Women-owned businesses make up Lincoln Park ‘Garment District’ – Duluth News Tribune


DULUTH — The women-owned businesses located in adjacent Lincoln Park craft district store fronts are calling their little block the “Garment District.” Feeding off each artist’s collective knowledge, creativity and inspiration — Kirsten Aune Textiles, Measure For Measure and Kristen Kaas Sewing & Textile Studio have found their neighbors to be a perfect fit.

Kirsten Aune, left, Darcy Zeppernick, center, and Kristen Kaas pose together in Kirsten Aune Textiles in Duluth

Kirsten Aune, left, Darcy Zeppernick, center, and Kristen Kaas pose together in Kirsten Aune Textiles.

Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“With the three of us there is something happening that we can capitalize on to make a bigger presence for the community,” said Kristen Kaas, who operates her sewing and textile studio at 14 N. 21st Ave. W. Kaas shares the space with Darcy Zeppernick, owner of Measure For Measure, a tailoring business that opened in May.

“The camaraderie is so amazing. We have a knowledge of what each person can do within our different specialties and it’s really fun to be able to draw from one another,” Zeppernick said of the newly stitched partnership between the shops.

Next door is home to the hand-printed contemporary designs of artist Kirsten Aune, as well as the Scandinavian folk art created by her sister, Alison Aune, and the hand-cut linoleum prints of her brother-in-law, Jon Hikel of Tight Squeak Press.

When Kirsten Aune first moved into her shop at 12 N. 21st Ave. W. from her previous First Street location, Kirsten Aune Textiles was nicknamed “Little Sweden” with its bright display paying homage to her mother’s heritage. Since opening in October 2020, it has branched out to partner with adjacent shop owners to collaboratively market themselves as the “Garment District.”

“There are so many people doing sewing in Duluth, but we are doing more fashion-oriented kind of work. We’re doing garments,” Kirsten Aune said.

Kirsten Aune Textiles is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm Kirsten’s original geometric and floral designs are created using hand-cut stencils. These are arranged in dynamic visual compositions using bright blocks of color and bold designs.

She also works with silkscreen printing to create textile yardage of repeat patterns for cloth objects. This includes wall hangings, garments, toys, table linens, handbags, lampshades, coasters, shower curtains, holiday stockings, ornaments, bracelets, hats, quilts, dolls, puppets, aprons, pillows, potholders, wallets, purses, face masks and more .

Kirsten said her contemporary style would appeal to those who appreciate the bold, modern Scandinavian look. “When people come here it is so bright and just makes people happy. It is what I’m drawn to. It did really well in pandemic,” Kirsten said.

Kirsten Aune looks over fabric in her shop Kirsten Aune Textiles

Kirsten Aune looks over fabric in her shop.

Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Kirsten has lived near the Lincoln Park District in Duluth for 17 years. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1992, she moved to the area to be near her sister, Alison.

An international award-winning art exhibitionist, Kirsten Aune now shares a retail space with Alison. The sisters grew up in a Massachusetts home that Kirsten describes as Danish modern. They frequented fabric stores with their mother, who loved sewing and had an appreciation for design.

Their Swedish mother had relatives in the Stillwater-Franconia area. When they were younger, their mother worked at the first Scandinavian furniture store in the cities in the 1950s and bought contemporary Danish furniture like butterfly chairs, Kirsten recalled.

Their mother died of breast cancer when Kirsten was 27. Being seven years apart, she and Alison saw their mother in different ways; Kirsten draws artistic inspiration from her mother’s contemporary side, while Alison is influenced more by their mother’s love for Scandinavian folk art.

While their work is very different, Kirsten said they compliment each other by honoring their Scandinavian heritage. Currently, Kirsten is concentrating on offering functional work.

“My shop is full of an array of printed merchandise, little totes, pillows, kitchen linens and home accents. Recently, I have been producing a line of children’s apparel and blank books in collaboration with my brother-in-law who is also a book binder. My shop is offering a few Sunday classes,” Kirsten added.

