WaZeil and UaZit DeSutter create their own unique blend of earth-friendly clothing brand STALPH from raw organic materials.
They transform the materials, often ones they foraged for themselves, into wares with a purpose.
The couple, who lives in Attica, will showcase a full runway apparel collection during Indiana Fashion Week July 25-30 in Indianapolis.
WaZeil, a 2010 Carmel High School graduate, became interested in fashion design very early in life. Her mother taught her how to sew when she was 10, and she began designing and creating her own clothes. She said her skills were enhanced by taking a sewing class all four years at CHS.
“I had a really great teacher, Judy Fisher,” WaZeil said. “She was a really encouraging teacher and supportive. She really curated my love for sewing even more.”
WaZeil and UaZit attended the Art Institute of Indianapolis at the same time but didn’t know each other.
The couple, who married in 2019, met in 2014 through a mutual artist friend on Twitter. The couple started STALPH in 2015.
UaZit, from Attica, also expressed interest in fashion at a young age. As a middle schooler, he taught himself to alter store-bought clothes to suit his unique and developing style.
“When we started working together, that’s where creative outlets have really blossomed,” WaZeil said. “We had a lot of creative outlets, and we were trying to figure out how to put them under one umbrella.”
UaZit is a musician and a wood and metal worker.
“When we first started, it was strictly art and music,” WaZeil said. “Over the past seven years, it has evolved in everything we have now. We launched the clothing collection in 2017. When we first started with the clothing collection, it was a little bit different than what it is now. We were printing our graphic designs on fabrics. We had a company that would print the fabric and we would make clothes out of that. It’s now a lot different.”
WaZeil said the couple drafts all their own patterns and do all the sewing and dyeing.
“All of our fabrics are plant-based and dyed with things we can find in nature, like plants, nuts or flowers, etc.,” WaZeil said.
UaZit said there are items like black walnuts and goldenrod they forage for in Attica.
WaZeil said they can forage for different items at different times of the year. For instance, black walnuts fall from trees in autumn.
“The colors are season-based that we can find,” WaZeil said. “It’s just native plants to Indiana, not just in the Attica area.”
The fabric for Fashion Week is sponsored by fabric-store.com.
“They are linen pieces and gender-neutral clothing,” WaZeil said. “It’s anything from jumpsuits to shirt and pant combos. It’s all pretty colorful.”
The couple’s vision as designers is focused on size inclusivity, sustainability and ethical material sourcing.
UaZit said the couple has an in-house workshop where they create and make all the textiles.
“We started the natural dyes and natural textiles in 2018,” WaZeil said. “It’s been a lot of reading and learning and trial and error, what dye materials work and which don’t, which ones are more permanent. We have our process down pat now. We’re always trying new things. We’ve learned a lot on how to keep our colors vibrant.”
The Indiana Fashion Week runway shows are set for 7:30 p.m. July 30 at Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway.