productions, including Cascade Christmas.
Pamela Marie Llano also designs with sustainability in mind. She returned to Redding after working in the design departments of several small to medium companies.
“I’ve done children’s clothing, women’s sleep and lounge-wear and I’ve worked with technical clothing for paddle sports. I had a wonderful mentor at Kokatat Water Sportswear in Arcata,” she said. “Penny Holt was the original designer at the company and taught me more about patternmaking and the functional aspects of turning a design idea into reality than I ever learned in college.”
Pamela now works with vintage designs and materials.
“I’ve also been exploring ‘Trashion’ which is making wearable garments and statement pieces out of items that would otherwise end up in the trash or recycle bin.”
Asked about her experience with the Redding Alliance Fashion Show, Pamela raved about the energy of everyone involved and the turnout from the community.
“I loved seeing my models rock their 50’s housewife looks and how the audience responded. I’d definitely do it again,” she promised.
That’s how all the designers felt!
To be continued.
This article was edited for clarity and space.