Kirsten Aune grabs a pin while she attaches a pattern to fabric in her shop

Kirsten Aune grabs a pin while she attaches a pattern to fabric.

Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Learn more about the artist at kirstenaune.com. She will host an Introduction to Screen Printing Using Stencils class on Sept. 25, 26 and 27. Register at duluthfiberguild.org. The first session will be held at Kirsten Aune Textiles and includes a close-up look at what the artist is creating for her shop. The following two sessions will be at her studio, a few blocks East from her shop. Students will learn how to cut stencils, learn about different inks, prepare yardage, and then print their own fabric designs.

Measure for Measure provides alteration and repair services for bridal, men’s suits and clothing. While Zeppernick specializes in tailoring, she has a strong background in costume design, pattern and sewing.

Throughout school, she was active in the arts and fell into sewing during college. After earning a master’s degree in costume design, she held an internship at the Guthrie Theater. Her experience includes working independently and commercially in the cities at SteppingStone Theatre, Northern Cap Manufacturing and Treasured Garment Restoration.

In 2016, she moved to Duluth for her husband’s job. Her custom projects have included anything from German Pomeranian costumes, to mascots, to the huge foam lips used on the Duluth film set of “Merry Kiss Cam.”

Darcy Zeppernick, of Measure for Measure, works on a wedding dress in her shop in Duluth's Lincoln Park

Darcy Zeppernick, of Measure for Measure, works on a wedding dress in her shop.

Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

In the future, she would like to offer a line of limited items inspired by historical garments. Among her favorite styles are Renaissance, Victorian, 1920s-era and corset dresses. “I love old clothes, and really old clothes are even better!” Zeppernick said.

Measure by Measure is open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 am-5 pm and is available by appointment.
Email dz@measureformeasuredlh.com or call 218-341-4583. In addition to her custom services, Zeppernick recently began offering hand-sewing and embroidery classes.

Kristen Kaas Sewing & Textile Studio

Inside her studio located within Measure For Measure, hand-weaver and textile artist Kaas can be found working in a variety of mediums, primarily weaving on a floor-loom, creating sculptural pieces, bags, clothing and rugs.

While some items are for sale, the space is not a typical retail environment, she said. Kristen Kaas Sewing & Textile Studio takes custom orders and is open on weekends or by appointment.

Kaas explores different creative options with weaving, and wants to be involved in the entire process from making the fabric to designing pieces. She enjoys finding furniture pieces to upholster with her work, and collaborating with different artists.

“I would love to create a studio that I can really explore all these ideas I have; how technology and weaving intersect. A space where I can design and develop furniture and different materials, and what their applications can be — whether it be clothing or interior products to be able to work in all the different mediums and be involved in a bigger product design process. A space to balance creative exploration with tangible products,” Kaas said.

Kaas lives in the upper Woodland area of ​​Duluth and currently works full time as an account manager at an upholstery company.

In her youth, Kaas learned to croquet, knit and sew from her grandmother. She went on to study fine art at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Although there was no weaving class, she took ceramics where she would dip textiles in ceramic and fire it. Later she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York for four years.

Kaas returned to the Twin Cities and met her husband in 2009. After moving to Duluth, she attended the Duluth Fiber Guild floor looming classes.

Kristen Kaas grabs for a spool as she works her loom in the shop

Kristen Kaas grabs for a spool as she works her loom in the shop she shares with Darcy Zeppernick of Measure for Measure.

Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“It was the beginning. It clicked right away,” Kaas said. “There are so many things you can study, areas and techniques with weaving. It is in every culture. It’s endless the ways you can apply it. With modern innovations there is so much room for creating. That’s what’s exciting.”

Now, she weaves using traditional methods. Kaas’ work will be included in the Lake Superior 11th annual 20/20 Studio Art Tour, a local artist studio tour along a nearly 20-mile route. It is located between Duluth and Two Harbors on Sept. 23-25. Additional information about the event can be found at lakesuperior2020.com.

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