Denver Fashion Week’s Inked Clothing: Flash + Rose

Elisabeth Strunk is the designer of Colorado-based fashion brand, Flash + Rose. The name “Flash +Rose” takes inspiration from traditional American tattoo designs.

All items are one-of-one hand painted upcycled pieces with a variety of designs like snakes and roses.

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The brand started in 2023 when Strunk began creating a series of pen and ink drawings and wanted to create something just for her. 

She went into her closet, took out a pair of solid white overalls and decorated them with tattoo designs — she received so many compliments that it inspired her to start her brand. 

“It kind of started by accident, but from an authentic place which is really cool for me,” she said.

It wasn’t until 2024 that she came up with the name “Flash + Rose.” 

The word “flash” comes from the root idea of flash tattoos or predetermined, simple tattoo designs. The word “rose” was inspired by Strunk’s grandmothers who both had the middle name Rose.

Even though the brand Flash + Rose is still new, Strunk has loved fashion for as long as she can remember. She extensively used fashion as a form of self-expression and found peace in finding her own style. The designer has always loved the feeling of finding a hidden gem in a thrift store and wearing it the next day. 

Between her passion for clothes and tattoos, it’s no surprise she channeled it into her brand. To Strunk, tattooing is an art form — especially flash tattoos.

Flash tattoos are pre designed by each artist. Because of this, she enjoys seeing each artist’s personality reflected in each design. The designer also adores the idea of decorating a body in art and the idea that anything can become a canvas. 

“Much like the body becomes a canvas for tattoo artists, clothing becomes a canvas for me,” she said. 

For Strunk, the design process begins by picking a theme that typically focuses on fabrics like denim, leather and camouflage. Then, Strunk sources the materials.

Strunk creates a new collection piece by piece, letting the natural individuality of the garment shine. l

“I’ll lay the clothing out and look at the structure of the item, looking to see if it has anything interesting to paint that feels like a canvas,” Strunk said. When sourcing, she looks for fashion seams, pockets, built-in belts and more.

After the design is completed, she begins painting flames, teeth, and barbed wire — adding her tattoo flair.  

The designer also channels her learning experiences into her designs. 

“One of my favorite pieces I’ve painted for Denver Fashion Week has a snake in a circular form, eating its own tail—also known as ‘ouroboros’a symbol which originated from Egyptian iconography and Greek mythology,” Strunk said. “Upon reading up on this, I also discovered that if snakes get too hot in the wild, they can become very disoriented and end up eating their own tails because they think it’s a predator.

Being a sustainable brand is also incredibly important to Flash + Rose.

“Being a sustainable brand is my way of controlling something little to do good in the world,” Strunk said.

She hopes that through her designs she can influence people to shop secondhand and buy from small designers rather than fast fashion brands. For Strunk, educating those on slow fashion and supporting the fashion community through vintage, thrifted pieces is the core of Flash + Rose.

“I’ll feel like I’m at least trying to make a tiny dent in the impact that fashion can have on the environment and sustainable practices for the better,” she said. 

This spring season of DFW, Flash+Rose is making its runway debut.

Strunk felt that it was natural to debut her latest collection in Denver because of how much the art and fashion community welcomed her. When she started her print and art career, she found a great sense of community. 

She also credits DFW for aligning with her personal beliefs. 

“I think it’s really incredible that Denver Fashion Week opens the week with sustainability night,” Strunk said. “That really inspired me to showcase because that’s something that is so aligned with who I am as an artist and person.”

Strunk also loves the thrift-store presence of the front range. 

Flash + Rose’s runway segment has 16 pieces, 14 are new. The brand has created an experience of minimalistic, gender-fluid, tattoo-inspired clothing.

All hair and makeup will be completed by The Hair and Image Studio

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Following DFW, Strunk will continue participating in Colorado fashion shows and finalize the Flash + Rose website. Their future will feature new items and be a part of pop-up shops around the Front Range area.

Before DFW, make sure to visit their next pop-up shop at Apocalypse in Boulder, on the 20th of April — also known as Earth Day. 

All photos by Sheryl Crawford Photography

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