For the moment, Milwaukee fashion designer Carrie Pasko comprises a one-woman show. She's the designer, seamstress and business woman behind the men's and women's clothing line ScandalCat and on Saturday, Jan. 27, her winter line hits the runway at Turner Ballroom.
"The theme of this show is about love and passion and it is shown through the process of design," Pasko says. "When I am working on a show it reflects what is going on in my own life and my emotions flow out onto the fabric and designs as well."
She says that she focuses on designs that tend to be asymmetrical and pairs them with textures and details that can make a single piece unique.
Pasko started the ScandalCat line three years ago, but says she's been sewing since the age of eight. The name of her line came from "a collaboration of two ideas."
"Back in my college days, I had a friend that used the words 'scandal' and 'scandalous' a ton and a group of our friends would always use those words in our sentences and everyday talk," she says. "A few years ago, when I was trying to figure out a label name a friend inspired me by giving me the idea, since I love cats so much."
After she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, she debated on where to go next.
"I tried costume designing in Milwaukee for a while," Pasko says. "I really just want to design for myself and I work hard at it and reaching my goal of someday having my own gallery/boutique."
Her plans to open such an establishment force Pasko to be patient.
"Right now I feel there is a reason I am here and (there's) a need for new fashion in Milwaukee and the need for the growth and support for new, up and coming designers and artists," she says. "I think I will let time tell. Milwaukee has potential, it is slow, and I am learning to be patient, but I believe it will happen and be great. "
People who go to the show can expect pieces that will bring out emotions and show character.
"My designs are not aimed at a certain demographic. I think anyone can wear something if they feel good in it and it makes them be beautiful inside and out," Pasko says. "My men's wear is new and I believe Milwaukee needs new menswear that stands out -- classic but edgy design elements that people will fall in love with."
Unlike the bulk of independently designed and hand-sewn clothing, ScandalCat's prices remian affordable, ranging from $20 to $100.
"I think starting at a more affordable price point is important for people to gain interest in the designer and philosophy of custom design pieces."
In Thursday's show, fashion enthusiasts should expect to see an 18-piece collection made up of 10 women's and eight men's outfits. Pasko says that if she had her own design team she could have doubled the number of pieces.
Post show will provide performances by Milwaukee musicians Dana Pasko and Juniper Tar, and, of course, cocktails.
"My sister, Dana, is an inspiration to me continuously. She writes her own music. Her songs are very deep and powerful and capture the audience and leave them with goosebumps," Pasko says.
Juniper Tar's performance will be acoustic, without a drummer, according to Pasko.
After the whirlwind of creating her winter line, Pasko says a nice relaxing break is in order.
"I will take a day to totally stay in bed and watch movies and let my brain relax, stay away from my sewing machines, and then in a day or two start spring/summer planning for another show. You always have to be on your feet and planning ahead," she says. "There really aren't any breaks, I'm trying to do a collaboration show this summer in L.A. with a friend there, and then I can have a vacation but it also will be work, so I won't feel so guilty about being away from designing."
Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.
However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.
Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson.
Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.