Gunnar Deatherage. Photo by Clay Cook (claycookphoto.com).
Gunnar Deatherage. Photo by Clay Cook (claycookphoto.com).

There is a new effort underway to foster Louisville’s fashion scene.

A team of collaborators has created Louisville Bespoke, which describes itself as a community atelier that connects fashion with the fashion-minded.

The idea is the brainchild of Yamilca Rodriguez, a former Procter & Gamble executive and recent Louisville transplant. She hopes that by creating the community, it will foster collaborations among artists, designers and other creatives. 

Her collaborators include Gill Holland, developer and entrepreneur, and Lisa Kahl-Hillerich, fashion industry entrepreneur.

Rodriguez said that she has always loved fashion, and when she moved from Cincinnati, where she worked at Proctor & Gamble, to Louisville two years ago, she said, “I realized I needed to do something new with my life.

She discovered over time that Louisville has a “wealth of fashion talent” but few of them know one another. Rodriguez hopes Louisville Bespoke changes that.

According to the release, Louisville Bespoke “is the mind space that will serve Louisville with fashion collaboration, shared resources, fashion design classes and manufacturing opportunities.”

Three-time “Project Runway” alum, Gunner Deatherage, internationally known fashion designer from Louisville, will speak at Louisville Bespoke’s first fashion event in October. The event will be held at the Design Terminal, the newest acquisition of the Portland Investment Initiative in the East Portland Warehouse District at 1403 Rowan Street.

The Design Terminal will be the redesigned old Portland Station. The building is 13,000 square feet and one block east of the University of Louisville’s MFA building. Design Terminal also borders the west side of Waterfront Park Phase 4. The pedestrian bridge over the train trestle lands on the edge of this property

Image provided by Gill Holland
Image provided by Gill Holland

Partners in the development of Design Terminal include Holland, real estate developer Matt Gilles (who will be the person in charge of the leasing and development), dentist and real estate investor Ali Navigar, Shine Contracting principal Gregg Rochman, Nashville-based social entrepreneur Ryan Brown, and Greg Brown (owner of Ford Lincoln, Franklin, TN).

“We’re excited to bring more designers of all types to this hub in the future,” Pii Managing Director Stephanie Kertis told IL.

Rodriguez and partners are working toward building “a maker space, but for fashion designers,” in the Design Terminal, Rodriguez said. Much like other maker spaces, there is a membership fee based on how often you use the space.

Rodriguez said they plan to have a retail store and a training space. They’ll offer classes and curated events. “It could be a place for someone to get their start in a fashion business,” she said.

Rodriguez told IL that she will start working on the financial aspect of setting up such a space next week because “everyone is asking.” The maker space will not be complete by the October event, but she imagines that this event will help with fundraising.

A number of local designers and fashion industry professionals will be on hand for the October event including Amanda Dare from The New Blak, Olivia Griffin of The Mysterious Rack and Matt Multerer of Finespun Clothing. The goal, according to the Evite, is to “engage local talent and bring the fashion industry to Louisville.”

More will be coming about Louisville Bespoke’s first event, but save the date: Oct. 21.

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