Category Archives: Behind-the-scenes

(((thanks))) Fashion Institute Midwest Grant

I haven’t been sharing too much news from my studio lately because I have been up to my eyeballs in the never-ending prototyping process for my first leather accessories!  I want take a minute from the tedium of fine-tuning patterns to publicly thank the Fashion Institute Midwest for allowing me to really dive into leather working.  Last year I was awarded grant money that gave me the final financial boost to purchase a foot press for my leatherworking studio.  This was the big equipment purchase I had been wishing/hoping/dreaming about for SO long. It basically allowed me to cross over from DESIGNING leather items and creating prototypes to actually PRODUCING leather items!

New foot press for my leather working studio.

My studio is still nowhere near being fully equipped but I have been investing bit by bit into tools and equipment.  It’s so great to have an organization in Omaha that offers support to local designers. I am excited to continue working with this organization.  Thanks again, FIM!

Pretty new equipment.




Fashion Institute Midwest:

(For curious leatherworkers: my press is from Weaver Leather.)


Tags: , , , , , ,

In progress shots: Making a Half-Helmet

Fashion Week started yesterday here in Omaha.  I’ve shown a collection at Omaha Fashion Week at least once a year EVERY year since I’ve moved here.  It’s making me a little sad that I’m not part of the frenzy this time around.  I tried to figure out a way I could show a collection at fashion week AND start all these new exciting leatherworking projects AND pay the bills, but something had to go.

Turns out, maybe I can’t do it all. (Denial! DENIAL! Go back into denial! DO ALL THE THINGS!)

Since I am a little sad and reminiscent, I have been looking through all the photos I have from last year’s Omaha Fashion Week where I showed my monoprismatic collection in the Avant Garde Show. This year’s Avant Garde themed runway show is tonight, so I thought I’d get in the spirit and share some behind-the-scenes shots of me making the studded and feathered half-helmet from my monoprismatic line.

FIguring out the sculpted feather shapes and patterns.

Deciding on feather placement.

Stretching and molding the buckram.

Vintage woven fabric. Delicious!

Prepping a sculpted feather for bias trim. I’m not afraid of a bit of hand stitching!

Feathers are stitched. Helmet is studded.  Ready!

Who doesn’t love chain tassel detail?

My half-helmet hits the runway!  (Photo: g thompson higgins gallery. Model: Dawaune Hayes. Makeup: Sirens at the Loft.)

Happy Avant Garde Night tonight, Omaha!!!

Yellow Studded Half Helmet by Audio Helkuik available here:


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Overdressed” by Elizabeth L. Cline

I finished reading “Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” a few weeks ago and I’m sad it took me this long to get to it.  Months ago, I listened to an interview with the author, Elizabeth Cline, on NPR and I was instantly intrigued.  I HAD to squeeze some reading time into my disgustingly busy schedule.

I’ve always been turned off by the idea of mass-produced clothing and assumed the author of a book that highlights all of the problems with fast fashion would be of the same mindset.  Wrong.  What’s interesting is Elizabeth Cline confesses to being a “former fast-fashion junkie.”  She realized her home was full of cheaply made garments that she had blindly purchased because shopping for cheap clothing had become a habit instead of a need or even a treat.  She decided to dive into the world of garment production to find out its social, financial and environmental repercussions.

“Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” (shout out to the Omaha Public Library!)

I’ve been doing fashion design for years and years and never before have I really been able to step back and view the fashion world, garment production, my closets, and my own personal shopping habits all at once.  Before reading this book, all of these different things had a bit of a disconnect from one another, even though that seems silly.  I mean, I know that sewing garments and fashion and shopping and closets full of clothes are linked. Obviously.  But I finally had that a-ha! moment where you can just see it all at once.  This book made me want to LOVE every clothing item I own.  I don’t want to just have clothes.  I want to have things I love to wear.  Garments that are special and well-made.  I want things that make me both feel good and look good and that will last for a long, long time.

Several times while reading this book I went to my closets and would pull things out and put them in a donation pile.  I kept finding things in my closet that I just HAD.  I didn’t love them. I didn’t really look great it them. They weren’t constructed great and the fabric wasn’t anything to brag about.  They went away.  Alot of them.  I shop differently now, too.  I only buy something if it feels good and looks good and will continue to do so.  Sure, I still have plenty of cheap clothing in my closet that I just couldn’t part with (yet), but I feel like I’m ready to make better decisions for my wardrobe.

The other thing that this book helped me do was realize just what I’m up against.  I’m a small clothing and accessories brand.  I make things start-to-finish, one at a time with my own hands in my small studio located in America.  A lot of consumers aren’t interested in paying me what it takes to create high quality fashion this way.  Ok, MOST consumers aren’t interested in paying me what it takes to create high quality fashion this way.  Luckily, my brand, Audio Helkuik, is not interested in how MOST consumers are shopping.  You want interesting high-quality handmade garments and accessories? I’m here for you.  Not interested in that?  That’s fine.  Forever 21 and H&M are stocked full of garments.  I’d recommend you read this book though.  It highlights some of their design and business practices.  Verrrrrrry interesting.

