Catching Up With Sarah Nelsen-One Busy Designer



The Beginning

Have you ever noticed a simple, unassuming event that eventually pushed your life in a different direction? While thinking about writing this post, I realized there was such an event for me in June of 2015.

At that time, I wasn’t doing style or fashion blogging. The thought had not yet crossed my mind. I was, though–and I’ve have always been–interested in materials, design, and those who create magic using the two.

convo
Visiting with Sarah when I went for my final fitting for my dress. I did make two changes from the original model. I wanted a side zipper and two inches added to the length. 

In June, 2015, my daughter Rachelle and I attended our first Kansas City designer pop-up event. We had been to Kansas City Fashion Week the previous Fall and thought we would enjoy seeing Kansas City designers in a more intimate setting, which included cocktails and nibbles (can’t go wrong there).

TheGir;s&I

Daughters Michelle, Rachelle, and I at Kansas City Fashion Week last Fall. I’m wearing Sarah’s vintage inspired cape style dress from her Strata collection (my favorite collection of hers). I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the last of the her pink fabric–so this is the last of this particular version for her. (I wonder if she might try this design in other color and fabric combinations.) I finished the look out with a pair of vintage sequined embellished gloves (eBay), a vintage pink rhinestone pin (ETSY) that I used as a pendent and one of my Anthony Luciano bags (eBay).

When we entered, I immediately noticed this pink and black vintage inspired dress on this lovely, young woman. The dress was designed and made by Sarah Nelsen, who was wearing it. After a brief conversation, I happily took one of her business cards, which pictured that dress. I pinned the card to my studio peg board. I really admired the design of Sarah’s dress.

Solar
At the Kansas City Crossroad’s SolaNoir Street + Creativity Eclipse Festival in August, 2017. This was the first time I wore my top. I’ve pretty much nicknames it The Solar. Sarah is wearing another dress from her Strata collection. With us is an up and coming designer, Munisa of Munille de Vie.

I talked to other designers that evening and bought some items. That was the first time I had talked and bought from local designers. It felt really good.

It was that evening that put a thought in the back of my mind: time to change the focus of my blogging. I took the leap a few months later.

 

rachelleme

Rachelle and I together at a panel that she moderated for Women’s Equality Week last August. Rachelle’s jacket is also by Sarah. As one artist to another, Sarah kindly loaned Rachelle the jacket for the event. The jacket is from Sarah’s Decadent Collection. The architectural details on the jacket are amazing and don’t show up in this photo. You may get a closer look, if you wish, on Sarah’s site.

 Learning About Sarah

Once I made the decision to focus on style, Sarah’s path kept crossing with mine. Now that I have a couple of creations by Sarah in my closet, maybe it is time to introduce my readers to Sarah Nelsen.

Even though Sarah’s mother taught Fashion Merchandising at Fontbonne University in Saint Louis, Missouri, Sarah didn’t originally see herself as a fashion designer. Instead, she pursued a graphic design degree at the University of Kansas.

 

SummerTryOn
Back in August, during a studio open house, I considered maybe taking home this top made from vintage fabric. As a seamstress myself, craftsmanship is very important to me; the bound seams and perfection of sewing impressed me. I felt like a million dollars when I tried it on and looked into the mirror. I really wanted this top to be in my closet. When I found out if was a one of a kind, well…that easily tipped the decision.

When she graduated, Sarah decided to stay in the Kansas City area and worked for various advertising agencies. But she found herself drawn to fashion design. She started taking fashion design classes in her spare time at Johnson County Community College. During a summer, she studied draping at the London School of Fashion. Eventually, she was freelancing in graphic design while giving more time to her passion for fashion.

TheMaterialofThings
As much as I love fabric and fiber, I had to include a pic of just a few gorgeous fabrics that Sarah has in her studio. I think Sarah has an eye for simple classic design carried out in lovely, sumptuous fabrics.

One of her first experiences with design was with costumes for Kansas City’s innovative dance company,  Quixotic.  Sarah participated in the 18th Street Fashion Show, an annual event that ran for several years.

Sarah just wrapped up a two year professional development residency with Rightfully Sewn. This program helps put local based designers on a practical path toward success.

DreamDress
Right now I am on a “No Buy” (I’m just trying to discipline myself to creatively use only what’s in my closet for awhile). When that “awhile” is finished, I have my eye on another dress from the Strata collection. Sarah’s designs just seem to flatter me and makes me look and feel great.

The Studio and Asiatica

Sarah now has a studio at the Livestock Trade Building in Kansas City’s West Bottoms where you will find her when she isn’t at her day job. For two years, she’s been a cutter and in charge of social media at Kansas City’s Asiatica. This is a dream job if you are someone like Sarah.

GoldenGala
Taking  The Solar to the Posh. In December, 2017, Michael and I attended Rightfully Sewn’s Golden Gala that celebrated the six inaugural designers who participated in the Rightfully Sewn’s resident program. Sarah was one of the featured designers. (A side note: I did a little restyling on Solar’s sleeves–it was done by hand & can be easily removed. The wider sleeves just didn’t look right with a more elegant style and the smaller puffier sleeves were just perfect. When I wear it with pants again, it’s just snip-snip and back to its original self.)

