To learn more about Lila Morency, visit lilamorency.com.
For more information about Morency's fundraising campaign, go to indiegogo.com/projects/fashion-show-milan-sept-2013.
View a scrolling page of more Lila Morency-designed attire at newhive.com/aimeemay/lila-morency-fashion .
Follow Aimee Heckel on Twitter at twitter.com/aimeemay and on Facebook at @boulderandbeautiful.
Boulder, we have been redeemed. In the highest way possible.
The words "Boulder" and "fashion" have long been antonyms. We all know this. We don't even care enough to try to dispute it.
Several years ago, GQ even deemed Boulder one of the worst-dressed cities in America, citing several tragic offenses: too much Patagonia, fanny packs, Crocs in the spring and Uggs in the summer (because when else?).
Luckily, GQ missed our profuse fluorescent mandex, the toe shoes, the tie-dye, the flip-flops in winter and the required uniform for all 20- to 35-year-olds in city limits: skintight yoga pants, a baggy tee, furry boots and a 19-foot scarf, even in summer.
But out of this fleecy abyss and above the itchy dreadlocks of Boulder, a miracle has arisen.
And that miracle is gearing up to bring her couture fashion designs to Fashion Week Milan.
Lila Morency, 25, lived in Boulder for 10 years. And she credits the city for playing a pivotal role in the types of fabric she chooses (eco-friendly is crucial) and, yes, even her designs (beautiful, yet practical and comfortable).
Granted, Morency got far out of Boulder right after high school; she's now living in Italy.
But she points to her senior project at Peak to Peak Charter School as the catalyst for her choice to enter the fashion industry. She and a friend organized a fashion show with original outfit designs, which they auctioned off to raise $800 for the school.
"The show helped me find my passion," Morency wrote in a recent an Internet chat exchange. "I had no idea that it would be such an important moment for me and my future career."
After high school, she moved to Como, Italy, where she started working for a small fashion design studio. She graduated at the top of her class from the prestigious Marangoni Institute in Milan and now works for internationally known English brand Fred Perry in Biella, Italy.
In the fall, she launched her own collection. She describes it as elegant, feminine, practical and romantic, in that she loves soft shapes and draping fabric. Morency's first three dresses (prototypes that weren't for sale) appeared in a Florence fashion show, were highly requested by stylists for photo shoots and even were featured in fashion calendars and magazines, Morency says.
It's time for the next leap, Morency says. She has an "in" into the world-famous Fashion Week Milan, where she hopes to attract buyers and media attention in September. Then she can create a line people can purchase.
The catch? The cost to pursue this dream.
"High-end fashion is not only expensive to purchase, but it's even more expensive to launch a fashion brand in Milan," Morency says. "I know that I'm taking a huge leap, but it's so the right thing for me to do right now. I just feel it."
To pay for the show (think: crew, models, photographers, hair, makeup, video, caterers -- not to mention the cost to produce the clothes), Morency says she needs about 50,000 Euros (about $66,000 U.S.). She's running an indiegogo "crowdfunding" campaign (indiegogo.com/projects/fashion-show-milan-sept-2013) through May 27 with hopes of collecting enough donations. Donors get various incentives, including the grand prize of two tickets to the fashion show to rub elbows with some of the most influential faces in the fashion world.
"The great things about this crowdfunding website is that together we can make a difference," Morency says. "Not one single person, but a team of people, that come join forces, because we are stronger when we work together."
In that, you could say this truly has the potential to be Boulder's high-fashion line.
There's still thousands of dollars to go and not much time, but Morency is not easily dissuaded.
"When I have a feeling this strong, I must act," she says.
If nothing else, Morency says, she hopes to inspire others to not be afraid to aim for something huge.
"I want to reawaken the thrill of dreaming within people and the beauty of working hard to attain a goal," she says.