“Overdressed” by Elizabeth L. Cline:

Interview with Elizabeth Cline on NPR:


Tags: , , , , ,

Studio/Skill Upgrade: Leatherworking

I’ve been putting this off for years.  I’ve always wanted to work with leather, but I have talked myself out of it over and over.  “You don’t need any MORE tedious crafts to do by hand.”  “You have never done this before.  It takes years and years to learn this craft.”  “You will mess up.  Leather is expensive.”  “Don’t kill the animals.”  etc…..

I love leather. I don’t want to, but I do.  I absolutely do.

I have quite the garment weight leather stash from years of collecting thrifted garments, friends’ worn out leather coats, scraps from other people’s leather projects, etc.  I started to actually use it by incorporating small leather accents into my designs.  It’s not enough.  I want to design with more leather.  I’ve decided to really jump in and order a couple leather sides in a harness weight and make some all leather items.  Fine leather goods.  Harnesses and hardware.  I’m totally in.

The problem?  My studio is set up for creating garments and accessories out of fabric.  I can handle garment weight leather from my stash, but I want to make things out of heavyweight leather.  Time to start collecting leather tools!

My first leatherworking tool: a round knife.

The other problem?  Yeah, so I’ve never actually made anything out of really heavyweight leather so there’s that whole learning curve thing ahead of me.  Luckily, I’m really used to being self-taught and trying things I’ve never done before (aka: almost the exact definition of my costuming career) so no big deal.  I’ll suck for awhile and then I won’t (fingers crossed).

Bridles from a friend to inspect, disassemble and use for parts.

I’m trying to get my hands on all sorts of leather items to see how they are made.  A friend gave me a pile of horse bridles to get me started.  I don’t *think* I’ll be making horse bridles, but I can see how the makers handled the leather and learn from their construction methods.

I’m creeping closer and closer to the day where I put in a big order for leather and I feel like it’s a big jump for my brand.  I am excited.  I am nervous.  But mostly I am excited because the worst thing that can happen here is my closet gets filled with a bunch of interesting leather pieces for me to wear.  NOT BAD.  The best thing that can happen here is all of YOUR closets get filled with my interesting leather pieces for YOU to wear.  NOT BAD AT ALL.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

prysm.break vest

More than anything, my favorite part of being a clothing designer is having the skill to turn a sketch into a wearable outfit.  I’m sure every maker loves seeing this process happen in their own craft, but it still just blows my mind every time.

Scribble sketch of a vest idea for prysm.break.

The photo above shows a scribble sketch and the photo below shows fabric cut into vest pattern pieces.  There’s definitely some patterning magic that happens between the sketch and the pile of pieces ready to be stitched together, but I don’t have the photos to prove it. So, trust me. Magic.

Pile of vest pieces, including a handcut leather prysm applique.

I geeked out about pretty much every detail on this vest.

“Ah! Assymmetry!”

“Yay! Colorblocking!!!”

“OooooOOooohhh. Purple and black! My fav!”




It’s a great vest. I love it.  All of it. Every dang detail.

Photo montage of me handstitching buttons onto a finished prysm.break vest.

My partner freaked out about this vest just as much as I did.  I surprised him by hanging this on his closet door!  It’s an “I love you” gift (obviously) and also a “Thank you for being a patient fit model.”  I’m probably the worst fit model for men’s sized clothing, since I’m pretty much child-sized.  I’m thankful he’s willing to help me out.

Perks of being my partner: prysm.break clothing before it’s released.

He was puh-retty pumped about it.  He started to rattle off different outfits and layering options. This is EXACTLY how I want people to see prysm.break!  I want people to look at the garments and accessories and be able to easily visualize them as part of their own wardrobe.

My partner, Cameron, enjoying the silhouette of his new prysm.break vest as it allows him to show off his rodeo belt buckle.

The prysm.break vest (and the rest of the prysm.break collection) is available at


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Making Glovelettes

Have I mentioned I like accessories?  I want to make ALL THE ACCESSORIES.

For my prysm.break collection, I wanted to try my hand at a new hand accessory. Ha.


I thought a little tough glovelette would be fun. I’m really into leather accents right now, so I thought this would be a perfect addition to my prysm.break collection.

Sketching prysms onto my hand.

It took me a bit longer to get the pattern correct on this accessory than others. My dressforms don’t have hands, so I couldn’t drape the pattern.  Even if they did have hands, they wouldn’t move organically.  I needed to try the glovelette on myself to get an idea of what the glovelette would be like on a REAL LIVE HUMAN hand.  This meant I made lots of paper mockups and even more muslin mockups.  I made several fully finished glovelettes, complete with leather and hardware, before I got the pattern to be everything I wanted it to be.  Next challenge: finding fit models and grading the pattern up.  With every success, there’s a new challenge waiting to get tackled.

Perfecting patterns.

I’m pretty excited about this accessory pattern for a few reasons.  Mostly because it’s totally something I would wear: tough, unique, comfortable, leather.  Into it.

The prysm.break glovelette is really rad. Shocker.