At Asiatica, Sarah works with vintage Japanese fabric along with new on-the-bolt fabrics. She has to decide how the designs are going to fit once the fabric pieces together. Many times the vintage pieces have holes and blemishes. She has to figure out how to work a design around these imperfections to create drop dead gorgeous garments.

cutter
Sarah explaining what she does at a cutter. See that small piece of yellow tape, not far from my hand? That represents a hole in the vintage fabric. There were several other pieces of tape on these pieces. She must take the pattern and figure out how to make the design work with the chosen material.

In her studio, Sarah has two type of garments: those from previous collections (like my pink and black dress from the Strata collection) and one-of-a-kind garments that she has made (like my top Solar).

She has her own website and often has garments to purchase there. At the moment, there are also a few original designed pillows. All of her past collections are in her look-book. Well worth a look, I think.

admiring
Again, at Asiatica, looking over some of new designs that are soon going to show rooms and trunk shows throughout the United States. If you planning a trip to Kansas City, please consider visiting Asiatica’s showroom and try on a few of these amazing garments.

At this point, Sarah constructs each of her designs to suit you, the customer. Being a seamstress myself, craftsmanship is very important to me. Sarah’s craftwomanship is impeccable.

The experience of going in for fittings and having someone else make and sew a design that I loved, was a true pleasure.

Sarah’s designs make me look great and I feel amazing when I wear them. Isn’t that what fashion is about?

Three Great Sites to Check Out

Sarah Nelsen

Asiatica

Rightfully Sewn

I will close with a close up view of Solar.

topsurface

That wraps it up for this week. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have another blog bit early next week because this Friday is a 1st Friday and that means it will be time for a new 2nd Loved 1st Friday Linkup.

You are certainly welcome to leave a comment or two or three. I love to hear from you.

I link up with some great blogs every week. To see who they are go HERE.

Husband Michael, Rachelle and I took photos used in the post today. Michael does a bit of editing from time to time.

Again, thanks for stopping by. Take care……..

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13 thoughts on “Catching Up With Sarah Nelsen-One Busy Designer

  1. I think it’s incredible how you support your local designers, Terri! You have such a creative eye, and I love how you introduce us to these amazing people!!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com
    PS..I’m trying to be on a “spending diet” too—–I already have so many fabulous pieces in my closet and not enough time to wear them all!!!

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  2. Thank you Jodie. This one was a difficult one as far as to format. I had so much to say that I just couldn’t do it in a normal way so I toggled between photo captions and main story line. My text is the largest I could get for the main blog and I will probably size it down next week. Putting the photo captions in Italics, I was hoping to help the flow of the main story and people could take stop offs and read under the photos if they desired. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it works.

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    1. Thank you, I think she is one super talented gal. But I also wanted to show that it’s not easy to be a young designer. They often have to work a 9 to 5 to keep their dream alive. Sarah is very lucky to have such a great day job!

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    1. Thank you Bernadette, I ‘m glad to hear that. Sarah and I have been talking about this post since August and it just took me a while to get all my info together. I learned a lot too when she gave me a tour of Asiatica-that place and what goes on to create garments like those is amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely love the way you support local fashion designers.
    I love the solar material, the close up shot really shows how stunning it is.
    It’s so interesting to hear of your path to your current focus on fashion as an artist.
    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it has to do with my love of fashion history and being a teacher. Doing these kind of stories are important to me.

      With the internet these young designers can reach out to a lot of people but at the same time someone has to talk about them.

      A close up of the fabric surface was a last minute decision but a good one, I think. Talk later 😉

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  4. Such a interesting post, my dear. So wonderful to see the garments being worn IRL. You MUST buy that gorgeous black dress, you and the dress do wonderful things for each other. And talking of wonderful pairings, how beautiful are your daughters together, and what a handsome couple you and Mr Meadowtree make!
    Hugs, my beauty, x.

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    1. Hello, lady and thanks for dropping by. Probably, at some time I will get that dress from Sarah. I know she has plenty of that cloth, so fortunately I can wait. I think that dress is somewhere around $230 so I will have some saving to do. It’s a good deal for what you get: locally produced, small carbon footprint, and a fair wage for Sarah and it will fit me perfectly (and I don’t have to make it!). Quite honestly, I’ve spend upward towards $100 on fabric to make something so I don’t have a problem with her price tag. but at the same time a big majority of my things are thrifted so I balance it out.
      And once in a while, I can get Mr. MeadowTree (Michael) off the farm and spiffed up. I think he has a good time in that tux of at least he puts up with it rather well!
      Hugs, back xox

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  5. Terri, I’m having tech problems with my current post. Apologies but some comments are randomly not posting, like yours, though the emailed notification comes through ok. Thanks for your sweet words anyway and I do recommend a leather skirt for instant sass! Hugs, x.

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