OUR STORIES

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

Jack Makovsky
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.

Donna Musciano
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.

Audrey Rupe
DDI Task Force, Owner London's Design Studio

Audrey has been sewing since a very young age and has always loved the process of crating something unique. She has a degree in Textiles and Clothing from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied the history of clothing, tailoring, draping and flat patterning. Classic, simple lines are favored in her clothing designs. After college, she worked for Mission Valley Mills to learn about fabric dyeing and the fabric production process.  

 

The call to move to Colorado spoke to her and changed her direction in life. Years later, she has returned again to the world of textiles and clothing with her business, London's Design Studio, where she creates patterns, garments, felted items, etc. Her passion for the creative process has been reignited by being back in the company of very innovative and talented people one meets at DDI. She is a DDI Task Force member and manages the Sew Squad, a group of local seamstresses, that is making face masks for the Governor's PPE initiative.

Amber Hofmann
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.

Terri Duggan
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.

Katie Shaffstall
Designer and Owner,
Kshaffstall Kicks
Savannah
Recipient of DDI Sewing Machine Grant
Holli Gibson
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. 

www.DirecToSource.com

Joe Badillo
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.

www.PowerSew.com

Keti McKenna
DDI Ambassador, 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.

Naomy Gomez
DDI Studio Manager 

Naomy has been surrounded by the sewing industry her whole life. Her father, being an accomplished industrial sewing machine mechanic since the age of eighteen, would be the one to fix a hem or create a dress for her, when one was needed.  This sparked an interest in her, not only for sewing but for creating. She always had projects she'd be working on, but she enjoyed drawing and painting the most.

She started working at Ralph's as a receptionist at the age of 15 in the summers and full time once she turned 18. Once graduated, she earned a graphic design certificate that pushed her through a promotion to the Social Media/eBay Store Manager for Ralph's. Now she works part time at Ralph's and at DDI as the Studio Manager. She enjoyed being around the industry and creative people, helping them with their designs or home projects. Naomy is more than excited to help people find this hidden jewel in the center of Colorado, and then make it feel like home, just like it does for her.

Cathleen Fagan
DDI Task Force, 

Cathleen's passions are flowers, food, fabric, and people - all together or at separate hours. She and her husband moved to Denver in 2019 from a lifetime in Ohio (minus 4 years in NYC), and connected with DDI shortly thereafter. She wanted to meet people that were sewing. 

Cathleen studied fashion marketing/buying in NYC, and stayed a few years to explore the workings of the fashion industry. Her career pinnacle was traveling the US for Singer Sewing Company as a marketing consultant, and creating a mail-order catalog of activewear.

The next 19 years she spent raising their 2 children on a 140 year old property in Cincinnati. As a DDI Task Force member she aspires to expand DDI's marketing and social media avenues while assisting student interns.

Marcia Lindeberg
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.

It all started with needing a mask. Savannah realized at the beginning of Covid that her family would need masks. She when to their closet and gathered old clothes, found a spool of thread, a package of needles and a mask pattern on YouTube. She began sewing masks, then more masks for friends, and her determination was elevated during this time of need. She hand sewed during the day, and through the night. Then one day she found a machine for sale, and started sewing. Two masks later the advertised "brand new machine" stopped. However, the mask requests kept growing. Her desire to help others is genuine. Savannah returned to hand sewing....until "I had a genius idea," said 16 year old Savannah. She though maybe a school would be willing to give her a machine since her family was unable to buy another one. She searched the internet and found DDI. When we heard Savannah's story, we were so happy to be able to grant her a machine that we had received as a donation previously. Savannah is sewing away, making more masks for friends and family.

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