Arts & Culture
2:06 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Boutique, Artist Celebrate Creative Fabric of Third Ward

A renowned artist is helping a Third Ward clothing boutique mark its 10th birthday - in a unique way.

Lela Boutique in the Third Ward celebrates 10 years of business.
Lela Boutique in the Third Ward celebrates 10 years of business.
Credit Lela

Clothing isn't just fashion to artist Reginald Baylor; for him, “it’s a wearable art.”

As a renowned artist, Baylor is known more for the paintings of his Third Ward studio than as a clothing designer. But he's trying his hand in the fashion world for a good cause.

Fellow Third Ward business owner Carrie Arrouet  asked Baylor to help celebrate her boutique Lela's 10th anniversary by designing a unique fabric.

Five yards of Baylor’s fabric was then given to 10 designers that Arrouet has worked with over the past 10 years. Their designs will be revealed at anniversary celebration (and will be for sale).

Baylor says he was honored to collaborate with Arrouet for the celebration. He says it's a fitting application of his art.

"The process to create a wonderful garment is the same process it is to create a work of art of sculpture," he says.

The collaboration is also a natural fit given both of their affection for the Third Ward. While Baylor is a relatively new tenant, Arrouet has seen the area's decade-long development.

“The Third Ward was the place to be,” Arrouet says. “There wasn’t a lot there. However, it did have a percolating artistic slant that there were people who knew about the neighborhood, knew their galleries and artists in the neighborhood, and we took the risk.”

Back then, Arrouet felt Milwaukee and the Third Ward were missing something:  a friendly boutique that had forward-thinking fashion without the attitude.

“Pop culture has really moved fashion into mainstream conversation,” Arrouet says. “We have tons of television and social media that makes fashion very accessible. But ten years ago, that really wasn’t the case.”

Arrouet believes that Lela still offers the friendly boutique service that welcomes people to find clothes that make them feel good about themselves. Through collaborations, like the one with Baylor, Arrouet feels she's encouraging artistic growth and change within the Third Ward.

Lela’s 10th anniversary celebration will be held on September 14th and its actual anniversary is October 10th.