Rhode Island Runway

Rhode Island often gets the short end of the stick with it comes to cultural reputation; neither our dining or shopping scenes get many props nationally, or even locally, especially when compared to powerhouses like New York and Los Angeles (although performing arts-wise, we are pretty awesome). So it might come as a surprise to some to discover that our little state churns out a lot of great fashion designers. Of course, we also have a little school called RISD to help us along in that area.

The thought was certainly a new one to me until I picked up this month’s Providence Monthly and read their cover story on local designers making a name for themselves. There’s Isoude designer Katie Brierly, who uses eco-friendly fabrics and dyes to create utterly stunning pieces and whose client base includes everyone from European royalty to a former Miss Rhode Island. The article also profiled Melissa Wilkins, a young mother and Canadian transplant, whose Bombshell Studios knits are gaining quite the reputation on crafting website etsy.com and at select gift boutiques.

Just this past week, world-renowned knitwear designer Liz Collins held a trunk show at RISD, her alma mater. Her gorgeously off-kilter knits are favored by celebrities like Bjork and Emma Thompson.

And don’t forget RISD alums Nicole Romano and Nicole Miller, both of whom went on to great success in the New York and world fashion scene after graduation.

I know I’ve just scratched the surface of the breadth of talent this state holds. So tell me: Who are your favorite local fashion designers?