Photos and story by Aleah Milliner
Located at the historic Katz Drugstore building on the corner of Westport Road in Kansas City, vintage enthusiasts and design duo Lyndsey Helling and Lauren Tweedie spend their time dreaming up ideas and inspiration for their clothing line, Girl Friday.
They occupy two spaces out of the studio, a shared building for artists in the community, and have filled the walls with sketches, chalkboard wall quotes – “selling feelings from wall to ceiling “ – fabric samples, magazine cutouts (including a photo of delicious looking doughnuts), and various other materials. Silver and gold tinsel hang from the walls, and their hand painted fabric scraps are tucked away in a corner.
Upon walking into their space, you get a sense strong sense of creativity and a fun, unique style that translates into Helling and Tweedie’s various clothing collections.
The girls met while working at Donna’s Dress Shop, a vintage clothing shop in Kansas City, MO. They worked together every Friday and bonded over their mutual interests in art and design, and especially of vintage clothing.
“The shapes are really striking. It is so much more unique than modern clothing. Vintage style is really unafraid,” said Tweedie, on why she gravitates toward the style.
The pair began designing their line in their free time outside of their work at Donna’s. All of their clothing design has been a collaborative effort between the two, stemming from sketches and inspiration in the studio, and resulting in many hours and late nights of sewing.
Girl Friday debuted in June 2014 with a collection of shift dresses, circle skirts, and tunics, all constructed from vintage fabrics. They debuted their third line in September 2014, a dress collection using hand painted fabric, which included an eyeball-patterned dress.
Screenprinting was not an option for their designs, so they turned to hand painting.
“For the eyeball dress we painted yards at a time. Like a football field length of fabric. We just paint all of it, cut it up and assembled it. We wash all of the fabric first, paint it with textile pigment, let it dry, and then heat set the fabric. It is a very time consuming process,” said Tweedie, who worked with textiles in the Art and Design School while attending KU.
Both girls agree that they have grown creatively through designing Girl Friday.
“I have gotten more confident. I don’t have the best sewing skills but I have learned a lot through this whole process. I jump at making the clothes instead of being hesitant about it,” said Helling.
Helling credits Finnish textile and fashion design company Marimekko as a major influence in her creativity. While her husband was conducting research in Finland, Helling had a lot of free time to explore, and there she discovered the company.
“I have this really amazing Marrimeko book that is so good and so inspiring. It talks about the company’s history, how it started, and how it evolved. I look at that book often for inspiration.”
As for Tweedie, she sparks her creativity through shopping, wandering through antique malls, and visiting The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. She also credits Instagram as a source of inspiration.
Helling and Tweedie are currently spending their time in the studio creating their new line.
The line will be a collection of 1970s Sportswear and will debut at the 18th Street Fashion show in Kansas City June 13th, an event open to the public.
“We have a friend who can really rock a jumpsuit. We wanted to make a jumpsuit with a hood on it, and we designed it around her,” said Helling.
The newest Girl Friday line will include bold, graphic prints and their first men’s outfit. The collection will be for sale immediately after, however only five outfits will be created.
Looking to the future, the girls hope to be designing full time for Girl Friday and to sell their clothes in as many retail stores as possible.
“I feel honored when anyone expresses interest,” Tweedie said.
Edited by Katie Gilbaugh