My prysm.break collection drops into my online shop on FRIDAY!  My store will be at


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Rookie Animator

I wanted to make a short video for my prsym.collection debut.  I went back and forth on what sort of look I wanted for the video.  After deciding that I’d be making the video myself (because I like to do EVERYTHING myself), I felt a few limits shift into place on what type of video I could make.  I have very little video-making experience, and I mean VERY VERY little (maybe a loud wind-infused video from a 5th grade project…..does that even count?).

I remember thinking to myself, “I can draw, so technically I could animate, right?  And now I can draw digitally, so technically I could probably animate digitally…..right?!?!?”  and that was the confident-ish beginning step into my first ever animation project. The next 10,000 tedious steps of the process weren’t so confidently maneuvered.

Storyboarding time. My first time.

First step, get some sketches going.  I knew I wanted to use a loose style of illustration.  I’m really into that right now.  Maybe because I’m trying to slowly let go of my perfectionist tendencies.

Drawing digitally outside with my drawing pad.

Crrrrrrrrrotch. Someone’s gotta draw ’em.

Technically, I think I taught myself motion graphics skills instead of animation, but I keep calling it animation anyways. Animation sounds cooler to me because it’s always been a dream job, but I think in reality a lot of the video is created through motion graphics.  I’m too much of a rookie to really know for sure.  And really, either way, my video still looks the same no matter what you call it.

Time to get those graphics in motion! DANGER: LEARNING CURVE AHEAD!

I finally got the hang of getting things to grow, shrink, slide, twirl, etc.  It was very tedious work, which I sometimes enjoy. This was not one of those times.  I’m sure there’s animation software that maybe helps with some of this finicky work, but I was working out of Photoshop.  Photoshop is really not the greatest program for this project but as I maybe mentioned a few dozen times: ROOKIE.

Building a digital marionette looks a lot like dismembering a human.

I pretty much changed 90% of my original storyboard idea, but I like what I came up with.  At first I changed my concept due to the fact that I have extremely limited skills.  Then I changed my idea AGAIN because I realized that I could, in fact, create my original concept  if I spent enough time on it and my secondary idea was boring to me.  I found a happy medium.  I made a video that allowed me to learn a new skill, but didn’t make me spend an extra six weeks fleshing out an idea using the same skills I just mastered in a ridiculously repetitive manner.  Compromise is hard for me, but happy mediums are happy.

Working on my animation project out in my porch office.

After many, many days of rethinking and refining, my prysm.break video is FINISHED!  Even though my video is only about a minute long, I had to create it in six or seven separate files since my computer couldn’t really handle all the frames and layers I had going on in Photoshop at once.  I didn’t get to see all of the sections cropped to the right size and set to music until the very end.  That’s a lot of anticipation!

Watching my prsym.break video in its entirety for the very first time. So much emotion!

Hold on to your pants, folks.  The prysm.break video will be debuted this Friday!  One minute of  awesome rookie animation headed your way!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


I started taking my own product photos for my etsy shop a few months ago. I feel silly when I think about how much of my work week is spent dressing and undressing fake humans, but someone’s gotta do it!  Even if I get real good at it, adding “Professional Undresser” onto my resume seems kind of like a bad idea.

undressing . . . .

Blue-Violet Pleated Satin Pants available at


Tags: , , , , , ,

I am my own customer.

Part of my motivation and inspiration for my prysm.break collection was to create a microcollection where I, personally, want to wear all of the pieces on a regular basis.  While this is ends up being true for all of the collections that I create, I usually don’t set out with that in mind.  Of course I like all the things I make and want to wear them!  I’ve never sat down and designed with myself in mind as the customer and I found myself making different design decisions that I normally would.  I liked experiencing this new design process.  It felt very real.  Designing felt less like dreaming and more like creating something that would be worn and loved, because I knew at least I’d be wearing and loving all of these items.

prysm.break is a microcollection so I had to really edit my ideas to keep the numbers down.  (Most of my past collections have about 60+ one-of-a-kind garments and accessories in them!)  prsym.break has six items.  I wanted to keep it between five and ten really focused pieces that I could reproduce in several sizes, so I REALLY had to keep my brainstorming sessions in check.  One of the accessories that always made it into the edited lists of prysm.break accessories was a fringed scarf.  Since I was considering myself as the customer to design for, this was a no-brainer.  I love scarves and I love fringe and I knew I wanted to wear this one before I even finished making it.

Cutting jersey tube fringe.

Pinning the different layers of fringe and tassels in place.

Layered fringe on the prsym.break scarf.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

New Custom audiohelkuik Stamp!

Stampin’ time!  I picked up my custom rubber stamp from JP Cooke last week.  I’ve probably biked past that place in Omaha’s Old Market a zillion times and thought to myself “Ooh! I should design a stamp when I get home!”  I’m a big fan of stamps.

stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp

I got out the new stamp, opened up the ink pad, inked the stamp and then looked at my hairless cat that happened to be lounging on my studio table just then. My sweetie just shook his head and said “NO. Don’t even THINK about stamping the cat.”

So, of course, I will be stamping pretty much everything except my cat.


Tags: , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: