A new ateliêr has set up shop in the Midway Rowhouse Building on Delaware Avenue. Alicia Marván recently finished up school at University at Buffalo, where she graduated with a master’s degree in sculpture. Now the fashion forward artisan has set up shop in one of the most exquisite buildings in the city, which hints that she’s got a fabulous sense of design and fashion style.
“I started fashion sketching when I was 16 years old,” said Alicia. “But I was discouraged by the shallow and empty nature of the industry. I am much more of an existentialist. Eventually I got into performance art, where I incorporated fabric. I designed the costumes and choreographed dance for public works of art, typically in industrial spaces. Fabric was always there. Now I am circling back 25 years later.”
Contrary to what the industry was when I was a teenager (shallow, hyper-commercial, toxic) it is exciting to see the current trends of socially and ecologically minded practices in both design and production, such as bio-textiles, smart fabrics, the reduce/reuse/recycle moto, and an awareness of what a healthy female body is (not anorexic!). My new fashion line will definitely be aligned with those values.
Aside from being a fashionista, Alicia is working on an exciting project with UB that involves fabrics and robotics. She is also in the midst of dreaming up a fashion show this fall. A lot of her artistic initiatives are crossover projects that somehow all tie together. “Besides my artwork, I am starting to develop three design lines: fashion, housewares, and toys, inspired by the regional history and landscape,” Alicia informed me. “The debut exhibition/pop-up showroom will take place in late fall, at a historic building in Buffalo (TBD).”
As for Alicia’s ateliêr business, she is currently doing commission work for customers who are looking for stylish new looks. “I design clothing to be beautiful and comfortable,” she told me. “It can be tough for middle age women to find clothing that is eye-catching, comfortable and fits. Name brands in stores continue to cater to the 20 somethings. Their average size is an 8. The average size woman is a 14. There are a lot of sizes in-between.”
Not only does the city of Buffalo have limited fashion shops, there is also a dearth of fabrics. Alicia travels to NYC, Mexico and Toronto to source the fabrics. “I’m also thinking about a way to bring beautiful fabrics to Buffalo,” she explained. “We need resources like that in this city. There is so much potential here, that we must take advantage of. I love this city because of the architecture, the nature, and the people.
Dare to be different, and support a local artisan in the process.
People should not be wearing sweatpants around – they should be wearing more fashionable clothing that is just as comfortable.” Alicia also noted that the clothing must be affordable. At this point, she is designing coats, wraps, gowns and dresses. She has her clothing styles picked out for fall and winter, and has purchased fabrics for her spring lines.
When it comes to fashion, Buffalo is an open slate for Alicia. She believes that she has the ability to make over countless women who are looking for fabulous designs, but typically have to go to NYC to get them. As her client base grows, she will be looking for a network of seamstresses… refugees maybe? Or Buffalo State grads? Until that time, she will be personally handcrafting the outfits.
Now ladies, if you have been thinking about getting a wardrobe makeover, and you want to do it right, Alicia is waiting for you to call. Her prices are fair, her designs are stunning, and she’s willing to work with you to create whatever your heart desires. She also has some fantastic designs of her own.
Ateliêr Marván | 479 Delaware Avenue | Suite 3 | Buffalo NY | (716) 545-6967