#87: Lisa Ramfjord Elstun
Denver designer Lisa Ramfjord Elstun has it all going for her: A master seamstress with an eye for personalized, classic tailored designs, she also rocks an entrepreneurial business acumen that's the epitome of professionalism. A 2014 Westword MasterMind in the fashion category, Elstun's at work this year on creating a central Fashion Design Center Denver -- a community-building project that will provide production opportunities and national cachet for local designers. It's a big step for Elstun and for Denver; in her 100CC questionnaire, which follows, she details her plan.
See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Tricia Hoke
Westword:If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Lisa Ramfjord Elstun: Collaboration to improve my own skills would include:
Giorgio Armani, for his skilled precision in tailoring a woman's suit in exquisite fabrics.
Karl Lagerfeld, for evolving the House of Chanel while seeing it through a different lens yet staying true to the original vision.
Despite personal behavior choices, John Galliano for his incredible haute-couture designs.
Cordwainer's College, to create great shoes for stylish women who want a great pair to wear without the great pain of wearing them.
Leonardo da Vinci, to experience the diversity of his interests that led to innovations.
Pope John Paul II, to continue his commitment to promote world peace.
Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, to integrate her diplomacy and grace.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
The most interesting are the emerging designers who are serious about environmental impact of "fast fashion" and their desire to incorporate changes into the sourcing and production processes as apparel manufacturing returns to the US.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
Everyone's idea of "what is art?" is different, so I prefer not to crush an artistic voice. However, the one fashion trend I would like to disappear is neon colors for any apparel other than that required by high-visibility construction crews.
What's your day job?
I love what I do, so it's never a job!
Helping others succeed as the CEO of the Fashion Design Center Denver (FDC), The Revolutionary Garment District for small lines with BIG PLANS™. And my passion is for creating gorgeous gowns and business attire that enhances women's confidence and radiates their beauty within, so they love getting dressed up.
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Implement the full business plan for the FDC in the next three months instead of strategic implementation while raising capital. Full steam ahead would definitely raise the FDC's profile and catapult Denver into the "fashion scene and be seen" between the coasts. It would also bolster the economy by providing skilled training and employment, along with sales revenue.
When the FDC is thriving, I would figure out how to acquire an audience with the collaborators above, then take the FDC to the next level.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Create a fund similar to the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District for creative businesses to access.
Embrace the Mayor's Imagine Denver 2020 initiative. It kicked off in March, and the project appears to still be quiet in the media. Participating on one of the committees introduced me to talented people with so many great ideas that I hope the initiative doesn't get lost.
Promote the education of residents as to why and where to buy our local artists' work. The fabrication of fashion is a dying art with a science basis that is slowly coming to the forefront. Great designs do not magically transform fabric into a garment. Being cognizant of higher prices, which in turn support the stitchers, patternmakers, designers and their families, also ensures that the technical skills continue and our businesses flourish here in Colorado.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
Fill the FDC with fascinating designers, their projects, buyers and shoppers, who are excited that the long-awaited "missing link" is open and equipped for the business of fashion design, sourcing, producing and selling their brands in Colorado.
Raise $3M in working capital for technology to increase efficiency and productivity.
Host a fashion week in early fall to reveal what the FDC has been busy producing.
Keep up with First Fridays in River North so the public has a chance to stop in and see what is going on at FDC, and buy local!
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Who do you think will get noticed in the local fashion design community in 2014?
These two are tough for me to answer because of the abundance of creative spirits in this city and state.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.
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