Born and raised in Minnesota, Joeleen grew up fantasizing about designing clothes, but always thought she'd pursue more traditional vocations like law or medicine. After deep personal reflection and a leap of faith, Joeleen decided to revisit her childhood dream and make it a reality.
In 2008 she obtained a B.S. in Apparel Design and Development, during that time she studied abroad in London at the London College of Fashion, and worked as an understudy for David Rodriguez in New York. After working in New York, Joeleen brought her life back to Minnesota. In 2010, Joeleen launched her company primarily designing custom pieces, but is now focusing on her brand, Joeleen Torvick.
When I was really little I always wanted to be a fashion designer, but I thought no one was ever actually able to do that so I figured I'd go into medicine or law. As I got a little older, my grandma taught me to sew and that reignited a passion in me. From there I designed my own prom dress my senior year of high school. I thought I would go into the bridal market, but after attending University of Wisconsin - Stout, I became more interested in ready-to-wear. Have you always been creative? What forms or channels have you explored in your creative journey?
I'm not entirely sure I was always creative. I was always very good at math, and weirdly enjoyed it. I think I like being presented with a problem and finding a way to solve it. I kind of approach design in a similar way. Each season I challenge myself in doing something I haven't done before; I push myself and see if it can be done or "solved" whether it be aesthetically or technically.
I'm willing to take more risks. I've been pushing my own boundaries, and will continue to do so. As a businesswoman, each season you grow and learn more about the industry, your target market, what is working and what isn't working for your customer, etc. I'm in a learning and growing stage, so it's been fun and exciting to see growth each season. What does your artistic process look like from start to finish?
My artistic approach starts with looking at what is going on in the world and around me, and what people are wearing and how to move forward from there. I find inspiration from that as well as things that happen or I see around me. I usually tend to design and look for fabric simultaneously as they influence each other. From there I tend to do all of my patterns, and then produce the entire collection. How has living and making in Minnesota influenced your creative work, specifically through your clothing?
Minnesota undoubtedly has influenced my designs and aesthetic. Winters can be long and cold, so it's fun to create cozy clothing; which I have done a lot more of this season. Even in the spring or early summer weather can be a little unpredictable, so you need those transitional pieces.
Do you like to experiment with different fabrics, materials, or techniques in your work?
Each season I like to try and experiment with something I haven't done before. I may use different construction techniques, play with a silhouette, or work with challenging fabrics, I'm having fun taking two fabrics and creating an applique or my own print with them. In the foreseeable future you can expect to see original prints digitally printed on fabric.
Do you feel like your work allows you to contribute to something bigger than yourself?
I have always wanted to give back in some way or create awareness for causes. As I continue to get my footings, I want to use my clothing to do philanthropy work. In the meantime, as long as people feel confident and great about themselves in my designs, that, in itself, is bigger than me.