Denver Fashion week is back this year with three nights packed full of innovation, emerging and local designers, ready-to-wear fashion and wearable art. These eight new designers are showing at DFW for the first time and are thrilled to be a part of what Forbes magazine called “a trusted alternative to New York Fashion Week.” Visit Denver Fashion Week online to reserve tickets and find out more about who’s participating.
The Designer: Natalie Koenig
READ: Sustainable Fashion Brand Meraki and Nat Embodies a Love of Creativity
The Lowdown: Koenig’s an Ohio native who’s been in Denver for three years. She thrifts everything used to create her collections. “I take a lot of pride in being able to call my creations sustainable. I love experimenting with different textures and color ways. No two pieces are alike, which is something I want to continue to do,” she said.
In addition, Koenig’s in the process of transitioning from the name Meraki and Nat to Enomi. “This collection will be the last time I create under the name Meraki and Nat, which is going to allow me to tell my story from the beginning to the end,” she said. “The color scheme is going to be based around earthy colors — every piece will have sort of an abstract/cryptic message that has something to do surrounding my (the world’s) struggle with mental health,” she added. “They are lessons I have learned throughout my inward journey.”
For Koenig, the message behind the clothes is important. “I haven’t always felt free to express myself the way that I wanted,” she said. “Creating has allowed me to understand life, it’s allowed me to have a platform to let people know they aren’t alone in their struggles.”
The Designers: Sisters Jillian Glenn Altman and Hillary Glenn Riley
The Lowdown: Based in downtown Boulder, Glenn + Glenn “launched quietly in 2019 with a capsule collection of warm weather essentials,” said Altman. She describes the brand as “tailored modern classic apparel for sophisticated women — created with awareness for functionality by active humans who value timeless longevity — carefully curated fabrics sourced sustainably from textile stalwarts like Japan and Italy, and thoughtfully produced primarily by women-owned sew houses in NYC and local seamstresses in Colorado.”
Their favorite part about their work is seeing people in their designs. “Combining our love for art, architecture, fashion, photography and all things sustainable, we tested our skill sets in apparel design and entrepreneurship to create a ready-to-wear fashion brand that promotes slow fashion, small batch production and awareness for curating one’s wardrobe.”
“Our brand is designed to be seasonless, built on essentials that you can layer all year,” added Altman. “Our collections are produced in small quantities, so you will see combinations of cool weather winners like jumpsuits in and plaids, along with our suiting collection in Italian wool and our favorite linen sets in amazing colors and neutrals.”
The Designer: Mirtha Boles
The Lowdown: Boles is originally from Paraguay and now lives in Denver. She describes her brand, Mirtha Art, as “personalized high-end clothing embellishments and matching accessories.” The collection that the audience will see at DFW is a combination of crystal-embellished jackets and women’s evening-wear tops with matching accessories (and a headpiece.) “Creating unique hand-made pieces for my clients and the joy it brings them” is her favorite part of being a designer, along with connecting with her models. “My models are my children that I love,” said Boles. “I am so pleased to have them join me in my inaugural DFW presentation.”
The Designer: Madison Vazquez-Van der Lingen
The Lowdown: Vazquez-Van der Lingen is based in Albuquerque, NM, and loves the mile-high city. “I frequent Denver more than any other city because it’s close to me and I believe it has a magnificent fashion scene,” she said.
“With my clothing, I generally try to stick with recycled or up-cycled materials from thrift stores to see how I can transform them and bring a new luxurious look to a fabric that was almost forgotten,” she said. “Each piece is handmade by me so I can ensure the quality and longevity of the clothing to the owner. The mood of my work really comes from inspiration from the people that wear my clothes and model for me — that’s the reason I love working with non-conventional models,” she said.
Her 2021 DFW collection draws its inspiration from Galicia, Spain, her father’s hometown. “The colors and creative costumes throughout the town are magnificent,” she said. This collection is called ‘Carnival’ and is blasted with way more color than I am used to working with,” she added. “It has a folky, almost ritualistic undertone, but I would say there is a presence of childhood innocence and playfulness woven in as well.”
It’s been a dream of Vazquez- Van der Lingen’s to show a collection at DFW. “I started as a model two years ago for Steve Sells just to get into the show and be around the amazing clothing and creatives.” Her favorite part of being a designer is the creative freedom that comes along with working for herself. The collection at DFW will be a combination of ready-to-wear pieces and “more avant-garde, wearable art.”
The Designer: Ashleigh Perri
The Lowdown: Perri, who’s originally from Grand Junction, prints eye-popping prints of musicians, actors and fictional characters onto t-shirts of various styles. “My Generation T’s is a combination of my love for music and fashion all wrapped up into one,” she said.
“I started to create prints of my favorite musicians and I started to put my prints on tees,” explained Perri about creating her brand. “My Generation T’s is vibrant, fun, and for everyone’s wardrobe,” she added. Her DFW collection branches into other clothing styles as well. “This collection was me getting out of my comfort zone a bit,” she said. “There will be new tees but there will also be pieces that are not just t-shirts for the audience to see.”
The Designer: Teagan Glass
The Lowdown: “efta. 100% Denver-based,” said Glass. “I only use small local companies for my screen printing and embroidery—I’ve lived in Colorado for the past 14 years, but have only been in Denver since 2019,” he added. Glass describes the brand as a “crisp, clean aesthetic with thoughtful designs.”
READ: Meet Tegan Glass, the Biomedical Researcher Who Created a Streetwear Brand Based on Unity
“The Fall/Winter collection for DFW is the amalgamation of my passions and interested, presented in my ideal aesthetic,” he added. “A lot of different ideas and inspirations go into each design – the fun part for me is the challenge of distilling complex concepts into dope streetwear that tells a story.” Glass says that the highlight of his work life is “definitely all of the dope, creative people I get to meet through building my brand. Whether it’s finding new people to shoot with or linking up with other local creatives at pop-ups, immersing myself in Denver’s creative community keeps me inspired and motivated,” he said.
Glass first premiered efta. at a local artist showcase in February of 2020. “To have been invited to show my brand at DFW a year and a half later is super surreal and honestly doesn’t feel real yet,” he said.
The Designer: Evan Stallworth
The Lowdown: Stallworth is originally from Arkansas but has lived in Denver for eight years. He curates vintage clothing, staying true to his eclectic and retro aesthetic. “Mad Vintage is mainly 70’s & 80’s unisex statement clothing, easily recognizable,” he said. “I love pieces that make you think, ‘oh wow, that’s 80’s!’”
His DFW collection will be showcasing “layers, textures, colors, and patterns. It’s about to get funky!” he added. Since everything is secondhand, Mad Vintage falls into the “sustainable” category as well. “I love the hunt but honestly saving these incredible pieces from the landfill and giving them a second life is what wakes me up in the morning.”
The Designer: Moses Kisale
The Lowdown: Kisale is Denver-based and was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa — he describes his brand as “cozy,” and caters to those looking for both comfort and luxury. “This collection is inspired by my recent experience of moving out of my parent’s house and it’s inspired by ho far from the motherland I am,” said Kisale. “This will be a calm collection—neutral colors—the whole purpose of the collection is to make whoever wears the piece to feel at home, feel at peace,” he added.
“This collection is not just clothes being showcased but art and emotions being showcased through vibrant colors,” said Kisale.
Denver Fashion Week will take place from November 16-21, 2022.