This Collection: Château de la M’lle design was based off of historical Victorian costume, embodying various genres of popular vintage fashion trends such as Neo-Victorian, shabby chic, and Japanese Lolita. Make your vintage looks modern this spring by adding a touch of your own shabby chic-Victorian style to your favorite modern cardigan, pants or shoes.
About Vaile Mansion:
“Built by Colonel and Mrs. Harvey Vaile in 1881, it was ‘the most princely house and the most comfortable home in the entire west,’ the Kansas City Times reported in 1882. Situated on North Liberty Street, a mile north of the historic Independence Square, the three-story Gothic-like structure today sits in solitary splendor, an architectural anomaly among the surrounding Midwestern homes.”
Venue: Vaile Mansion, Independence, MO
Designs/Styling: Bethany Wicker
Photos: Nicole Bissey Photography Models Zaria Mac; Voices&, Nina Monzon; Exposure Model and Talent Agency, Lexy Covensky; Career Images Model and Talent Agency Inc., Christen Mazurak-Fike, Dana Larson Hair Anna Elisabeth Makeup Ashley Hazelwood
Concept: Calli Green
About the Desiner: Bethany Wicker, Crystal Arcade Clothing
VKC: Why/when did you start designing?
BW: My love for costume and fashion design sprouted in middle school, but I didn’t start sewing until 2011, when I started making my own cosplays for anime conventions. I’ve been an art kid all my life, but found that I was a “jack of all trades, master of none”. I could draw, sculpt, and paint but couldn’t do any of them exceptionally well enough to establish an identity as an artist. I was also originally discouraged from going to art school after graduating because the economy had collapsed and my family and I had no money for college. Since childhood I knew that I either wanted to help people or do something creative for a career. So, since art school was off the table, I decided to pursue a career in public safety, and ended up getting a job as a police dispatcher and 911 operator at the age of 19. While dispatching was definitely personally fulfilling, it was incredibly stressful and it took quite a toll on my mental and physical health. Just as I was starting to doubt my career decision, I discovered cosplay—I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect distraction and stress reliever. At first I did it to take my anime and video game fandom to the next level, but I quickly found that all my scattered art talents came together perfectly to help me sew and designs costumes. My best friend showed me the ropes of sewing and from there I became obsessed with understanding garment designs and construction. It got to the point where I was bringing bits and pieces of my cosplays and projects to work, and my co-workers started to take notice. When they and my family started encouraging me to pursue it as a career, I decided to do whatever I could to go back to school. Once I started taking classes, I immediately became interested in fashion design, and I haven’t stopped sewing since.
VKC: What inspires you?
BW: I’d have to say my one of biggest inspiration is my fandoms, hands down. I’ve been playing video games and watching anime basically all my life, and since cosplay was the beginning of my love for sewing and fashion design, I definitely incorporate those aspects into my work. I also draw a lot of inspiration from my friends, who are all very nerdy and creative. I often find myself designing a look with a specific person in mind, and end up designing an outfit for them based on their style and personality.
VKC: Why Kansas City?
BW: Kansas City is my hometown, and throughout my life I’ve lived all over the KC metro area. While I really want to live in California or New York one day, I feel like I have a lot of work to do on myself first, establishing myself as a designer and growing personally.