Grand Rapids designer Jessica Swagman launches first women's spring fashion collection with style

Jessica Swagman's first fashion collection says spring and summer with fresh colors, her own fabric designs, and a smidge of sassy.

Swagman, 28, is a wedding and event planner who spent three years assisting fashion designer Sofia Sizzi prepare her Giulietta fashions for New York's famed Fashion Week. She called on that experience when her bridal clients found they needed their bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses altered, and that eventually led to her designing the dresses from square one.

Now her first women's spring collection debuts tonight at a boutique runway show at the headquarters of Lucid Group, 900 Muskegon NW, Grand Rapids, showcasing two semi-sheer blouses, two skirts, and two dresses, as well as belts, jewelry, and a scarf.

"The design esthetic is a modern take on vintage with a little edge to it," Swagman says. "I've used vintage colors, but keeping it more modern, muted colors, dusky aged colors. I bought the basic fabric, but I've dyed almost every fabric or I've created (with dyes) the print that's on it."

Swagman says the skirts fall at the knee -- one is A-line, the other slightly gathered -- and the dresses offer a knee-length skirt and an ankle-length option. Clothing comes in sizes XS to L and is available beginning April 18 at

While Swagman works with a seamstress to construct the clothing, she designs and handcrafts the faux leather belts, rose-hued metallic jewelry, and hand-printed scarf herself.

Swagman, who grew up in Grand Rapids and landed a psychology degree at Calvin College and a degree in fashion design at Grand Rapids Community College, says the fall fashion line is already in process, adding that she's "taking it one step at a time. Every season we'll gauge the progress, but I feel like it's the right time, and if I don't do it now I'll always regret not doing it."

The launch event begins with live music by Bennett at 6:30 p.m., with the runway show at 7:30.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Surekha Boeve and Andrew Ingram
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