RYE, Colo. — Navigating through the pandemic has been difficult for many small businesses, including a clothing designer in Rye, whose creative designs have sparked greater conversation. AnaKacia Shifflet named her business after her two daughters. It’s called “Averil Marie Collections,” and her designs have caught the eye of many, including the owner of Soirée Bridal Boutique in Colorado Springs, and that’s where FOX21’s Sarah Ferguson sat down with Shifflet, to learn what she has been doing to deal with the pandemic.
Shifflet says the process started like any other. “I knew I wanted to create a dress from scratch, to kind of show the process, like drawing a dress, making a dress,” said AnaKacia Shifflet, owner of Averil Marie Collections. She knew, however, that the dress was not going to look like just any other dress. “And, I was just angry that day. So part of how I felt how do I deal with this? How can I cope with what is happening, and I proposed a therapy project.
Her therapy project included something she never thought she would do to one of her designs. “I said to my husband, I think I just need to throw some paint. I’m so angry, I’m so frustrated and I think I just need to throw some paint. Shifflet expected the dress to be destroyed, but after the project was completed, she said she loved it. “I wanted each step to have meaning, so I started throwing black paint, which was that initial kick in the gut of Covid, then I poured gold paint to represent us trying to be strong, then I poured blue paint, just different colors of blue, and c It was a very moving project.
Shifflet’s project painted a broader picture of the impact of the pandemic on his business, as well as so many others. The project also caught the attention of the owner of Colorado Wedding Magazine, who asked Shifflet to write a story and use the dress in a photo shoot.
There was only one problem though, and that was that the painted dress was stuck to the mannequin. Also at the time, Shifflet couldn’t make new dresses, as she’s also considered a Covid ‘long hauler’. “I still have days where I just have to sleep, the fatigue is just too much, the muscle weakness is too much, I just have to sleep, so I couldn’t do dresses for this event, for the models, I just knew that I couldn’t do it.
So instead, Shifflet decided to use the previous dresses she made and reconstructed them to fit the models and the vision for the shoot. It allowed her to recreate the process she went through in her studio and gave her the opportunity to share the experience with others.
To capture the experience for The Colorado Wedding Magazine, Shifflet chose Pueblo photographer Stephanie “Jean” Graston. “It’s more than just a photograph, you can see the story and you can visually see how beautiful the women are, the painting, the art behind it, and it really brings it all together,” Stephanie said. Jean” Graston, owner. by Jean Graston Photography.
Today you can also see the photos in The Colorado Wedding Magazine, which talks about the impacts of Covid on small businesses and those who have been diagnosed with it. “It’s just our whole story and we’re all part of it, and we all had different views on how it happened, but we all felt it,” Shifflet said.