Midwest fashion Meets Milan

Emily Gartner Designs walks international runways
Evansville native Emily Gartner walks the runway in her September show in Milan, Italy, alongside model Patry Kama.

Making its international debut Sept. 26, 2021, at Milan Fashion Week, Emily Gartner’s “The Good Earth” collection consisted of 10 models strutting down the runway in pastel athleisure ensembles paired with abstract accessories.

Spending two weeks in Milan, the Evansville native and owner of Art Threads Studio: Emily Gartner Designs experienced a world many may dream of, but few actually see. She was invited to the show through a fashion recruiter who discovered her work on Instagram.

“It’s a dream come true, but there’s also some reality and chaos to it too, and you just have to be ready for all of it,” says Gartner.

A lifelong textile artist, Gartner, who resides in Indianapolis, started working for fashion and textiles houses in New York in the mid-1980s. She had a solo show in 2014 at the Indiana Landmarks Rapp Family Gallery in Indianapolis and more recently at the Indiana Fashion Foundation’s August 2021 Indiana Fashion Week.

For “The Good Earth,” she used her own pieces, bought sustainable items from other textile artists, or upcycled from dead stock inventory, adding her own designs and repurposed items while hand-dying each piece and even garnishing flowers from her own backyard.

“The fashion world has changed a lot,” says Gartner. “There are innovative things in the Midwest and Indiana that are just as nice as a designer in Milan. That really was my biggest takeaway.”

Flower Power


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