Factory Fashion is an inclusive fashion design workshop and sewing school for all ages dedicated to building your skills and making it fun. Emerging from the art collective group, Factory Five Five, Factory Fashion continues the mission of community enrichment through fashion and textile design instruction.
We are intent on disrupting the status quo, lifting innovation, creativity, and understanding to the forefront.
For the past 25 years, I have worked as a Costume Designer and teacher for the Theater Industry in Denver. In addition to this, I own and operate a substantial costume rental business, Nikki’s Costume Closet.
I freelance at most of the local and regional theaters and will forever marvel at how truly small the Theater world is. My education began with an Associates of Fashion Design from the American Institute for the Applied Arts in LA in 1990. This is where I learned the foundation of my core skill-set, from the top-most designers and skilled artisans in a highly competitive fashion region. From here I went to the University of Northern Colorado, where I received a BA in Visual Art with an emphasis in Art History and Ceramics.
When I graduated, I began doing wedding dress alterations and custom sewing for a private outerwear Designer in Denver. I simultaneously held a 3-year internship with the Dean of Education at the Denver Art Museum, where I learned to infuse my artwork with a new-found love for teaching.
Nicole Watts (she/her) is a freelance Designer and Technician. She holds a Bachelor of Fine arts in Theatre and Dance Design and Production focusing on Costume Design from the University of Wyoming.
Her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Production is from Tulane University, where she concentrated in Costume and Scenic Design.
Companies and Organizations she has worked for include The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Creede Repertory Theatre, Loyola University, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Black Hills Playhouse, Southern Rep Theatre, New Orleans Shakespeare Festival, Glimmerglass Festival, and NETworks Touring.
She has taught at Southeastern Louisiana University, Tulane University, and Angelo State University.
Julianna Aberle-McClellan is a fashion & costume designer who grew up in Arvada, lives in Denver, and has a 30-year career in theatre working in costume shops. She started custom fashion design in 2017.
Julianna holds her BFA in theatre technology from Stephens College, Columbia, MO, and her MFA in Theatre, Costume Technology from the University of Texas, Austin.
Julianna, the owner of Julianna’s Wardrobe, shows her collections twice a year with Denver’s Unique Week of Fashion, along with specialty fashion events, and was named Westword’s 2021 Best Recycled fashion. Her friends lovingly refer to her as the dress professor.
Julianna specializes in restoring, restyling, and redesigning vintage wedding gowns. She also builds costumes for theatres, custom clothing, and alterations for personal clients. Julianna loves teaching and would like everyone to see they can sew a straight line and so much more.
I started sewing at home with my mother at the age of 13, piecing commercial patterns together to achieve looks that were new to me. Eventually I ended up collecting more formal training in High School and College. I went to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and received my BFA in Technical Theatre and Costume Design.
Since college I have primarily worked in theatrical settings rotating between cutting and building costumes to repairing and maintaining costumes for the lengths of any given theatrical run.
I have had the pleasure of working with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company Since the Fall of 2008. In 2017 I had the great pleasure of working with IATSE 719 to sew for Disney’s Frozen. Throughout the years I have strived to continue learning and growing as a seamstress and back stage crew member.
Nico Gustafson is originally from Bucharest, Romania, but she has been calling Denver home for the past 21 years. Her love for fashions of the past started around 9 years old when she would take her parents’ brocade bed cover, wrap it around her waist, and walk around the house with a fancy dress.
Once she moved to America (with the typical one suitcase and $50 in her pocket) in 2000, life took over, but in 2015 she discovered the Victorian Society of Colorado which brought back her love for antique and vintage clothing.
It was about two years ago that she started sewing her own dresses in earnest, and that’s when her passion blossomed and became more of a lifestyle.
You can follow her on IG – @theVictorianRomanian. You can also join her for tea at the Brown Palace by taking her Airbnb Experience: Become a Victorian Lady https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/220679
Dr. Ritz has designed in the fashion industry since 1994, in cities such as New York city, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tokyo, Toronto, London, and many others.
Darlene, a Colorado native, returned to her home state in 2014. As a scholar/practitioner, Darlene continues to craft original designs for private clients, collections for the DCR Studios label, and inspire the next generation of industry professionals.
Sam Pietri is a graduate from Colorado State University with a double major in Communication Studies and Media Production.
Beyond her work with Factory Fashion, Sam is a professional model having walked in New York Fashion Week, Denver Fashion Week, Red Ball Denver, Denver Unique Week of Fashion and several other productions. “I believe that fashion should be for everyone, representation in modeling matters, and am an advocate for diversity in the fashion industry.”
Jason Thompson graduated from University of Northern Colorado with a Master’s in Music History and is pursuing a PhD at CU Boulder.
Jason began his career in fashion when he began performing in drag and found a niche market for his original creations, and sewing in 2018 when he started performing in drag.
Inspiration comes from historical fashion with a particular interest in the evolution in cut, construction, and silhouette.
Jen Mattioni began her career in the hospitality industry 20 years ago in her hometown of Philadelphia, where she began slinging Schuylkill Punch at the Manayunk Brewery. She then moved to Ithaca, NY to earn a B.A. in English and a B.A. in writing from Ithaca College, while muddling Blueberry Mojitos and serving Grass-fed burgers at Stella’s in Collegetown.
After graduation, Mattioni began managing Stella’s and sister restaurant, Olivia, quickly realizing her strong connection to serving the community via hospitality and decided to pursue hospitality as a lifelong career.
Since moving to Denver in 2008, Mattioni has assisted in opening, managing, and creating beverage programs at several restaurants and bars, including Leña, Prohibition, Mezcal, Central Bistro, The Walnut Room, Ash’Kara, and Q House, where the team received a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2019 and was included in 5280 magazine’s list of 25 best restaurants in Denver. Her cocktails from the above beverage programs have been featured in NY Times Magazine, Westword, 5280 Magazine, Dining Out, and 303 Magazine.
Jen is a Colorado FIVE alum for years 2019, 2020, and 2021 in which the team served a 5 course dinner at The James Beard house in NY and Jen paired her cocktails with the chef’s courses in addition to attending and pairing cocktails for events like Crested Butte Food and Wine and Breckenridge Food and Wine.
Currently she is the Beverage Editor and contributing writer for Dining Out Magazine, and Secretary for the Colorado Bartender’s Guild in addition to her role here.
Mattioni spends her free time eating as many breakfast sandwiches as humanly possible, creating oddball cocktails with ingredients she’s never used, fiending for dumplings, and reading too many books simultaneously.
My career in bartending goes all the way back to being a cocktail server at 6 years old for my mom’s elaborate parties we would throw for friends and family.
Most people know me as the “Jack of all trade” due to my go-getting attitude and persistence that I can learn any new trick or trade. In my 3 years of being in Denver I have elevated my bartending career to new areas and plan on using all my knowledge to be successful here at Factory Fashion and Sky Bar.
Make sure to say “Hi” to the cowboy behind the bar when you come in for a delicious cocktail.