Amanda Vaughn-Redmon and Molly Grace at the counter in Kleur
Professionally trained fashion designer Amanda Vaughn-Redmon has lived in Winston-Salem for years, but she is now anchored to the downtown scene . The 35-year-old designer is showcasing her line at Kleur, a boutique that just opened on 6th Street, sandwiched between Liberty and Trade.
She is a co-owner of the shop with artist Molly Grace and leather goods designer Emma Wallace. She is currently the only fashion designer whose clothing the shop sells.
Redmon grew up in Wilmington, NC, but always spent time in Winston-Salem on family trips. Before even graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a Bachelors in Fashion Design in 2005, she already had a job lined up to design for Urban Outfitters. She decided to return to North Carolina from Urban Outfitter’s headquarters in Philadelphia after six years of global travel and experience to live closer to her family. She has been creating her line, which she named Formation, in Winston-Salem for about five years, and continues to freelance design for companies like Urban Outfitters and Belk.
“I don’t do a lot of super structured or sexy cuts,” Redmon said. “I’m a tomboy myself, so it influences my designs too. I love neutral colors and layering big, drapey clothes .”
She describes her design aesthetic as asymmetrical, geometrical, androgynous, and transitional.
Redmon’s comfortable clothes are one of a kind. She is the sole creator of her clothing, which is available at Kleur, online at formationdesignstudio.com, and in select boutiques across the United States. She sews each piece in her studio located in her 1960’s California-style ranch home outside downtown.
She generally only sews small batches of around 10-15 replicas of each design.
“Exclusiveness is key,” Redmon said. “There aren’t hundreds of these designs on the market. I operate under a small-batch philosophy, so it’s like I’m making a new capsule collection every month or so.”
Redmon said she pictures artists wearing her clothes- “people that are a little edgier and aren’t scared to express themselves.”
People-watching downtown is one of Redmon’s favorite sources of inspiration.
“Urban [Outfitters] used to send me all around Europe for shopping but more importantly for people watching,” Redmon said. She said that she loved seeing people experiment with unique pants and patterns.
“It is so cool to me to see what a person’s look is. Winston-Salem has so much more of that than you would think. There are so many creative people living and working here.”
The main goal of Kleur is to foster a sense of community downtown as a boutique, in terms of fashion and beyond, according to co-owner Molly Grace. The shop carries a variety of vintage, curated pieces, and found goods, in addition to Redmon’s designs.
Kleur’s owners say that fashion lovers downtown are ready to embrace locally produced clothes. Redmon said her designs, which range in price from $50-300, have been selling well at Kleur.
“I’m excited to see her [work]. To see trendy, local, handmade fashion downtown is so exciting,” said Lia Palacios while dressed in a comfortable black dress. Lia lives and works downtown as a hair stylist.
Grace said that the shop has felt supported by the downtown neighborhood and the broader indie community .
“Aperture, Krankie’s, Camino- all those guys remember what it was like to be in our shoes as a startup,” said Grace.
Redmon and Grace met while modeling in a fashion show several years ago and kept in touch over the years, according to Redmon. About a year ago they decided to collaborate to open the store, along with Wallace.
“I was interested as soon as Molly approached me about the idea for the store,” Redmon said. “There had maybe been a boutique or two that weren’t chains in Winston before this, but nothing else aesthetically matching our shop.”
Kleur also will host events and artistic, instructional workshops, in addition to functioning as a boutique. Grace said that her first thought is not about profits.
“Our whole goal is to foster community ,” Grace said.
A look instead Kleur, which just opened on 6th Street
The shop is currently using Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site, to generate a backup fund for its future community workshops and discussion groups.
“We have a certain goal to give us a cushion to stay open and be able to open workshops with a low cost or that are entirely free,” said Grace.
Most of the goods at Kleur are held on consignment, so the seller receives a large portion of the profits. While a typical company would take 40% of the profits, Kleur is keeping their portion of the profits in the 20% range to support the people whose goods they carry, according to Grace.
Redmon has high hopes for the Winston-Salem fashion scene.
“There’s not a scene per-say quite yet, but there’s plenty of people downtown with style who know what’s going on,” Redmon said. “Hopefully there will be [a scene] one day once there is more fashion at downtown’s fingertips.”
Redmon said that her younger sister and fellow Winston-Salem resident, photographer Jennifer Vaughn, has been her partner in crime and has photographed her work for years.
“I think the main thing that has made [Amanda] successful is her passion and drive,” Vaughn said. “She knew what she wanted to do early on and followed her dream. She is constantly moving forward and branching out to new ideas and designs.”
Check out @formationdesign on Instagram to see more photos of Formation pieces.