This R.I.-based fashion designer is making her mark, pushing the boundaries on what we deem ‘wearable’

Zoe Grinfeld is a manner designer from Colchester, Connecticut that is now based in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the Rhode Island College of Design and style in 2020. Zoe Grinfeld

Q: How would you explain on your own as a designer?

Grinfeld: I navigate the room in between previous and existing, motivated by a perception of nostalgia and reinterpreting reminiscences of childhood. I’m drawn to matters that are absurd, preposterous or surreal, nonetheless enticing. Material exploration is at the core of my approach, and I solution a new design and style with childlike curiosity, shedding any preconceived idea of a textile or object’s intended goal.

How did you commence planning?

Expanding up in rural Connecticut with no sewing equipment, I turned to hot glue and a needle and thread to hand craft outfits from objects. I held the initially of a number of charity fashion reveals at age 12, showcasing clothes manufactured from unconventional resources such as doll heads, board online games, and other objects I sourced at lawn profits and secondhand retailers. In my new perform, I have been revisiting principles from my early demonstrates, further acquiring childhood prototypes into entirely recognized collections. Treasure looking for discovered supplies proceeds to be central to my process.

Pieces by fashion designer Zoe Grinfeld, who is primarily based in Providence, R.I., and will be showcased as a direct artist at StyleWeek Northeast on Thursday, June 16.ZOE Grinfeld

What have you been up to considering that graduating RISD in 2020?

When I initially graduated in 2020, I moved back household to Connecticut and enrolled in some on the internet enterprise courses to assistance bridge the hole amongst my imaginative education and my aims in the business. I moved back again to Providence in 2021 so that I could have an inexpensive room to carry on my studio apply postgrad. I now function aspect time for Kent Stetson Purses mastering about the output and enterprise conclude of the marketplace though pursuing my brand on the side.

How have you adjusted as a designer because coming to Rhode Island?

My time in Rhode Island and my schooling at RISD have definitely formed me as a designer. Compared with other fashion schools I used to which prioritize extra business perform, RISD’s apparel structure plan felt like a area the place I could definitely nurture my much more conceptual side as an artist. Acquiring the system of StyleWeek to display my designs in Rhode Island has specified me a blank canvas to develop just about anything I want, which has taken my get the job done to some extraordinary places.

What sorts of products are you employing, and in which are you sourcing them from?

I’m ordinarily combining unconventional products, classic and deadstock materials, and custom made made digital prints. Some components are sourced for precise strategies, and many others are collected above time with the intention of utilizing when the suitable venture comes along. There are appears to be like in the current assortment I’m functioning on that are designed from products I’ve been holding on to for around five or 10 a long time. My observed elements are usually sourced as a result of spouse and children and buddies, property product sales, thrift merchants, and by way of Etsy and Ebay.

“I’m generally combining unconventional supplies, vintage and deadstock fabrics, and customized made electronic prints. Some products are sourced for certain suggestions, and many others are collected over time with the intention of working with when the proper challenge will come together,” Grinfeld explained.Zoe Grinfeld

What can persons anticipate from your assortment at StyleWeek Northeast?

This assortment is extremely meaningful to me. It commenced as a resourceful undertaking to help me cope with the loss of both my grandmothers in 2020 and 2021. Each and every glance is loaded with a great deal of own memory and meaning and I’m very enthusiastic to share it with the planet. Following the present at StyleWeek, I’ll be carrying out an in-depth sequence on my TikTok diving into the inspiration and materials guiding just about every look.

What is the largest obstacle the style market is going through proper now, and how do you want to be aspect of the progress?

I believe the sector as a whole requirements to sluggish down its speed of output. There are mass quantities of apparel remaining developed in the entire world and it is alarming for the ecosystem, garment personnel, and shoppers. Brands need to prevent generating at this sort of a immediate velocity, and commence imagining extra intentionally about what solutions they are releasing and if they are genuinely essential. I’ve put in the previous two years doing the job on the assortment I am about to release, and I experience as however having that time to be a lot more thoughtful about it has manufactured the get the job done so a great deal much more significant and modern.

A piece by manner designer Zoe Grinfeld, who is dependent in Providence, Rhode Island.Zoe Grinfeld/ Fileti Studio

Which designers or manufacturers are you are fired up about or search up to proper now?

Wiederhoeft, Motoguo, and Christopher John Rogers. I admire the concepts at the rear of each and every of their collections and like their perception of playfulness. I utilized to intern for Christian Cowan, so I’m also usually excited to see the unbelievable patterns that he and his team release just about every time.

You went viral in 2020 in a TikTok movie where by you showed off a jacket that was made out of doll heads. You mentioned it took practically 5 many years to finish the glance. Why did you want to generate this jacket and what was the meaning driving it?

My journey into doll-motivated get the job done began when I was in the sixth grade. I was bored in my mom and dad basement so I manufactured a necklace out of doll heads and wore it to college in my small, rural hometown [of Colchester, Conn.]. Observing the way the hair of the dolls strung with each other made a lovely accumulation of texture and colour (as effectively as the shock it gave to its viewers) is what later on led me to creating my doll head jacket and other doll-motivated parts. In the conclusion, the jacket took about 500 doll heads to entire. I believe building parts with material accumulations at that scale really speaks to the amount of consumerism and overconsumption that plagues our world appropriate now.

What are your year-prolonged goals? What about five-year targets in the field?

I’m releasing my new collection at StyleWeek, will relaunch my online store, and just take section in a gallery exhibition this forthcoming fall in NYC. In 5 years, I’d like to be pursuing my brand name and my inventive practice on a much larger scale, coming up with customs for superstar purchasers and developing function for exhibitions at major museums. My very long-expression dream is to eventually be the imaginative director of a significant luxury brand name like Moschino or Schiaparelli.

A piece by trend designer Zoe Grinfeld, who focuses on upcycled components, in Providence, R.I.Steve Warren

Providence is regarded as the artistic cash, but several designers and artists depart within just a couple of a long time of graduating college or to transfer onto a greater city like New York or LA. What worries does Rhode Island facial area when making its style business?

Like numerous designers, it’s always been my dream to conclude up in a large city like New York. However, Rhode Island has the advantage of currently being a much additional inexpensive spot to live correct now when compared to more substantial towns. Nevertheless in the style market, Rhode Island is little and there are confined resources.

I assume the crucial to it is stability. It does not have to be all a person place or the other. I have individually found good results for the time staying as a designer who lives in Providence while getting outings every several months to NYC for substance sourcing and conferences.


The Boston Globe’s weekly Ocean Condition Innovators column options a Q&A with Rhode Island innovators who are setting up new businesses and nonprofits, conducting groundbreaking study, and reshaping the state’s financial state. Mail tips and recommendations to reporter Alexa Gagosz at [email protected].


Alexa Gagosz can be attained at [email protected] Observe her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.