Sizzlin’ 6 with Serana Rose

Serana Rose. Photo by BrinnyD

We are so excited to have this talented artist, designer and performer at our Fashion Denver Anniversary Bonanza! Serana Rose is  such a colorful and unique individual and to see her personality shine in the designs she makes will surely add a splash of color to our event!

What was your first memory of fashion inspiration that you can remember?

My infatuation with unique fashion began during childhood.  I grew up on a angora goat farm where my mother taught me to sew, spin, weave, and card fibers.   These skills were useful in toy making as a kid, but when I got older I found a way to apply these skills to what I really love…making awesome clothes and accessories!

When I was about 10, I started obsessing over models flaunting gorgeous costumes in high fashion magazines.   I went to my first fashion show as a preteen.  Seeing these extraordinary handmade costumes and confident women sparkling on the runway changed the way I looked at wearing clothes. I saw this as a great form of self-expression and discovered that through fashion I can transform myself into all sorts of magic.

My mother supported this new found love.  She and I would look through designer catalogs for inspiration and create impressive looks for me to wear to school.  Stores in my small town did not carry anything close to the items I was wearing to school, thus spawned the monstrosity of Born Ugli Fashion.

Serana Rose at Fashion Denver's bonanza!
Serana Rose at Fashion Denver’s bonanza!

What motivated you to start your own fashion business?

Nothing makes me happier than an over-the-top fashion look.  My college major was Fashion Design, however I pursued a career in performance art.  I toured 7 years with the daredevil act called Show Devils.  While dangerous chainsaw stunts are great for grabbing an audience’s attention, a good corset will keep them watching. Sewing on the road kept me busy and happy.  I have tailored many costumes for performers and still sell Born Ugli fashion items at my shows.  You can catch my current sideshow act, Scissor Sweethearts, at the Denver County Fair this year.

Tell us one of your fashion icons or designer influences?

David Bowie will forever be the fashion icon I love most.  He has inspired me greatly with his androgynous fashion and his ability to transcend so many decades with a brilliant style matched with great jams.

I really like people with iconic fashion accessories.  It makes them memorable.  When you think Alice Cooper, you think of his snake.  Flavor Flave’s hilarious clock necklace collection, Michael Jackson’s white rhinestone glove, and Hello Kitty’s iconic bow….

…I am aware that they are all men except one is a cartoon character.  As far as female influences, I would have to say RuPaul is a very beautiful woman and has me hooked on runway looks… 

Born Ugli Photo by Sean Hartgrove
Born Ugli Photo by Sean Hartgrove

What inspires your designs?

Since I have led a freakishly charmed life of cheating death and wearing fabulous clothes, I have gathered much inspiration from characters I have met along the way.  I like to make clothes with as much personality as the person wearing them without overpowering… I think crazy loud styles should come off in a natural, organic way.  I love using flowers, natural fibers, recycled denim, lace, upholstery fabric, bridal rhinestones, dyes and pearls. 

My goal is to embody the classic simplicity of 1930’s burlesque, the free spirit and wild mannerisms of the 1960’s, the campy horror and glamour of the 80’s, the nonchalant attitude of the 90’s, and terror-able spelling-error slang of the 2000’s.  Yah dig?  Born Ugli?  Doughp. 

What are your thoughts about the fashion industry here in Denver?

I am not sure about the fashion industry here…  I may have only slightly tapped into it. 

I have lived here a short time and mostly submerged myself in the tattoo, horror and freak show genres.   I have noticed people dress fairly conservatively and enjoy marijuana related fashion items, which I can’t argue with.  Denver seems to love creative types and has embraced my art with a smile.  I think I will stay forever.

What is one of your favorite pieces that you have ever designed and why?

One of my favorite pieces to design was the tails suit jacket I made for the Illustrated Penguin.  He is a natural born wonder without arms.  He is 4’3”…the exact height of an emperor penguin.  Made with black shiny ornate satin to represent a shiny penguin, and specially tailored for a unique person.  I loved the challenge of unusual measurements and the fact i didn’t have to worry about making sleeves.

Art by Serana Rose
Art by Serana Rose

3 Things if stranded on an island?

All I would need is (besides a boat to get the hell out of there) is a great stash of green tea, my itunes playlists, and a pep squad of cute boys to keep my spirits up.

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