Even for a growing clothing designer setting up shop in the Windy City, there’s no place like home.
Ten years removed from life in Plymouth, Allison Helliwell lists the outdoors as a significant inspiration, and lists Clifton E. French Park as a place of fond memories for her and her mom (and dog). These are carefully sewn into her career.
For her Chicago-based work, Helliwell intentionally uses Minnesota materials. Take her signature jacket for example. This beauty shows the designer’s own hand-knit details that she’s known for and hits the mid-thigh, making it perfect for a Minnesota fall wardrobe addition. Helliwell still buys the yarn that she works in her women’s ready-to-wear collection at shops in the area; one of her favorites is Amazing Threads, just a short drive up I-494 in Maple Grove.
Last spring, the 31-year-old was also a finalist at Minneapolis’s Sol Inspirations fundraiser, which had local designers racking their brains on how to use solar panels to go with its theme of everything recycled and unconventional.
What drives this entrepreneur is that she’s always been devoted to expressing her creativity. With her career, she says, “It’s something that I love doing, and isn’t it everybody’s dream to do what they love?” While finding inspiration from “pretty much anything and everything,” she says, “my spring/summer collection is like a modern twist on the ’70s [fashion].”
Helliwell called Plymouth home between the ages of 8 and 20, and in some ways she still does: While it’s been 10 years since being firmly rooted in town, she visits her parents when she can.
While the Illinois Institute of Art grad is away in Chicago, you can check out Allison Helliwell’s one-of-a-kind designs under her label's website, Allilamodie Original Clothes.