24-year old Denver designer Marissa Lundeen is a recent graduate of AIC’s fashion design program. She’s a hairstylist, designer and fashion blogger. As a contributing writer for First Class Fashionista, a Denver-based lifestyle blog, Lundeen has highlighted many talented designers and their amazing fashions over the years. Denver has a fashion scene on the rise with some of the most talented designers making it a force to be reckoned with, so Marissa has been kept busy blogging about the experience. Now, it’s time for this wonderful lady to shine and share her design talent. Marissa Lundeen is super excited to announce the launch of Tinkies Closet, a clothing line for dogs and cats too.
In this “Meet the Designer” interview, Lundeen weighs in on the fashion vs style debate, reveals who her favorite local designer is and talks about what’s next for Tinkies Closet.
Examiner Lonza Dennis: When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?
Marissa Lundeen: As a child I was constantly drawing; whether it was people, animals, or places…I was always drawing. I didn’t realize I wanted to design clothing until I started focusing more on drawing people. Within this time in my life, I was focusing more on clothing rather than faces or what activity people were doing.
It was during my sophomore year in high school when I finally decided I wanted to become a fashion designer. My friend and I took a tour at the trade school offered through our high school, Warren Tech. She was interested in gaining her culinary certificate and I tagged along. I learned they offered hairstyling, which is something I was also interest in. This is what gave me the idea to get my hairstyling license so I could have a career while in college for fashion design.
LD: You’re a designer, what is fashion vs style?
ML: That is a great question and I also think there can be a million answers to that question. In my opinion, fashion is the overall look and feel of an experience. Fashion can be an entire fashion show; from the lighting, music, food, drinks, guests, designers, fashions walking the runway and the energy of the entire room. Fashion is also what one wears when going to a family gathering to just meeting a friend for coffee. In other words, fashion is all round. It can be a piece of clothing that captures an experience, era, or story; but it can also be an entire experience like a fashion show, fine dining event, or even Christmas morning.
Now style is a little simpler in my opinion. Style is what you see when you open your closet to put together an outfit. It is what you like to wear throughout the year. I say this because style always changes depending on trends, fads, and classics that come and go in fashion.
LD: Who is your style icon?
ML: My style icon is indefinitely, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Both of these designers produce shows and pieces that are out of this world. I love the avant-garde styles both of these designers portray. I always look to these designers for inspiration when I have “designer’s block”.
LD: What is your favorite fashion era?
ML: I have so many favorite fashion eras. This is a tough question. I would have to say my favorite fashion era is the 1920’s flapper era. It changed the way women lived and were viewed. Women of the 1920s were no longer “gentle beings” who needed looked upon or looked after. Women from the 1920’s were gaining their independence, not only through their attitudes and lifestyles, but also through their appearance. These women were cutting their hair to shorter lengths and they were wearing boy-like fashions that, for once, didn’t minimize their waist.
LD: Who is your favorite Denver designer and why? You must pick only one.
ML: Wow, put me on the spot! First of all, I love each and every Denver designer I have met and each one is so different and unique in their own way. If I have to pick only one, my favorite Denver designer is Regal Rowe. The first time I saw the designs by Regal Rowe was during Colorado Fashion Week 2013. As soon as her pieces walked the runway I was in awe and she was my favorite designer that night. I love the design details she incorporates in her designs, her color choices, and most definitely the culture you can see through her designs. She knows how to accentuate the female figure and make any woman feel beautiful.
LD: You recently graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado, why did you decide to attend AIC?
ML: I decided to attend the Art Institute of Colorado as it was the only school in Colorado I found to offer fashion design, hands-on and not only online. Initially, when I was looking for a college to go to for fashion design, AIC actually didn’t offer the fashion design program, only fashion merchandising. I began to consider studying fashion merchandising instead but, after I thought about it long and hard, I decided AIC wasn’t the school for me, if that was the case. So I called to tell my recruiter I was no longer interested and he surprised me with the great news. They would be adding the fashion design program in the up-coming summer. I felt as if it was meant to be and everything had worked itself out.
LD: How has your educational experience prepared you for the fashion industry?
ML: The educational experience I received while attending AIC has prepared me tremendously for the fashion industry. Thanks to AIC, I know every step in the designing process; from the initial drawing, pattern making, construction, determining your demographic, technical design, retail and more. I feel so thankful for the education I received at AIC.
LD: What kind of clothing do you design and why?
ML: Currently I have been designing pet clothing for my new business called Tinkies Closet. In the past I have designed for women but, since starting my new business, I’m focusing on pet clothing and plan to occasionally design matching separates for people and their pets.
LD: How did you come up with the name for your clothing line?
ML: It was very hard to come up with a name for my clothing line,, Tinkies Closet. I thought of a few names before finding the name Tinkies Closet. So the name Tinkies Closet came to mind because my 4 ½ year old Silkese’s name is Tinker Bell, but I call her Tinkie for short. I threw in “closet” as she is my model and most of the items I have made are in her size. She also wears each item for a few days so I can make sure they fit and move well. Tinker Bell is so spoiled, she has her own little wardrobe especially made for her.
LD: How do you see your design niche impacting Denver?
ML: As far as I know, there are very few local pet designers in Denver. I feel I’m one-of-a-kind in the Denver area for locally made pet clothing. Colorado is a very dog friendly state and I’m very hopeful that my business will kick off well, especially here in Colorado.
LD: How can people help to support a small, local start-up business like yours?
ML: People can help support small, local start-up businesses like mine by spreading the word and telling everyone they know. Social media is very helpful in supporting small businesses. You can “like” and share the business page on Facebook, hashtag on Instagram, share on LinkedIn, share this article, etc. In turn, when a client purchases a piece from Tinkies Closet, 4% of the purchase will be donated to a local animal shelter in Colorado. By doing this, anyone who purchases from Tinkies Closet will be helping out the larger community, one item at a time.
LD: What’s in the works now for Tinkies Closet?
ML: Currently Tinkies Closet has been taking custom orders and making new pieces to help build the line. I’m very excited to start on an “ugly Christmas sweater” for a custom order. I have also decided Tinkies Closet will design for both cats and dogs, not only dogs.
LD: Where do you see Tinkies Closet in 3 to 5 years?
ML: In 3-5 years, you will be able to find Tinkies Closet pieces in local doggy day cares, dog grooming facilities and pet supply locations. I plan to stay local and on a smaller scale until demand is higher than supply. Then, I will start looking into production on a higher scale and hire a production team.
Everyone can follow Marissa, Tinker Bell and all the happenings of Tinkies Closet at http://tinkiescloset.com or on Instagram @marissalundeen73. For custom order inquiries, please email Tinkiescloset@yahoo.com.