Written by Carina Vo
At South Florida’s heart of art and creation, DesignLab nurtures and encourages aspiring designers to pursue fashion through educating participants about methods of design and bringing their stylist dreams to life.
Founded by Angie Cohen, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and a former Calvin Klein partner, and featured at Wynwood’s Art Basel, DesignLab has been running for almost five years to this day, operating on the approach “learn to sew as you go.” Cohen created DesignLab in 2010 for the sake of making fashion design more accessible and attainable to all.
Classes, lasting for two hours each, are organized by age for younger participants from “Beginner Sewers” to “Divas” to “Fashionistas” to Teen Only Programs, while adults of all ages are put into one class. Aspiring DesignLabbers can even sign up for “camp” programs as well as numerous other programs, such as the Mommy and Me class. DesignLab attracts about 50 students a week to their classes, which cost about $40 to $45 each.
Students as young as age 6 are taught to cut and measure and sew but also how to incorporate more modern technology into their creative process. At age 10, DesignLab student Zoe Goldemberg uses a 3D printer to create embellishments for her designs, while Ariel Weinberg, age 11, inlays her designs with LED lights.
At the same time, the Recycle It! class at DesignLab assists students in turning their old clothes into trendier wear. Such innovative processes would be much more difficult without DesignLab, let alone without its five fashion mentors.
DesignLab even takes a rather philanthropic approach to fashion – from putting on fashion shows at schools to working with the Sewing for Smiles foundation, the Lab aims to make fashion a force. A fashion show put on at Ruth K. Broad K-8 was successful in boosting the self-esteem and promoting the creativity of students who participated. Young students’ designs have been featured in local organizations’ fundraisers as well.
With DesignLab, Angie Cohen has invigorated a surge in creative fashion in South Florida, inevitably encouraging the emergence of the local style scene.
Learn more about DesignLab at www.designlabmiami.com