After spending two semesters abroad in Paris, SMU senior Whitney Wolfe returned to the Hilltop with big ideas. Influenced by the art, fashion and culture of the city of lights, Wolfe opted to channel her newfound creative energy towards a fashion-centric, non-profit venture. Wolfe along with celebrity stylist friend Patrick Aufdenkamp, whose client list includes the likes of Shenae Grimes and The Kardashians, decided to merge their talents and start the “Help Us Project.”
The “Help Us Project” began, in response to the environmental crisis caused by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as a line of organic bamboo totes with proceeds benefitting the Ocean Futures Society.
Since the organization’s launch in July, Wolfe’s “Help Us” bags have gained national media buzz with celebrities like Rachel Zoe, Nicole Richie, Kate Bosworth and Denise Richards all “carrying” the cause.
Now just months after the instant success of her first company, Wolfe introduces a second business with design partner Aufdenkamp. This time around they started a clothing line called Tender Heart.
Her new line, although not a non-profit, still has an impacting message of human trafficking and fair trade awareness behind it.
Tender Heart’s first collection features relaxed tie-dyed designs all made in Nepal.
“You don’t hear of many clothes made in Nepal because everything is made in China these days,” Wolfe said.
For Wolfe and Aufdenkamp’s first attempt at clothing design they wanted to keep it simple with a Spring 2011 collection featuring just seven pieces.
“It was an experiment; we wanted to start with seven pieces because we didn’t want to waste money if it wasn’t going to respond well,” she said about the collection consisting of two pairs of pants, a skirt and four dresses.
Luckily the line has been responding very well with buyers; just last month Tender Heart was picked up by two major retailers, Kitson and Intermix, in the Los Angeles market.
The designs won’t be in stores until Spring 2011, so Wolfe has decided to make Tender Heart available exclusively to SMU students at a trunk show this Thursday.
“It’s comfortable, casual and cheap,” Wolfe said. “Not to mention, there is a good message behind it.”
You can preview and purchase the designs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ceylon et Cie, 1319 Dragon Street in Dallas Design District.