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 and Aspen Skiwear.
CEO Direct To Source
Holli Gibson is an apparel industry professional with more than 30 years experience. She is experienced in creative and technical design as well as product development and production. 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. 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 WWD to Earnshaws Magazine to 5280 and more.
Sports Authority (retired)
Donna is a 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 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.
Board Member &
Director of Customer Service MOR Kombucha
Matthew brings over 20 years experience working in a variety of industries performing sales, marketing and customer service roles. Matthew's passion is The Arts and building community. In 2010 Matthew started the Apron Artist Project to explore the connections between art, service and consciousness in monthly themed installments. This work and other community based endeavors can be found at arponartist.com. Matthew completed Colorado’s Business Community for the Arts (CBCA.org) leadership training in 2019.
Studio Manager &
Born and raised in South Africa, Cape Town. Moses moved to Colorado in 2017 where he started his sustainable brand/fashion line Killionaire.
Moses is journey of sewing began in 2020 and has showcased his brand Killionaire in Denver Fashion Week and has directed for local brands in Denver Fashion Week for 4 years.
In 2021 curated a media production named Succesex used to showcase upcoming talent in Colorado.
Moses is currently the Studio Manager for DDI as well as the Creative Entrepreneur Of Killionaire and CEO of Succesex.
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 began selling her designs to local boutiques. She 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 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 in 2015 and in 2017 found upscale clothing brand: KetiVani. It focuses on creating slow fashion, a small batch of attainable luxury, timeless designs with exceptional fit and construction. Keti also offers private consultation and classes at Technical Design and Patternmaking at Denver Design Incubator.
Michael is a passionate, fast-paced fashion designer and wardrobe stylist expanding his vocational efforts between Los Angeles, California, and Denver, Colorado. While not designing HAUS couture, he provides wardrobe tailoring and has collaborated on various projects for Refinery29, Gentle Monster, and Charles David Shoes. As the Co-Founder and Creative Director of the eco-conscious clothing line, HAUS, Michael is dedicated to sustainable production methods, bespoke garment construction, pattern making and event planning to benefit the community.
Leslie Beadles is a self-taught professional seamstress with 25 years of experience. When she was 10 years old with the help of her mother and grandmother she made her first skirt with a pink, green, and yellow tropical floral print with an elastic waistband that she wore in the Knox County, Indiana 4H Fair Fashion Show. Since 2011 while a stay-at-home parent in Cheyenne, Wyoming she grew her alterations business Beadles Needles sewing, repairing, and altering items like every day wear, bridalwear, and wedding gowns. She is also experienced in home interior items like drapery, Roman shades, and cushion covers. Leslie has worked with satin, jersey knit, beaded and sequined fabrics, chiffon, athletic fabrics, leather, and outdoor gear like tents and boat covers. She loves Iris Apfel, fabric stores, and sewing a piece of clothing she can wear in an hour.
Natalia is a new local designer with a focus on sustainability and upcycling. She comes from a long line of seamstresses and taylor's and is pushing to represent the hispanic community in the Denver designer scene.
Gus Tanaka was born and raised into vintage clothing. His mother raised him off reselling vintage clothing, which motivated and shaped the way he saw fashion and wanted to give back to the community. This has heavily influenced him into reworking old beat up pieces and making them his own. Being raised off of second hand clothing has made his beliefs in sustainably very thorough and strong. He believes every article of clothing deserves a second chance. He specializes in alternative clothing, punk/ goth are easily recognizable with his bold spider web stitch and use of negative space.
Born in California in 1995 and moved to Denver in 2001. His mother was a seamstress so he was raised around a sewing machine. Brandon started his brand FXXX$ in 2012 and started designing clothes for his brand in 2015. He started making pillows and posting his work on Instagram which eventually sparked collaborations with Vandy the Pink, Climax, Wallasauce, and Adult Entertainment. Brandon is currently working on building his brand and creating his looks for Denver Fashion Week 2023.
Originally from Illinois, Jordan moved to Colorado in her teen year. She was taught basic sewing skills from her mom as a child, however she didn’t start sewing clothing until 2016 while in college. In January of 2019, she started her cut-n-sew streetwear brand “Jae Jordan”. Since then, she has also produced a number of fashion shows and events for Jae Jordan and other brands in the Denver area.
This is James Powell. Many of his models and consumers know him as 'Scooter James''. He is the creator of an up and coming fashion brand known by the name of Gulosch Grmnts.
Powell sells what some would consider high fashion streetwear, and it all starts with thrifting. Powell has developed an impressive skill that makes his artistic process unique. James can take any piece of clothing or fabric and turn it into a fashion masterpiece. His passion for fashion stems from thrifting. "You don't have to have money to be fresh!" This declaration is what drives him. For him, being able to create fashion statement from used or discarded clothes is speaking truth to power. Unlike an mainstream brands such H&M or Forever 21, Powell gives the consumer the option to bring clothes or fabric to sacrifice for creation. This makes every piece personal.
Azura Trella is a Colorado native and self taught seamstress, first learning to sew at the age of 10. She attended DSA where she had access to sewing in her free time and first started establishing herself as a designer in 2018. She has taught and influenced many students and friends locally, and continues to perfect her craft. Practicing sustainability, she repurposes fabrics and turns them into one of a kind pieces. She makes everything from scratch and prides herself in never making the same piece twice.
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.
Maker & Recipient DDI Sewing Machine Grant
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.
Your Name Here!
Volunteer with DDI and add your story to ours. Welcome to the family!