This R.I.-based fashion designer is making her mark, pushing the boundaries on what we deem ‘wearable’


Zoe Grinfeld is a trend designer from Colchester, Connecticut that is now based in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2020. Zoe Grinfeld

Q: How would you explain your self as a designer?

Grinfeld: I navigate the space concerning earlier and existing, influenced by a sense of nostalgia and reinterpreting memories of childhood. I’m drawn to issues that are absurd, preposterous or surreal, however attractive. Product exploration is at the main of my procedure, and I strategy a new layout with childlike curiosity, shedding any preconceived idea of a textile or object’s supposed goal.

How did you start out developing?

Growing up in rural Connecticut with no stitching device, I turned to hot glue and a needle and thread to hand craft garments from objects. I held the very first of numerous charity fashion shows at age 12, showcasing garments made from unconventional elements this kind of as doll heads, board video games, and other goods I sourced at yard product sales and secondhand outlets. In my recent function, I have been revisiting concepts from my early displays, further more creating childhood prototypes into thoroughly realized collections. Treasure searching for identified components carries on to be central to my process.

Parts by fashion designer Zoe Grinfeld, who is centered in Providence, R.I., and will be highlighted as a guide artist at StyleWeek Northeast on Thursday, June 16.ZOE Grinfeld

What have you been up to given that graduating RISD in 2020?

When I very first graduated in 2020, I moved back again property to Connecticut and enrolled in some on the web company lessons to support bridge the hole concerning my creative training and my objectives in the market. I moved back to Providence in 2021 so that I could have an economical house to proceed my studio exercise postgrad. I presently operate aspect time for Kent Stetson Handbags studying about the creation and small business close of the field whilst pursuing my brand name on the side.

How have you altered as a designer considering that coming to Rhode Island?

My time in Rhode Island and my education at RISD have certainly formed me as a designer. As opposed to other fashion universities I applied to which prioritize far more commercial do the job, RISD’s clothing style software felt like a area wherever I could really nurture my extra conceptual aspect as an artist. Acquiring the system of StyleWeek to present my designs in Rhode Island has given me a blank canvas to make just about anything I want, which has taken my perform to some incredible places.

What sorts of products are you working with, and the place are you sourcing them from?

I’m commonly combining unconventional components, vintage and deadstock materials, and personalized made electronic prints. Some components are sourced for certain concepts, and other folks are collected more than time with the intention of applying when the right venture comes alongside. There are appears to be like in the existing assortment I’m performing on that are designed from products I’ve been holding onto for in excess of 5 or 10 years. My identified elements are usually sourced via family members and mates, yard product sales, thrift stores, and via Etsy and Ebay.

“I’m commonly combining unconventional products, classic and deadstock materials, and custom made built digital prints. Some products are sourced for specific tips, and other folks are collected over time with the intention of employing when the proper project arrives along,” Grinfeld stated.Zoe Grinfeld

What can individuals count on from your assortment at StyleWeek Northeast?

This selection is particularly meaningful to me. It commenced as a inventive project to support me cope with the decline of both of those my grandmothers in 2020 and 2021. Each individual glimpse is loaded with a lot of personalized memory and indicating and I’m incredibly energized to share it with the earth. Just after the exhibit at StyleWeek, I’ll be doing an in-depth collection on my TikTok diving into the inspiration and components guiding each individual glimpse.

What is the most important obstacle the manner industry is facing proper now, and how do you want to be part of the development?

I feel the sector as a whole wants to slow down its pace of production. There are mass amounts of clothes becoming created in the entire world and it’s alarming for the setting, garment workers, and people. Makes require to cease generating at such a immediate pace, and start out imagining additional intentionally about what products and solutions they are releasing and if they are definitely important. I have expended the very last two a long time doing work on the assortment I am about to release, and I feel as nevertheless getting that time to be much more considerate about it has made the operate so a great deal far more significant and progressive.

A piece by fashion designer Zoe Grinfeld, who is centered in Providence, Rhode Island.Zoe Grinfeld/ Fileti Studio

Which designers or models are you’re enthusiastic about or seem up to ideal now?

Wiederhoeft, Motoguo, and Christopher John Rogers. I admire the concepts powering every of their collections and really like their feeling of playfulness. I utilised to intern for Christian Cowan, so I’m also often thrilled to see the amazing styles that he and his group launch every single time.

You went viral in 2020 in a TikTok video clip where by you showed off a jacket that was built out of doll heads. You explained it took approximately 5 many years to comprehensive the appear. Why did you want to make this jacket and what was the which means driving it?

My journey into doll-influenced work began when I was in the sixth quality. I was bored in my dad and mom basement so I produced a necklace out of doll heads and wore it to school in my little, rural hometown [of Colchester, Conn.]. Observing the way the hair of the dolls strung with each other designed a lovely accumulation of texture and coloration (as perfectly as the shock it gave to its viewers) is what later led me to building my doll head jacket and other doll-motivated items. In the conclusion, the jacket took about 500 doll heads to complete. I imagine developing items with product accumulations at that scale definitely speaks to the stage of consumerism and overconsumption that plagues our entire world suitable now.

What are your calendar year-long aims? What about five-calendar year aims in the sector?

I’m releasing my new selection at StyleWeek, will relaunch my online shop, and get section in a gallery exhibition this approaching tumble in NYC. In five decades, I’d adore to be pursuing my brand and my creative exercise on a larger sized scale, designing customs for superstar clientele and generating function for exhibitions at big museums. My extended-time period desire is to ultimately be the resourceful director of a significant luxury brand name like Moschino or Schiaparelli.

A piece by vogue designer Zoe Grinfeld, who focuses on upcycled resources, in Providence, R.I.Steve Warren

Providence is recognized as the artistic money, but a lot of designers and artists go away inside a handful of several years of graduating higher education or to move onto a bigger town like New York or LA. What challenges does Rhode Island deal with when creating its fashion marketplace?

Like numerous designers, it is often been my desire to close up in a substantial city like New York. However, Rhode Island has the profit of currently being a significantly more affordable place to live correct now in comparison to much larger cities. But in the vogue market, Rhode Island is smaller and there are limited resources.

I imagine the crucial to it is equilibrium. It doesn’t have to be all a single location or the other. I have individually discovered good results for the time being as a designer who life in Providence though using excursions each several months to NYC for material sourcing and conferences.


The Boston Globe’s weekly Ocean State Innovators column functions a Q&A with Rhode Island innovators who are commencing new companies and nonprofits, conducting groundbreaking research, and reshaping the state’s economy. Send ideas and tips to reporter Alexa Gagosz at [email protected].


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at [email protected] Observe her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.





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