Today we’d like to introduce you to Brooks.
Brooks, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
At a very young age, I started creating fashion related objects with my hands, probably an influence from my Mother as she was a master knitter. Starting with high school, I took fashion inspired classes, went to Ohio State University, Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and finished with an Art/Business degree at Colorado University.
While at Colorado University, I had my first lucky break where I had total control of production and overseeing a small hands-on clothing company/retail store while the owners traveled for an entire summer. When I graduated from college, I came back to my home town and set up a ‘co-op’ with four other designers. I then began selling my one of a kind garments to Saks Fifth Ave, Henri Bendel and a small luxury boutique in Denver.
Realizing that wholesaling one of a kind garments was not profitable I had my second lucky break in the mid-1980s by leasing square footage inside a luxury boutique. My space was right across from the women’s shoe department which gave me high visibility and the beginning of my brand recognition.
After a few years, I opened up my brick and mortar location in the trendy upscale neighborhood of Cherry Creek
North in Denver, Colorado. I continued on my path in that neighborhood as a retailer/designer for 28 years. I felt confident enough to venture on to a private atelier and moved locations which are where I am today, 18 years later.
Since my atelier is by appointment only, I am able to control my creative time and my time spent with clients. I am always mindful to give myself space and time to do what I love which is creating luxury lifestyle clothing for modern women.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The creative process and selling of a product are never smooth. Since I’m a people pleaser, I sacrifice part of my aesthetic in order to satisfy my client to make a sale… I have restructured that process so that the choices I now offer are more refined and simplified. I need to be authentic and transparent, it’s easy to confuse the client if you are not entirely authentic to yourself, your process and your product.
Because technology has evolved from when I began I’ve re-evaluated the way I do things. Conforming to modern technology, learning how to communicate what I do on social media platforms, and being able to translate my designs from draping into a computerized system are all things I have struggled with. I ask for help along the way.
I am constantly learning how to adapt to modern society. It is always a work in progress which is challenging and I always love challenges because they keep me current. I sketch by hand and do various other techniques that require one on one attention to details.
I never wanted to give up the ‘hands-on’ approach to design, create and make what I do. That is what I love about what I do.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Brooks LTD – what should we know?
As a creative, I am capable of many choices. I first started out making men’s cowboy shirts which taught me technique. Once you have the technique design becomes endless. In the early ’80s, I created small collections of trendy contemporary women’s wear with artistic embellishments. When traditional wedding gowns were the only choice I came up with modern edged designs that became desirable. At the time, I thought to promote my brand as a wedding business was a good idea, however, it narrowed the focus and was too limiting. I didn’t want that. I create beautiful pieces which are lifestyle pieces more than for only for weddings. I’ve rebranded my company to provide the industry with luxurious clothing for the sophisticated women’s thriving lifestyle where it’s #funtobedressedup.
I like to define my product as a modern lifestyle women’s clothing brand with a whimsical edge where hand stitched details set my pieces apart from the masses. As a 29-year breast cancer survivor and advocate for early detection, I have had the opportunity to be the featured designer in fashion shows where survivors walk the runway. I am lucky to create one of a kind pieces for each of these body types and lifestyles as ‘no one body is exactly the same’. That is how I approach design. I believe that my experience as a survivor has allowed me to understand and be compassionate with women and their body types.
There is a global movement to address ageism, because of my longevity in the industry and knowing that everyone ages I have become active in this movement. Helping to have a voice in this global shift, I help people become aware that style is ageless and is about individuality not just what’s in fashion. I create sustainable clothing keeping in mind women’s body issues as we age. The length of skirts, appropriate exposed body parts, and hiding figure flaws are part of my design aesthetic. It is important for me to address this category of women.
I am most proud of the fact that I have been in business for so long. I am passionate about what I do and do not get discouraged when things go differently than planned. I’ve participated and learned about the ebb and flow of retail, owned a brick and mortar boutique, sold wholesale, & create custom designs. Along the way, I’ve acquired many special clients where I’ve made their ‘special’ dress and have established relationships that are still viable today.
Helping women decide on the perfect ensemble for their reason to dress up is my calling. I can see past their figure flaws and issues to help them be their best self. Women empowering women.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I would say that working directly with the end consumer educates me in what people want. I’m a listener and it helps me explore possibilities of my product with them in mind.
- Limited edition off-the-rack pieces range from $100-$500
- Custom creations begin at $500-$3,000
- Address: 1616 14th St. #1F (BY APPOINTMENT ONLY)
Denver, Colorado 80202
- Website: www.brooksltd.net
- Phone: 303.573.3801
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brooksltd/
- Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/BrooksDenverFashion/
Jim Bailey Designer, Hardy Klahold Photographer, Paulinemarieart