Eager, passionate and dedicated — three words that when paired together eloquently describe the talented and enthusiastic Denver fashion designer, Ethan Christe, creator of Warming . Not only has Christe made himself known in the city’s fashion scene as an attendee during Denver Fashion Week events, workshops and personal portfolio shows, but he also attends college full-time as a graphic design student as well. Following his graduation this month, Christe is hopeful to participate at the distinguished Denver Fashion Week in the fall. Specializing in casual, comfortable and refined designs, Christe designed Warming gear to speak to people through graphic designs, bold colors and unique messages. Here, we dive deeper into the mind of Christe as an up-and-coming, prominent Denver fashion designer.
303 Magazine: Following your graduation from college, what goals do you have for yourself and your brand?
Warming: After graduation, I plan to work non-stop on my collection for the Denver Fashion Week (DFW) Fall/Winter show in 2019, which has been a goal of mine ever since my first DFW in early 2018. I’ve been networking with influencers in the streetwear and fashion community to recruit them to model for me because I want to bring massive awareness to Denver’s fashion scene on a national and soon global scale. I want to turn DFW into the place for young creators, designers and fans of fashion to meet each other, network and get inspired. My job is to turn Denver into a fashion capital like New York City and Los Angeles. When people think of fashion in the States, I want them to think NYC-LA-DEN. Over the summer I also intend to have many pop up shops, collaborations and work on progressing my brand by finding new inspiration and influences.
303: How do you intend to reach those goals in Denver?
W: The art and fashion scene in Denver is blossoming so rapidly. There is always a gallery or store willing to host pop ups and installations. I also intend to collaborate and learn from the amazing designers I’ve met at DFW like Aldo with DarkDenim, Shayna with Darkm0th, and Madi with Rebellelion.
303: When was the moment you knew you wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?
W: I started to think I wanted to be a fashion designer when I made my first Warming shirt. The feeling of having a sketch come to fruition is the most satisfying feeling. I think the moment I knew I wanted to make it my career was at the DFW Fall/Winter 2018 show when I wore my Warming jacket in public for the first time. A lot of people approached me and complimented the jacket and would ask what brand it was, not knowing I made it. I was scared of how people would react to it but I got a lot of positive feedback and it made me think I might have something legit going on here. At this point, being a fashion designer is my only option, it is what truly makes me happy.
303: What is your earliest fashion memory?
W: I’ve always been one to care about aesthetics and how you present yourself. In middle school, I always matched my shirts with my shoes, socks, shorts and hats. I loved matching colors just for fun — it was a sort of art form to me. Later in high school, I discovered graphic design and fell in love with coming up with an idea and bringing it to life on screen. I used to draw digital illustrations of cars and later ended up printing them on t-shirts and would sell them at car meets. From then on I only liked to wear things that I made because it accurately represented who I was and I could design it specifically to match an outfit.
303: Who or what inspires you?
W: One of my biggest inspirations is Virgil Abloh. Many people will say the same thing but I think the reason I idolize him is different. Virgil is a beautiful example of preparation meets opportunity in meeting Kanye West, which is something I live by. He seems to be always juggling a million jobs at once and his work ethic and hustle is unmatched (until I came along). Virgil’s vision started a whole new genre of fashion. Ready-to-wear garments made with luxury materials that can be worn on the runway or just casually hanging out. I recently was able to acquire my first Off-White (Virgil Abloh’s fashion label) hoodie and it was like a mathematician opening Albert Einstein’s notebook. I laid the hoodie on my bed and literally studied it for an hour. The layout of the type, the positioning of every component and the immaculate details where no one would even care to look. Where some see a hoodie, I see beauty in design, engineering and art. Virgil’s vision and brand to me go beyond the hype. Those are a few of the many reasons he inspires me.
303: Can you tell us about your brand and how the name Warming was instituted?
W: My label Warming is a way for me to express that anything is possible. That you can achieve anything you could ever dream of if you really want it and nothing can stop you. The name Warming appeared to me when I was reading a text message, something like “It was so Warming.” The context it was being used in referring to a comforting, cozy state. However, when I looked at the word on its own, it bared a striking resemblance to WARNING (obviously). I found it very interesting how a word’s definition can be drastically misrepresented. You can read the word for what it is, or you can turn it into something that it’s not and let it scare you. Such as in life where obstacles and challenges are coming at you constantly. You can take the time to assess what is going on and find a way to overcome it, or you can turn it into a bigger deal than it really is and let it stop you from achieving your goal. The concept behind Warming is something I live my life by and is the reason why there is so much passion, heart and reason behind everything I make. Every component of my designs have reason and story; nothing is just for the aesthetic.
303: Can you explain a little about your personal style and how your designs relate to that?
W: My personal style typically revolves around matching a shirt with shoes and simple pants. I like to be subtle and loud at the same time, which is pretty apparent in my pieces. The shoes I make are my version/vision of the brand Off-White. A goal of mine is to become creative director of Off-White so designing and making the shoes is just practice to me.
303: Where can customers go to shop and purchase your designs?
W: The best way to purchase anything is just to follow me on Instagram. Pop up shops and any information will always be on there.
All photography by Caroline Miller.