All Posts By



In late 2018, leveraging her experience from working with startups, Sarah Somers launched DESEDA, a line of luxe silk scarves. Each hand-finished square is printed in Italy and designed in collaboration with artists from around the world. “I love the idea of being able to come up with a timeless piece that I can bring directly to the consumer,” says Sarah, whose love for scarves began when it was one of the only ways she could make a fashion statement when her former work life on NYC’s Wall Street required a more conservative look. She started DESEDA to help others feel just as polished with a special go-to accessory that’s effortlessly chic and radiates self-expression. Sarah creates her line of limited-edition scarves in different sizes and aesthetics to accommodate different personal styles. “I also really like working with artists from all over the globe to tell beautiful stories.” According to Sarah, scarves can be fashionably worn by any one, of any age, and of any size. Sarah’s “Scarfie of the Day” stories on Instagram provide a daily dash of inspiration for how to make wearing a scarf fresh, modern, and easy.

Click here for the archive of Milwaukee Fashion Initiative Member Spotlights.


Lupita Murillo is a local designer who is inspired by the beauty of women. LM  by Lupita is a clothing line dedicated to empowering strong-minded women by helping them embrace their femininity and build confidence in their creation process. “Having my own clothing line has given me a voice, allowing me to use it through fashion. I’d like to be a part of your journey in creating the woman you truly want to be.”

“I believe that when a woman learns how to balance it all out, whether it’s home, work, career, children, fitness,  relationships. She’ll make time to do what she loves while looking great doing it. She can accomplish anything and empower others.”


Click here for the archive of Milwaukee Fashion Initiative Member Spotlights.

08/08/2019 – Milwaukee Fashion Initiative Summer Happy Hour

Let’s Celebrate Summer!

Join fellow Milwaukee Fashion Initiative members for an informal happy hour at the Iron Horse Hotel on Thursday, August 8th. We hope to see you there for a night of good drink and good conversation!

Date: Thursday, August 8th
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Iron Horse Hotel, 500 W. Florida Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Please note this event will not be sponsored by MFI. Guests are responsible for purchasing their own food/beverages.

Paula Hare

Gearhead is designed and founded by artist, creative director, New Yorker wannabe, concertgoer and troublemaker: Paula Hare.

Before launching Gearhead, Paula Hare spent several years developing and promoting Sargento Foods, Whitsons Culinary Group, Palermos Pizza, and other brands.  This experience expanded her knowledge of marketing, branding, package design, digital design and communications, photography and public relations.  With these developed skills and her expertise in painting and fashion design, she shifted her focus to building her own brand, Gearhead.  Hare now alters and reinvents clothing, handbags, jewelry, shoes and more with custom lettering, embroidering, sequins, patches and more to make each design creative and unique.

Hare’s hand-painted fashion line includes items made of distressed denim and worn leather or camouflage jackets.  The label’s trend-driven collections are inspired by rock and roll and urban street fashions found at stand out boutiques in San Francisco and New York City.  Each artist-signed, limited-edition, or one-of-a-kind statement piece is designed, painted, repurposed or constructed using quality fabrics, genuine fur, leather, camo, and denim.

Hare’s fashion line is sold in several stores throughout Wisconsin, one store in Illinois (Chicago), Michigan, and South Dakota (Sturgis/Deadwood).  She is also working on a collaboration with Finn & Lucca, a retailer in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin, to develop “edgy nautical” limited edition and one-of-a-kind apparel.

Email: [email protected]
Address: 172 North Broadway, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Phone: 414.588.9601

Paula Hare
Paula Hare
Paula Hare
Paula Hare

Madalyn Joy

Madalyn Joy Manzeck graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Dean’s High Honors in May 2016. She received a Bachelor of Science in Textile and Apparel Design. She was the President of her major’s student organization, Apparel and Textile Association (ATA), and was a recipient of the prestigious YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund’s scholarship. She has interned with Paul Andrew and Donna Karan at New York Fashion Week and spent the summer of 2015 as the Fabric Research and Development intern at Global Brands Group located in the Empire State Building in New York City. Upon graduation Madalyn decided to pursue her own designs and works as a fashion designer creating bespoke items for her own brand, Madalyn Joy Designs. Madalyn debuted the “Flora and Fauna” collection in September at Milwaukee Fashion Week and had the distinct honor of winning the Fashion Designer of the Year 2017 Award.

