DDI exists because of an amazing community from current and past members to volunteer staff, teachers and supporters - find out who they are and a little bit about their stories here
Chairman of the Board
EVP, Ralph's Industrial Sewing
Jack serves as the Executive Vice President for Ralph’s Industrial Sewing, the region’s largest industrial sewing supply company. Ralph’s has been a long figure in the Denver community, opening for business more than 30 years ago. Ralph’s supplies top of the line industrial equipment to the sewing industry as well as brokers used equipment and provides repair and maintenance services. Prior to serving the sewing and design community at Ralph’s, Jack worked as a production manager for several high profile apparel companies, including his role as international operations manager for Op.
Co-Founder, Board Member, Owner LRE Couture
Lisa Ramfjord Elstun is the CEO of LRE Couture & Design, LLC, an award-winning couture design business for the past 6 years and has 30+ years of professional design and sewing experience. In 2007, she received an FGI- Denver Rising Star in the Bridal and Lingerie category. She currently serves on the Denver Design Incubator Board of Directors and is the chair of the Curriculum Committee. Since 1990, Lisa has been an associate for Education Management and Accreditation Consulting (EMAC). Her other career accomplishments include Front Range Community College Respiratory Care Program Director for 15 years, Faculty Senate President for 2 yrs, Department Chair for 4 yrs, and Chair of Student Academic Achievement committee for NEA accreditation process while faculty at FRCC. Lisa has completed select coursework in the MSM in Organizational Management degree program at Regis University, Denver, CO, and she holds a BS in Trades and Industry with Adult Technical Ed from Colorado State University.
Treasurer, Head of Workshop Committee, Board Member, Sr. Buyer Sports Authority (retired)
Veteran sporting goods retail buyer with over 35 years of experience buying softgoods, hardgoods, and footwear. Experience in buying branded, private label, and SMU’s (special mark ups) in men’s, women’s and kids categories. Strong business relationships with major sporting goods venders including Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Soffe, Champion, Columbia and many more. Managed all aspects of the business from open-to-buy budgets to inventory balancing to markdowns and buy out plans. Expert skills in managing seasonal category buys, new business implementations and growth, and in store retail merchandising strategies. Also proficient in vendor negotiations, visual merchandising, logistics, advertising/marketing, P&L management, and assortment planning.
Board Member, Owner Chelsea Turano Designs
Chelsea is a multi-talented designer who has her fashion eduction from Emily Griffith Technical College. She started out as a member of DDI while perfecting her craft and her collection, then went on to become a volunteer staffer and finally Studio Director. Chelsea has now joined DDI's Board of Directors and brings her energy and grace to DDI.
Studio Ops Manager. Owner Ella Leather Bags
Susan Provda has been an Artist, Jeweler, Metalsmith and studied in New Paltz, NY. She had a successful business in NYC and her work has been shown in many Museums including Brooklyn and High Museums. She has shown in some of the finest galleries across the states including Arron Faber Gallery, American Crafts Gallery. Work has been published in Delta Sky Magazine, Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Hudson Valley, Atlanta Journal, NY Times, and NY Post for some.
Recently she has become proficient in Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting. It involves using heated beeswax with oil paints. Once liquid it applied to a paper or other surfaces, scanned and printed on silk or canvas.
Susan recently moved to Denver where she found Denver Design Institute where she is creating a line leather bags and backpacks using encaustic printed material for the inside of her bags.
DDI Designer In Residence, Owner SheShorts
It’s the start of making Women feel wonderful and sexy wearing shorts on the Pickleball court. This is my one woman company called SheShorts. Some call it a Start Up, I call it the beginning of something special for athletic Women. Look no further for a way to feel, act and even play better, whether it be on the Pickleball court or out to lunch. I started SheShorts because I was unable to find any Sport Shorts for women. I have now designed my own style of Woman’s Shorts made of vibrant cool fabric, longer length to move around the pickleball court and a little lace added for sexiness (nothing wrong with that). This is my one woman company called SheShorts.
Designer and Instructor, The Fuzz Knitting Company
Amber has been designing apparel for 15+ years for major NYC-based fashion retailers including Calvin Klein, Ann Taylor, GAP, and Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne, and boasts expertise in designing all ready-to- wear product categories including soft dressing, knits, sweaters, denim and sportswear. She has brought her extensive expertise to Colorado as she focuses on her young family. She aims to teach knitwear design and development to designers of any age, to make inspiring and sustainable fibers more readily available to home machine knitters, and generally spark new love for machine knitting and knitwear design here in Colorado.
