After learning in high school that fashion design could be a career, Laura Bavlnka worked backstage at Paris fashion shows, landed a corporate job in the industry — and then took a “leap of faith” and launched her own brand.
And in a world full of fast fashion, Bavlnka said she is trying to run Bavlnka Brand as ethically and responsibly as possible.
From her North Avenue atelier, Bavlnka works on a new clothing collection, makes jewelry, does elaborate alternation work — including on the most important dress a person will ever wear — and naturally dyes accessories. She also hosts workshops to teach others how to natural dye.
“I’m really creating something that is unique and that feels really good to me, and that suits the needs of people,” she said. “I want people to feel good about the clothes they’re wearing. And if I can help them to do that, that makes me so happy.”
High school art teachers fostered her passion for fashion
Bavlnka always had an interest in fashion and an entrepreneurial spirit. In high school at Wauwatosa West, she made her own tote bags from upholstery fabric, then started selling them to other students. She also made and sold custom garters for prom.
Selena Marris, who’s been an art instructor at West for two decades, was the first person who told Bavlnka that fashion design could be a profession.
Marris said Bavlnka stood out for how she always asked a lot of questions, appreciated feedback and went the extra mile on projects. Marris still remembers a cocktail dress