Danielle Everine says fashion chose her.
She's been interested in it as an art form for as long as she can remember. As a young adult, she went to London to study fashion, but when she crossed the pond she learned about the dark side of the industry: starvation wages, dangerous factories and landfills full of unsold products.
Certainly, there had to be a better way to make clothing. Everine returned home to get a degree in fine arts from the University of Minnesota and pursue sustainable, local and inclusive fashion. In 2011, when she was 26, "Project Runway" recruited her for its ninth season while she was designing intimates for Target.
"That was a wild ride," she says.
Since then, Everine has worked for hundreds of brands, pushing for clothing made in the United States by well-paid and humanely treated workers.
In 2020, she started designing fabrics in her home studio and making scarves and dresses by hand. The work quickly grew beyond the scope of the average pandemic project.
She uses only natural fibers (think cotton, hemp, wool, silk) and direct-to-fabric printing that saves water and ink compared with other methods of dyeing clothes. To be even more sustainable, she works in small batches, making only a few pieces by hand to test on her website, then sending successful designs to local manufacturer A&A Sewing Services to match demand.
With her clothes available online and at a couple of local boutiques, including the Fitting Room in Minneapolis and Founder's in Edina, she sees her commitment to local materials, labor and markets as parallel to the restaurant business.
"People are getting more into the idea of farm-to-table when they go out to eat, right? What I'm doing," she says, "is farm-to-closet."