Topping Design

I am a Denver native, born and raised in east Denver. After serving in the military for over a decade, I retired in 2012. I moved back to Denver and had a difficult time adjusting into civilian life. At that time of my life, PTSD was a constant demon. My service exposed me to the ugliness of war and jaded my view of the world. Following my love of art and fashion, I began to sew to escape the darkness. My inspiration is in my experiences, each garment reflects a step on my journey. My muses are the people who don’t feel like they can be fashionable. Like myself, every person is different, and this is what makes them beautiful. Clothes allow us to be who we want to be, to transcend the barriers placed around us and be who we aspire to become. I want the people wearing my garments to follow my footsteps from the darkness into the light. I wore armor while on active duty, but now I create a new kind of armor. Getting dressed in the morning is armor we use to face the world. I want the people wearing my garments to be empowered and create their own bookmarks on history, showing the world their inner light.

This season has its inspiration in two things.  There is a quote that goes, “He whispered in her ear, ‘You are not strong enough to weather the storm.’  She whispered back ‘I am the storm.”  I love this powerful statement.  To me it represents the antiquated notion that femininity is equivalent to weakness.  So much of our social construction relies on this fundamental hegemony.  Yet, we see examples everyday of how this idea falls apart.  One of the first things that I connected this too was ballet.  We met a young ballerina who really exemplifies this contrast between femininity and strength.  When you think of ballet you think almost always of that cliché’ demure woman.  But, there is a power and strength that must be there for the dance.  This young woman personified that for me.  She has a classic beauty, but underneath is a force that can light up an auditorium.  With that in mind, I designed this line around flowing fabrics to embody that classic femininity.  I then balanced that with structured lines, an architectural technique in the garment to symbolize the inner energy that exudes through ballet and women.  This line has a story, in the beginning there is the calm before, then by the last piece the person wearing the garment becomes the storm.  With these pieces I feel like it’s possible to be both classically demure and empowered.  Combined it gives the wearer a real command presence.

New York Fashion Week SS19