Co-Founder, Vice-Chair of the Board, Partner - Direct To Source
Holli Gibson is an apparel industry professional with more than 20 years experience in women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, in multiple product categories; cut and sew as well as seamless. She is experienced in creative and technical design as well as product development for branded, private label and licensed apparel products. She has served as design director and creative director as well as vp of production in both large companies as well as startups. She has experience in domestic and international production for knits and wovens in more than 20 countries. Holli was a founder and serves on the board of the Denver Design Incubator, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting sewn products entrepreneurs in Colorado. She is also a former instructor at Emily Griffith Technical College, teaching the Business of Fashion and Production Patternmaking. Her awards include the Rising Star Award from Fashion Group International, 303 Magazine Award for supporting the fashion industry in Denver and Lifestyles Intimate Apparel Design Award. She has been covered in the media in publications ranging from Earnshaws Magazine to 5280 to Hudson’s to WWD and more.
Co-Founder, Board Member, Instructor CSU
Carol Engel-Enright is a design instructor and internship coordinator at Colorado State University in the Department of Design and Merchandising. She holds degrees in fashion design from Kansas State University and Fashion Institute of Technology. Carol has her Master of Science in Design and Merchandising and is currently working on her PhD in Education incorporating Design Entrepreneurship with an emphasis on social sustainability. Before becoming an educator she worked as an assistant designer in New York City, owned a boutique in Lawrence, Kansas, was department manager and assistant buyer for the Denver department store and Montaldos women’s designer department store. She has designed costumes for Boulder Dinner Theater and free-lanced as a couture designer of apparel and interiors. Her juried awards include selection as finalist in Threads Magazine Design Challenge; Best of Show in T.ART, Textile Art Exhibit, Colorado State University; 3rd Place in Thai Silk Design Contest, Thailand Royal Peacock Sericulture Institute; and Fiber Arts Live Gallery, International Textile and Apparel Association.
Board Member, Owner of Ralph's Industrial Sewing
Joe has been a long time figure in the Denver industry. Ralph's Industrial Sewing was established by his father in 1975 and the tradition is carried on by the family, Joe, his sister Peggy and their mom Irma. DDI is so thankful for their continued support.
Studio Director, Owner Ketivani
Keti's original career was as a geophysicist, but she always had a love of fashion and sewing since she was a little girl growing up in Tbilisi, Georgia. She immigrated to New York City in the early 90's and soon began selling her designs to local boutiques in the Forest Hills neighborhood of the city. She then established herself as a professional custom clothier while completing her fashion degree at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. She worked as a patternmaker, fit model, designer and technical design manager for a wide range of companies including Federated, Tommy Hilfiger, Anne Klein, Tahari and Joe Fresh. She frequently traveled to overseas factories to train representatives in craftsmanship and garment construction as well as to troubleshoot production problems.
She moved to Denver, Colorado with her fiancée in summer of 2015 for a change of pace and enjoy what Colorado has to offer. In Denver, she established her own business: Ketivani. She designs and produces upscale clothing for specialty stores and offers classes in sketching, draping and patternmaking at her office and also at Denver Design Incubator (DDI). Most recently, Keti collaborated with Terri Garbarini to design and produce skirts and dresses, which are successfully selling at the Garbarini store in Cherry Creek. She is also involved in product development for Becons Yoga and many other projects.
DDI Instructor, Owner The Vendor Collective
Georginne is a multi passionate entrepreneur, a fashion designer and creator of The Vendor Collective. The Vendor Collective provides vending opportunities for artists to inspire and expand their craft. She loves building community, hosting events and coordinating vendors for events and festivals. She is honored and grateful to have the opportunity to share her expertise with the DDI community!
DDI Designer In Residence, Owner Forest & Dahlia
Forest & Dahlia is the vision of a young girl, born in Denver Colorado in the early 1960's, who seemed to have been born with a love for dresses and color. After a career in the financial industry and raising a family, Marcia was finally able to pursue her dream and passion. The" Aldene " dress is the cornerstone of the company and is based on a dress that Marcia's mother purchased in Hawaii in the late 1960's. Marcia uses bright, bold fabrics along with her proprietary patterns to hand craft dresses and accessories with a mod flair. The result is a wow that doesn't stop, day or night and takes you from poolside to party.