Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives: Jil Cappuccio & Kirsten Coplans of SEWN

#21: Jil Cappuccio & Kirsten Coplans

Long before seamstress/designer JIl Cappuccio and upcycled-clothing designer Kirsten Coplans opened their South Broadway boutique SEWN, the two handy friends found ways to market their lines as a duo -- at gift markets and craft fairs and special events they threw themselves. Then the plans for their concrete joint business solidified, and they've never looked back. In fact, as they share below, they are now considering ways to expand their brand and concept.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Samuel Schimek

In a world where everything is throwaway, Cappuccio and Coplans make a case for turning old into new, through old-fashioned craftsmanship and a copacetic design sense. That's a tall order in the big-box jungle in which we live; we asked the entrepreneurial pair to share how they do it via the 100CC questionnaire, which they tackled in their usual way -- by collaborating.

If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?

We would love to collaborate with Nick Cave. He seems like a kindred spirit in terms of his extensive collecting of vintage. Especially the items focusing on the handmade, like his multitude of crochet pieces. We have incorporated vintage crochet and quilts in the workings of SEWN. The similarities we found with our store and our own personal collections was surprising and inspirational. After seeing his recent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, we both remarked that we had some of those pieces in our own collections. Collaborating with him would be a dream come true.

Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?

We are interested in Swedish artist Michael Johansson right now. He works in repeated patterns and orders a chaos of disparate objects to create seamless, cohesive art works. His work interfaces with the environment and often exists outside of the gallery space. His transformation of everyday objects into works of art is inspirational.

em>What's one art trend you want to see die this year?

Mustache iconography.

Continue reading for more from Jil Cappuccio and Kirsten Coplans. What's your day job?

We are the co-owners of SEWN. We are lucky enough to spend our days creating things for the shop. We love what we do. We love the process of searching out interesting materials that we transform into something new and handmade. At SEWN, we have created a working studio and spend our time sewing our clothing lines on-site. Every day is a creative day for us at SEWN.

A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?

We would expand our business to an empire of SEWN with multiple stores in multiple locations creating a place of massive support for independent designers. We would also take the opportunity to travel the world to find them.

What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?

Denver could focus its attention on featuring local artists in many different types of media. Getting the message out to people who look at different media sources for information could refocus an eye on what is being locally created. All types of media awareness could help creatives flourish as well as establish Denver as a place where it is optimal to be an independent designer. It could provide information about where and how to purchase independently made goods.

Continue reading for more from Jil Cappuccio and Kirsten Coplans.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

We think the Ladies Fancywork Society is making amazing artwork that is accessible to many different types of people in everyday contexts. Their work is lots of fun to look at, is often in surprising environments and is beautifully made.

What's on your agenda in the coming year?

We are looking to open a sister store in the Bay area.

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in 2014?

Samuel Schimek, owner of the I Heart Denver Store, has done a lot for making locally produced art and goods available to locals and travelers alike. His genius in putting his store in a mall setting that typically caters to big chain stores helps bring awareness to the availability of goods made by independent designers.

Visit SEWN online or on Facebook for more information.

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.

Do you have a suggestion for a future profile? Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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