Madalyn Joy Designs is an award winning bespoke lingerie company that embraces and celebrates contemporary femininity, body positivity, and female empowerment. The modern woman who wears Madalyn Joy lingerie feels beautiful and confident while rocking classic silhouettes with delicate lacy details and modern bold lines. Today’s modern woman is complex and multi-faceted and Madalyn Joy lingerie has been developed with that lifestyle in mind. Madalyn Joy Designs empowers women by offering an exclusive bespoke lingerie service that allows the client to customize her product from fit to style.

Madalyn Joy Designs is currently competing for the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Accelerator Grant and they recently presented their business pitch in front of fashion industry professionals from companies such as InStyle Magazine and Rent the Runway. The event was featured in WWD and the grant winner will be announced in June.

Madalyn Manzeck
Founder, Owner, & Creative Director of Madalyn Joy Designs
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @madalynjoydesigns
Facebook: Madalyn Joy Designs

Madalyn Joy
Madalyn Joy
Madalyn Joy
Madalyn Joy
Madalyn Joy

Click here for the archive of Milwaukee Fashion Initiative Member Spotlights.

5/10/2019 — Fashionable Tea and Runway Fashion Show

Join Mount Mary University President Dr. Christine Parr and fashion designer and MMU alumna Donna Ricco (’81) for afternoon tea and conversation prior to the CREO Student Designer Fashion Show.

When: Friday, May 10th
3:00 p.m. Afternoon Tea; 5:00 p.m. Fashion Show

Where: Mount Mary University, 2500 N. Menomonee River Parkway
Tea in Helfaer Hall; Fashion Show in the Bloechl Center

Register: Tickets for Fashionable Tea or other showtimes are available at

Tickets include hot beverages, scones, sweets, and savory delights as well as priority reserved seating in the President’s Section of the 5:00 p.m. fashion show. Parking is free.

Sponsored by Collectivo Coffee and Troubadour Bakery.

4/27/2019 — Bavlnka Brand Open House

Stop by Studio Bavlnka for an Open House!

Come say hi to Laura and see the new space:

Saturday, April 27th from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 28th from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

5209 W. North Avenue, Milwaukee, WI

5/01/2019 — Milwaukee Fashion Initiative’s Spring Pop-Up Shop

We hope you can join us at our Spring Pop-Up Shop!

Wednesday, May 1 — 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the US Bank Building — 777 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Galleria Conference Room

Step away from the office on Wednesday, May 1st to shop local Milwaukee businesses and designers, mingle with other professionals, and add exclusive pieces from up-and-coming designers to your spring wardrobe!

This unique event features pop-up shops from Milwaukee businesses and juried designers, including:

  • Ana Popa
  • Annabelle Does
  • Bavlnka Brand
  • CAM Collective
  • Canela-Canela
  • CH Molloy
  • Distinctive Designs by Tomira
  • Eleganceforyou
  • Erik of Norway
  • Gearhead Fashion
  • Hollyville
  • LM by Lupita Murillo
  • Madalyn Joy Designs
  • Mt. Mary University
  • Ontal
  • SK Fiber Studio
  • Stan’s Fit For Your Feet
  • Stars and Stripes Collective
  • The Brimful Life
  • Vali Originals
  • Zing Boutique

For more information about the Showcase, please contact [email protected].


Adorning women since 2013, CANELA-CANELA specializes in statement accessories that are one of a kind or limited edition pieces.  Every collection is designed and assembled locally by Gabriela and Adriana in their Mequon studio.  They are a team of Peruvian twins who collaborate on all of their designs.  Gabriela and Adriana are passionate about what they do, and love sharing their pieces as a way to celebrate and empower femininity.  Their collections have been sold in different places around the world.  From Mexico City, the city that watched them grow, to Monterrey, Chicago, Colorado, and Wisconsin, their beloved home.  All the support, faith, and enthusiasm from their friends, family, loving vendors, and stockists have been their fuel for their amazing five year journey.

This year they joined the Milwaukee Fashion Initiative as a chance to support a community that supports their local businesses.  Gabriela and Adriana believe in the importance to empower women, and believe “La union es la fuerza,” union is strength.  The sisters are grateful for their past, excited for the present, and hopeful for their future.

Gabriela Grbic & Adriana Mehta
The Canela Twins.
facebook: canela-canela
Instagram: xoxocanela
Showroom by appointment only, 10412 N.Baehr rd, Mequon WI. 53092


Click here for the archive of Milwaukee Fashion Initiative Member Spotlights.