On August 17, S.H.E Suite hosted their monthly female first event that invites women across Denver to come together and learn more about not only each other but also about a highlighted company of the month.
The women’s networking group was founded in January in hopes to ignite more conversations and beneficial forms of networking among women in the Denver area.
“S.H.E. Suite which stands for, ‘supporting habits of empowerment’, is about featuring and focusing on women-owned businesses and giving women the space to network,” explained company owner Kaitlyn Shenouda.
The organization, run by Shenouda, Chelsea DeLamielleure and Kathleen Phillips, is beneficial for many. In fact, their criteria are broad and encompass a wide range of communities: “S.H.E. is a community of driven and professional women interested in learning, growing and sharing their stories of success as well as the challenges that have shaped them,” coming from their website, the list continues
For this month, the networking event gathered fashion lovers into the stunning Atelier of Brooks Ltd. Brooks Ltd was founded in 1974 by fashion designer Brooks Luby, and she has been creating women’s clothing ever since.
After 28 years of designing and selling her pieces in Cherry Creek North, Luby decided to move her space to a more secluded and quiet area in LoDo. Aside from a location change, her means of selling differs as well. By “appointment only,” The Atelier allows clients the chance to connect personally and honestly with their designer.
The night was focused on Luby’s choice of words that are of high importance to her brand: Sense & Sustainability. Through a discussion panel, Luby contributed to the audience about the many ways Brooks truly hits the sustainability mark. Through handmade pieces and cyclical fashion (when scraps or unused pieces are reconstructed to create a new design altogether), Luby explained how having a good sense of her brand’s sustainability has been essential to defining her business.
The evening’s conversation touched on many aspects of how specific industries today are green-washing consumers into believing they have created a highly sustainable brand. Luby proudly shared with the audience a wide variety of her work that accurately represents what sustainability can look like in the fashion industry. To further the presentation, model Renee Krause presented a handful of Luby’s handmade one-of-a-kind pieces.
Signifying pieces of the night included Luby’s “Attic Gems,” which represents circular fashion through her handed-down vintage table clothes and napkins to create unique shawls, tops and dresses with dainty fabrics.
“As an avid collector of fibers, I am using my deadstock along with textiles friends and family have given me. It’s a great way for those who want to make sure their cherished cloths do not go into the landfill,” she emphasized.
The Brooks Atelier is filled with various pieces that directly fit into a cohesive binding of sustainability and sense for one’s brand and business.
“Each textile is beautiful and is created in a new industry category called Luxury Upcycling. Part of Luxury Upcycling is my ability to take eco-friendly fabrics, create simple pieces and add surface design to each piece including hand stitching called Sashiko,” she continued.
The night was filled with a refreshing sense of authenticity, which is also one of the pillars of S.H.E. Suite. The collaboration of the two business’s created an evening of empowerment, community and networking that has historically been hard to come by in the world of women in business.
“With all the new conceptual companies and spaces opening, there is a synergy in the workplace to get involved at a community level being authentic and transparent along the way. Womanhood has enabled me to have a voice in inclusivity, activism and diversity in fashion,” Luby said.
The two businesses came together to create an environment that was not only welcoming and refreshing but also provided its attendees with the motivation to raise up other women around them.
Brooks will be launching its newest collection on Oct. 1. Furthermore, S.H.E Suite will continue to host Women’s Networking nights once a month, showcasing a wide variety of female-owned businesses native to the Denver area.
All photography by Roxanna Carrasco.