Sat 11/25 @ 10AM-6PM
Formerly located in the Waterloo Arts District, Dru Christine Fabrics & Design recently moved to Lake Affect Studios.
Owner Dru Thompson is celebrating Small Business Saturday with a special open house event taking place Sat 11/25 at the East 25th Street venue in Cleveland. In addition to showcasing holiday fashion trends, there will be door prizes, sweet treats and storewide savings.
CoolCleveland talked to owner Dru Thompson about the decision to move Dru Christine Fabrics & Design into Lake Affect Studios, as well as the need for sewing classes and fashion in Northeast Ohio.
CoolCleveland: Tell us all about Christine Fabrics & Design.
Dru Thompson: I’m a fashion designer by trade so the original started off as a place for my custom designs. I also sell fabric, teach classes. I have things from my own collections. So I made clothes and custom accessories for men and women. That was their original plan with the Waterloo location. As retail and business changed, I realized there was more of a need for online sales and more for sewing classes because people don’t really shop anymore walking up to a storefront. My online sales increased and the need for the sewing class increased. I needed a bigger space. I couldn’t find one on Waterloo, so I moved to Lake Affect Studio. It’s double the space at about 900 square feet.
CC: How has your business grown over the last five years?
DT: I’ve grown by being more secure in my talent. I originally was thinking I was out here as a competitor in the fashion design field. I realized I had a lot to offer as far as mentoring and educating other designers, entrepreneurs. Even though I like the creative part of design, I think I found I like teaching more. I didn’t have that. I had to figure out everything on my own, so I don’t mind helping somebody trying to figure out how to do business better or even being in the fashion industry a little bit better in Cleveland.
CC: So that explains why you host fashion classes and workshops?
DT: Right. Another thing I found is when I opened my business, I realized not a lot of people know how to sew. The traditional way they learn is from videos. So one of the things I learned that was needed in the industry was for people to actually know how to sew correctly to be able to help the industry grow. Other designers had the same problem. They couldn’t find help because nobody knew how to sew.
CC: Tell us all about the special November 25 event.
DT: It’s in combination with Small Business Saturday. It’s an open house. It’ll be an opportunity to tell people about the sewing classes. We have an open studio now. We have a fashion reference library within our space, and we also are going to talk about fashion trends and just give the people an idea of what the new space is about.
CC: When it comes to fashion, can you describe your style?
DT: Typically my style is very traditional with big classic silhouettes, but I like to use a lot of different colored fabrics and prints. I also use a lot of natural fibers for a classic design that people like, but turn it into something more whimsical with the patterns and colors.
CC: How does Dru Christine Fabrics & Design fit into the Northeast Ohio fashion scene?
DT: We’re trying to be a one-stop shop for designers, consumers and clients to start with us first. You’ll learn how to make clothes, learn how to design your own clothes. We’re also giving resources to people in the city who can do things we don’t do. Like a hat person or a leather maker, we have the resources and can tell you where to go if we can’t do it.
CC: It sounds like whereas previously fashion designers had to go to New York City or Chicago to be in the industry, nowadays there’s a grassroots effort happening in places like Cleveland.
DT: Yeah, thank God for the Internet and social media because that’s where I reach a lot of my clientele from other cities and states. Cleveland isn’t too much of a fashion-forward city, so you do have to be creative and think in ways to entice your customers too. You can’t just sit and make beautiful clothes all day.
CC: Wait a second. Don’t you mean Cleveland wasn’t fashion forward until Dru Christine Fabrics & Design arrived on scene?
DT: Hey, yep. There you go.