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In the running
Local designers compete for the top collection at RunUp to the Runway ’08

By JENNA KASHOU

October 2008

Delanie Seaman


Milwaukee has become home to many talented fashion designers. With a cohesive community, this city once famed for its brewing is becoming a Midwestern cultural mecca.

To raise funds for two cultural gems, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the fourth annual RunUp to the Runway will showcase local designers Delanie Seamon and Amanda Ergen. These women are trailblazing different paths, but are champions of the same cause — to create an appreciation and awareness of the art of fashion.

The Creative Classicist

The veteran of the group and a native of Milwaukee, Delanie Seamon attended Mount Mary College. Assessing her career options, she knew that the corporate world was not for her, so upon graduating, she opened her own successful boutique in Whitefish Bay.

To be truthful, Seamon was not even sure if she could make a career in fashion. She learned to sew at a young age from her mother and grandmother and always considered it a hobby. While studying at UW-Milwaukee to become a speech pathologist and with one year left to graduate, she transferred to Mount Mary for the fashion design program.

Currently working out of a shop in Milwaukee’s Fifth Ward, Seamon specializes in custom wedding gowns, bridesmaid and cocktail dresses. She proclaims, "Fashion is art; when you wear a dress, it is like wearing a piece of art on your body." Her style emulates old Hollywood with classic, clean lines and a 1940s glam.

"The hardest thing about designing is making people think creatively and outside of the box," Seamon explains. To aid in the process, she has created a build-your-own-dress concept consisting of mix and match tops and bottoms to help brides visualize a more unique gown.

Her biggest challenge yet has been making her business profitable and getting her name out while trying to maintain an exclusive feel. Find her designs under the label Delanie Couture at Miss Ruby on Water Street or at www.delaniecouture.com.

Amanda Ergen


The Sexy Sophisticate

Amanda Ergen approaches fashion as an architect, constructing designs around her subjects and perfecting her skills along the way. "I am much more interested in figuring out how things work with hands-on construction — that is what I am passionate about," she says.

A native Milwaukeean, she attended the fashion design program at the UW-Madison, which allowed her to spend her last year of study at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Ergen worked at the Children’s Apparel Network focusing on technical design for a few years, but found there are too many designers and competition in New York City.

Though she is adamant about creating a full-time career in fashion in Milwaukee, Ergen recognizes it might be a slow process. She hopes to build up her line at home and make an impact on Milwaukee’s fashion scene before traveling with her designs.

Ergen calls herself a naturally inspired person, fascinated with the human form and constructions that accentuate a woman’s body. She finds no need to sketch her designs — she follows the flow of the fabric and uses draping techniques.

Specializing in knit dresses and leather clutches, Ergen is on a mission to flatter the female curves, because a body is not meant to hang a dress — a dress is meant to accentuate a body. She strives to produce casual but bold designs with fun details that comfortably transition from day to night. She describes her simple silhouettes as "flirty, feminine, sexy and classy without being one of two extremes ­— racy or frilly."

She produces mostly custom-made pieces, and many of Ergen’s sales come from word of mouth. Her label is called Mink; she sells her goods at Ess Elle Style Studio on Milwaukee’s East Side or at www.minkstyle.etsy.com. M.

 


This story ran in the October 2008 issue of: