Joeleen Torvick | Fashion Designer
Most Creative | at Night… | Rooted in Minnesota
StitchnPost | Do you recall where you were when you decided to become a fashion designer? If so where?
Joeleen | I was in high school when I decided I wanted to be a designer. I designed and made my prom dress my senior year and I decided I wanted to go to school for apparel design. I thought I wanted to be an eveningwear or bridalwear designer, but that quickly changed after I began my college program.
StitchnPost | How did fashion design come to be your career choice?
Joeleen | When I was a little girl I thought it would be the coolest job, but I always thought that nobody really does that. I just figured I would become a doctor or a lawyer, but I grew up and revisited that childhood dream and decided that I would try and make it a reality.
StitchnPost | Where did you begin your training to become a fashion designer?
Joeleen | My grandma was my first source of training; she taught me how to sew. I eventually went to college and the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I interned in New York City with a small house designer, David Rodriguez, and I also studied at the London College of Fashion in London, England.
StitchnPost | Has your business in fashion taken you beyond Minnesota, if so, where and would you do it again?
Joeleen | I have spent time in NYC, but once I started my own company, I’ve been rooted in MN. I plan to travel to the east and west coast for events when the time becomes right again.
StitchnPost | What is that you strive for when you are creating a new design?
Joeleen | I always keep in mind silhouettes that are clean and modern. I work with natural and sustainable fibers, or deadstock (meaning it is no longer in production and instead of throwing it away, they try to resell), and so all my designs have an ethical and sustainable component.
StitchnPost | Once you have completed a design project, what is that you hope you have accomplished?
Joeleen | Pieces that become favorites in a woman’s closet.
StitchnPost | What do your friends and family think about your business in fashion design?
Joeleen | My family and friends are very supportive of the work I do. Some support it financially, others support it in other ways. Not everyone fully understands what I do, but they support and enjoy it nonetheless.
StitchnPost | How long have you been a small business owner in fashion?
Joeleen | I will be in business for 10 years coming this December!
Sustainability | is about fabric | Fibers | Longevity of a Piece |
StitchnPost | What does the term sustainable and eco-friendly fashion mean to you?
Joeleen | Sustainable to me is about fabric and fibers and the longevity of a piece. I work with companies that try to be gentle with the environment when creating their fibers vs. traditional manufacturing methods. I also use deadstock fabrics which saves fabrics from entering the landfill.
StitchnPost | During this time of Covid-19, How do you keep yourself, safe, motivated and continue to design?
Joeleen | I work by myself from my studio in my home, so safety is less of an issue for my work environment. Covid-19 hasn’t really slowed down the work I need to do in my studio, so I keep at it, but it has created a hiccup in my supply chain. I’ve had to drop styles due to fabric shortages and become creative in other ways.
StitchnPost | Are your designs created with a small carbon footprint in mind as in environmentally friendly? If so, how do you strive to implement this into your work?
Joeleen | I try to be as environmentally friendly as possible. I keep all my fabric scraps or I donate them to another person who uses them for other projects. I’ve made mittens with scraps, others use them for crafting, one person uses them for yoga pillows, if anything can be repurposed I strive to do that.
StitchnPost | Where does your inspiration come from when creating your designs? And is there a specific time of day that you find you are most creative? If so, when?
Joeleen | Oddly enough I tend to be most creative at night when I’m somewhat relaxed and try to clear my mind from the rest of the day. My inspiration comes from many places: the environment around me, streetwear, looking for fabrics and prints. It becomes a culmination of all the above.
Fashion design means making people feel good about themselves.
StitchnPost | What would you say is the most challenging about being a fashion designer and small business owner?
Joeleen | Wearing all the hats is the most challenging aspect of being a small business owner. You’re being pulled in many different directions and managing it all can be a struggle.
StitchnPost | Name at least one fashion show that you have participated in within the last three years that keeps you motivated and interested in designing?
Joeleen | I participated in a show called Local Coterie a few seasons back. It was a runway show produced by another local designer and friend and it was inspiring to see it all come together. After the show, there was a shopping event where people could by the designs straight from the runway. It is a great way to connect with people and bring the work full circle.
StitchnPost | What does fashion design mean to you and how do you determine success when designing?
Joeleen | I consider success when I have repeat clients. My clients are the reason for success and getting to know my clients also helps me be a better designer because I get feedback on what works in women’s everyday lives. Fashion design means making people feel good about themselves. Something as simple as your outfit can change your outlook on that day.
StitchnPost | Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to a young aspiring fashion designer today?
Joeleen | Know how to reach your market. Finding your market and reaching them can be a challenge and most likely won’t happen overnight. Listen to the people using your product. They will give you invaluable information.
Fashion | Minneapolis