Designer Spotlight: Amu Cherian, LLC

Designer Spotlight: Amu Cherian, LLC

by Alex Kopish, July 2018

Amu Cherian is an Indian inspired brand whose products are handcrafted in the USA, have been recognized in London, worn in Africa, and sold as far as Australia.  Based out of Waukesha, Wisconsin, Amu Cherian is more than just a local brand.

Perhaps AMU’s memorability is due to the unique color, exotic print, and overall vibrancy of the clothing. The brand’s intent is to allow its customers to live life to the fullest and embrace every aspect of it.  It is clothing that gives the wearer confidence to stand out in a crowd regardless of size, age, or career.  The women wear AMU love to show off their personality through their clothing, to embrace clothing made specifically for them and feel connected to the designer who made them.

However, the self-taught designer, Ammu Cherian, is just as unforgettable as her clothing.  Her colleagues have described her as extroverted; she can confidently walk up to anyone, extend a hand, and say, “Hello, I’m Ammu…”  If anyone is qualified to pass on confidence through clothing it is Ammu.  Her personal motto bears a resemblance to her brand’s, to not have regrets in life.  She explains, “you can always get over failure however hard it is.  Regrets are a lot harder to get over.”  In suit with her life motto, Ammu quit her corporate job as a business analyst and started designing her own fashion line.  The best skill she brings to the job?  Being a self-taught designer.  “I believe it gives me the freedom to do what I want, the way I want to, without being confined within industry set rules,” she says.

And while Ammu’s clothing is modern and rule-breaking, the print on her clothing is done by hand block printing which is the oldest form of textile printing originating from India.  “AMU is my interpretation of my cultural heritage in a global aesthetic,” she says.  When women wear AMU, they appreciate the art form and the uniqueness of the outfit.  Local artisans in India hand carve wooden blocks that make up the intricate designs on AMU’s clothing.  It can take 2-4 days to carve a single block, the process of printing the design onto fabric can take 3-8 hours, and stitching the outfit can take anywhere from 6-36 hours depending.  This lengthy process is what defines AMU as a slow fashion brand.

Slow fashion is the deliberate choice to buy ethically-made, better-quality items less often.  It is a revolt against fast fashion and overconsumption in which purchases are unnecessary and trend driven.

“I care about running a responsible business, … I want to be mindful of the environmental impact a business can have,” Ammu says.  AMU clothing is made to be worn for a long time and Ammu follows other sustainable practices in creating her clothing.  The clothing is made from natural fibers such as cotton, rayon, and wool; everything is made to order to reduce the amount of wastage in production; and leftover fabric is reused to create the packaging for the clothing.  Beyond being a slow, sustainable brand, Ammu strongly believes in empowering women.  10% of her sales go towards helping women who have been sex trafficked or abused.  “I would love to provide jobs to women from a lower income background and give them a safe and thoughtful work environment,” she says.

As far as other goals that Ammu has, she strives to have a presence in retail stores, have global sales, and expand manufacturing capabilities.  With her fearless attitude and personal motto in mind, she is bound to meet her goals in the next couple of years.  Ammu admires women she finds commonalities with, women like Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Priyanka Chopra, Anita Dongre, and Gina Rodriguez.  Women who have overcame obstacles in order to create a space for themselves in their fields.  Ammu looks forward to being in the likes of these women without forgetting the strong women who make up the foundation for her brand.  “Be mindful of the significant impact you have as an individual,” she says with her customary voice of empowerment.

Check out her new collection on Friday, September 14th! Tickets are on sale now!

Designer Spotlight: SS Couture

Designer Spotlight: SS Couture

by Alex Kopish, July 8, 2018

Go big or go home, baby!  All the fabulousness of Las Vegas is coming to Milwaukee when SS Couture struts through Milwaukee Fashion Week this fall.  Nicole Nannetti, designer of SS Couture, says she is excited for the bigger venue this year which is the Potawatomi Casino.  No collection is better suited for this runway than Nicole’s Vegas themed collection, bound to inspire a vintage Las Vegas romance.

Nicole Nannetti started her what she thought would be a practical career of Accounting at Illinois State, and she was good at it too, winning a 1st place state Accounting championship.  But something inside Nicole kept tempting her to take Fashion courses at Illinois State and at Michigan State.  She just recently quit a full-time practical career to make more time to pursue her desired career in fashion.

“I started with making prom dresses for girls who couldn’t find dresses they liked,” said Nicole, explaining that inclusion fashion is her primary concern in her work.  If women can’t find dresses they like whether it is because of personal taste, religious reasons, body shape, or age, Nicole will work with women to ensure they feel comfortable in her designs without them having to give up any part of themselves.  “When you look beautiful on the outside, you feel good on the inside,” said Nicole.  She simply strives to make women feel more beautiful.

Most of Nicole’s designs are formal dresses, but she is currently working towards creating her own ready-to-wear fashion.  When not working not working on her own designs, Nicole is a busy, caring mother of three kids and two dogs.  She creates graphic design work for t shirts and infant onesies and she turns wedding gowns into christening dresses.

She scans Pinterest and other social media for ideas.  If she sees a design she is inspired by, she said she will just go for it, and reconstruct the design with her own twist on it.  When it comes to fashion, “just go for it” seems to be Nicole’s motto.  When asked who she looks to for inspiration, Nicole said she really resonates with Vera Wang.  Both designers create extravagant formal dresses, but can be found wearing a simple tee and jeans outfit.

In society right now, women supporting women is very mainstream and Nicole’s business is very much in line with this idea.  She said she gets excited looking for models who do not fit the typical model body mold and teaching them how to walk her designs down the runway.  Her excitement comes from seeing the model’s enjoyment of modeling.  It is almost every girl’s dream to be a model and feel beautiful in front of an audience.  Nicole is making room for women of all body shapes, ages, and ethnicities on the runway.  She hopes that the audience can look at her dresses going down the runway and be able to easily picture themselves wearing the dresses.

Check out her new collection on Thursday, September 13th! Tickets are on sale now!
For more information on SS Couture, visit their website!