Design

Denver Bespoke and Denver Dressmakers celebrate five years in the Mile High City

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Machete is a Denver native and Lianna K. hails from Pittsburgh, and the two crossed paths at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After finishing school and working in the fashion industry in New York for more than a decade, the couture-creating duo decided it was time to find a better place to do business. Lianna was working for Liz Claiborne and a corporate restructuring left her unhappy with business. Machete was feeling the same way, so they began searching for a place that could offer the nurturing environment and support the two small independent fashion houses needed.

"I think we moved to Denver for the same reason a lot of businesses move to Denver -- the outdoors, the weather and the accessibility of everything. It is easy to get around," says Machete. "Living in New York, we hardly were ever outside of the city. It's like that joke about how people never leave their borough for their whole lives -- which is totally true. Being able to see the mountains and big spaces really changes your outlook on life, and I feel like Denver is really a positive place to live."

Visiting Denver many times over the course of Machete's tenure in New York helped finalize the decision. "In a way, I had all of these friends who were artists in New York who were struggling to pay their rent and struggling to compete in the art world," he explains. "I thought that the struggle to make art and compete with other artists was really stifling people's creativity -- everyone was so focused on getting ahead that there wasn't the same level of focus on the art. What I saw in Denver was different -- because the rent was lower and because the competition wasn't all focused on a centralized art world, people were just being creative."

Machete is the person behind the Denver Bespoke brand, which creates custom, one-of-a-kind suits -- a relatively lost art in the world of contemporary fast fashion. Lianna K. works from a similar angle, creating unique gowns and other pieces of women's apparel. In their studio in Globeville, Denver Bespoke and Denver Dressmakers employ eight full-time seamstresses, all working on mid-twentieth century sewing machines combined with a modern-day computer system that stores thousands of patterns and custom details.
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Bree Davies is a multimedia journalist, artist advocate and community organizer born and raised in Denver. Rooted in the world of Do-It-Yourself arts and music, Davies co-founded Titwrench experimental music festival, is host of the local music and comedy show Sounds on 29th on CPT12 Colorado Public Television and is creator and host of the civic and social issue-focused podcast, Hello? Denver? Are You Still There? Her work is centered on a passionate advocacy for all ages, accessible, inclusive, non-commercial and autonomous DIY art spaces and music venues in Denver.
Contact: Bree Davies