Each year, talented designers are busy stitching and draping away over at the St. Paul campus. Sometimes, all that hard work gets them noticed in a big way — take senior Emily Bryngelson , whose breezy, girly line of dresses and separates, called Tender Cuts, has recently been picked up by Lyndale boutique Cliché. Bryngelson chatted with A&E about her line’s intriguing moniker and its origins as well as her jaunts as a Twin Cities model.
What’s your background in design? Were you a seamstress as a little girl?
I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever been interested in. I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. I pretty much taught myself. I had a few classes in high school but I really did just make clothes and that’s how I learned.
What was the first piece you made?
It was probably a dress. I attempted to make dresses when I was younger but none really worked out [laughs].
Can you tell me a little bit about your design aesthetic pre- and post-Tender Cuts?
It’s a cross between sweet and edgy. I use a lot of casual fabrics; I don’t really work with silks or anything like that.
What inspires you?
A lot of stuff inspires me. It usually starts with people. For instance, my spring collection one is inspired by London. I have another collection I’m trying to do for April that’s going to be inspired by bugs. It’s kind of weird, but I’m trying to take it into an awesome direction; to turn fearful into inspirational.
What’s your design process?
It starts with my inspiration, then I go back and try to find things that connect. I just sketch like crazy … then I start draping stuff.
Where did the name Tender Cuts come from?
I was trying to think of a name that would describe my style but be a little “off” at first, so you’d have to think about it. The first thing I thought of was meat, but if I have this awesome logo with it, then it’s clever.
How long have you been selling Tender Cuts at Cliché?
I started [working] there in May [as an intern]. I got my clothes in probably two months ago. I love it there! I love [owners] Josh and Delayna and all the other designers there are really great. I got to work with them a lot and that showed me how much fun it is to be a designer at Cliché and in Minneapolis.
How do you feel about the local scene? Who are your favorite designers?
When I first moved to Minneapolis, I really loved Annie Larson; that’s the kind of style that I like. I also love Max Lohrbach. He has awesome ideas; they have crazy stories behind them. I was a part of Voltage for a few years as a model — I love Voltage, but I think this year I’m going to try to do my own show in April. I’m starting to plan it right now with a couple girls. I’ve been talking to Kathryn Sterner and a couple other girls at Cliché like Niki English and Amanda Chaffin. We’re trying to put together something cool.
How about worldwide fashion designers?
I have been definitely loving a lot of London designers lately like Topshop Unique and Luella Bartley.
What are your plans post-graduation in May?
Hopefully by then I’ll have my name out there. I’m going to stay in Minneapolis for a year or two and work out my style, then eventually get a job overseas or in New York and work there.
You said you modeled for Voltage. Are you still doing it?
I do for my friends. I think in the past I was a model because I wanted to be in the fashion industry. I loved being a part of it. [The first year, Bryngelson modeled for Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman and in other years, she walked for Larson and Lorhbach, among others]. I didn’t really have an education then, but now that I do I’m all about the design aspect of it. I want to be the designer and have the models wear my stuff.
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