This R.I.-based fashion designer is making her mark, pushing the boundaries on what we deem ‘wearable’

Zoe Grinfeld is a manner designer from Colchester, Connecticut that is now centered in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the Rhode Island College of Structure in 2020. Zoe Grinfeld

Q: How would you describe you as a designer?

Grinfeld: I navigate the space amongst earlier and current, encouraged by a feeling of nostalgia and reinterpreting recollections of childhood. I’m drawn to factors that are absurd, preposterous or surreal, yet attractive. Product exploration is at the core of my course of action, and I method a new design with childlike curiosity, shedding any preconceived idea of a textile or object’s meant objective.

How did you get started designing?

Expanding up in rural Connecticut with no stitching machine, I turned to incredibly hot glue and a needle and thread to hand craft clothing from objects. I held the first of several charity fashion exhibits at age 12, showcasing clothes designed from unconventional products this kind of as doll heads, board online games, and other goods I sourced at yard sales and secondhand shops. In my modern function, I’ve been revisiting principles from my early shows, even more producing childhood prototypes into completely realized collections. Treasure hunting for identified supplies continues to be central to my course of action.

Parts by vogue designer Zoe Grinfeld, who is dependent in Providence, R.I., and will be featured as a lead artist at StyleWeek Northeast on Thursday, June 16.ZOE Grinfeld

What have you been up to due to the fact graduating RISD in 2020?

When I 1st graduated in 2020, I moved back property to Connecticut and enrolled in some online business classes to assistance bridge the gap concerning my artistic training and my plans in the industry. I moved back to Providence in 2021 so that I could have an reasonably priced place to keep on my studio practice postgrad. I at this time do the job part time for Kent Stetson Purses understanding about the creation and business conclude of the marketplace while pursuing my brand on the side.

How have you improved as a designer considering that coming to Rhode Island?

My time in Rhode Island and my schooling at RISD have absolutely formed me as a designer. In contrast to other manner universities I utilized to which prioritize more commercial function, RISD’s attire structure system felt like a position in which I could actually nurture my more conceptual side as an artist. Acquiring the platform of StyleWeek to clearly show my layouts in Rhode Island has offered me a blank canvas to create everything I want, which has taken my work to some amazing locations.

What sorts of resources are you applying, and wherever are you sourcing them from?

I’m usually combining unconventional resources, classic and deadstock fabrics, and custom designed electronic prints. Some materials are sourced for particular strategies, and others are gathered more than time with the intention of working with when the suitable venture will come along. There are appears to be like in the existing collection I’m performing on that are made from supplies I have been keeping on to for in excess of five or 10 several years. My observed materials are commonly sourced via spouse and children and good friends, lawn profits, thrift retailers, and by Etsy and Ebay.

“I’m typically combining unconventional products, vintage and deadstock fabrics, and custom made created digital prints. Some supplies are sourced for certain thoughts, and other folks are gathered above time with the intention of applying when the appropriate task arrives along,” Grinfeld explained.Zoe Grinfeld

What can persons anticipate from your assortment at StyleWeek Northeast?

This selection is exceptionally significant to me. It started as a creative task to assistance me cope with the loss of the two my grandmothers in 2020 and 2021. Every single glance is loaded with a good deal of individual memory and which means and I’m really energized to share it with the planet. Following the demonstrate at StyleWeek, I’ll be doing an in-depth series on my TikTok diving into the inspiration and resources powering each and every search.

What is the largest obstacle the trend industry is facing right now, and how do you want to be portion of the progress?

I believe the field as a entire requirements to gradual down its pace of generation. There are mass quantities of clothes currently being created in the earth and it is alarming for the environment, garment workers, and consumers. Manufacturers require to end producing at these a speedy pace, and start out thinking additional deliberately about what items they are releasing and if they are definitely vital. I’ve expended the past two many years doing the job on the collection I am about to launch, and I experience as however getting that time to be more considerate about it has created the get the job done so substantially more significant and progressive.

A piece by style designer Zoe Grinfeld, who is primarily based in Providence, Rhode Island.Zoe Grinfeld/ Fileti Studio

Which designers or makes are you’re psyched about or look up to right now?

Wiederhoeft, Motoguo, and Christopher John Rogers. I admire the concepts powering every of their collections and really like their sense of playfulness. I employed to intern for Christian Cowan, so I’m also constantly thrilled to see the extraordinary layouts that he and his staff release every single period.

You went viral in 2020 in a TikTok video clip where you confirmed off a jacket that was created out of doll heads. You stated it took practically five a long time to comprehensive the glance. Why did you want to make this jacket and what was the this means behind it?

My journey into doll-impressed do the job began when I was in the sixth quality. I was bored in my dad and mom basement so I designed a necklace out of doll heads and wore it to college in my tiny, rural hometown [of Colchester, Conn.]. Seeing the way the hair of the dolls strung with each other created a stunning accumulation of texture and colour (as very well as the shock it gave to its viewers) is what later led me to producing my doll head jacket and other doll-encouraged items. In the close, the jacket took about 500 doll heads to finish. I imagine developing parts with product accumulations at that scale really speaks to the stage of consumerism and overconsumption that plagues our earth proper now.

What are your calendar year-extended goals? What about 5-year objectives in the field?

I’m releasing my new assortment at StyleWeek, will relaunch my online shop, and get portion in a gallery exhibition this upcoming tumble in NYC. In five years, I’d like to be pursuing my brand name and my creative observe on a bigger scale, creating customs for celeb consumers and building get the job done for exhibitions at main museums. My prolonged-phrase aspiration is to eventually be the creative director of a massive luxury manufacturer like Moschino or Schiaparelli.

A piece by style designer Zoe Grinfeld, who focuses on upcycled elements, in Providence, R.I.Steve Warren

Providence is acknowledged as the resourceful capital, but numerous designers and artists go away inside a number of years of graduating college or to shift on to a larger metropolis like New York or LA. What issues does Rhode Island encounter when building its manner industry?

Like numerous designers, it’s constantly been my dream to close up in a huge metropolis like New York. Nevertheless, Rhode Island has the profit of staying a a great deal far more inexpensive put to reside correct now in comparison to larger metropolitan areas. Still in the vogue marketplace, Rhode Island is small and there are restricted sources.

I consider the crucial to it is harmony. It doesn’t have to be all just one location or the other. I’ve personally located achievements for the time staying as a designer who life in Providence whilst taking trips each and every couple months to NYC for content sourcing and meetings.


The Boston Globe’s weekly Ocean Point out Innovators column characteristics a Q&A with Rhode Island innovators who are setting up new corporations and nonprofits, conducting groundbreaking research, and reshaping the state’s economic system. Send out recommendations and tips to reporter Alexa Gagosz at [email protected].


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at [email protected] Stick to her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.

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