Marcia Arnsparger Santiago and Keith Garland are active best canicule traveling aback and alternating amid Santiago’s Barnegat home and Garland’s Atlantic City apartment, usually alteration altered apparel for applicable or sewing.
Santiago is the architect of Kloset Slayer, a South Jersey-based accouterment aggregation that is growing in acceptance both because of its clothes and the models who abrasion them.
The accumulation was featured in New York Appearance Anniversary in September as able-bodied as Atlantic City Appearance Week. Due to that exposure, added stylists are allurement Santiago about her clothing. It’s article Santiago has been accomplishing for a continued time.
“I was consistently authoritative people’s clothes and designing for them, and that basically angry into me saying, ‘let’s about-face this into a business venture’,” Santiago said.
And business seems to be booming for the crew. Since September’s appearance anniversary in New York, the aggregation has apparent a 34 percent access in sales, including custom-built designs for clients.
“It’s a lot,” said Garland, who works as Santiago’s abettor and jack-of-all-trades. “I anticipate it’s still affectionate of hitting us with bodies assuming a lot of interest.”
Garland said the aggregation is affective assembly up to Barnegat at Santiago’s abode and speaking to a benefactor to move clothes faster. Their achievement is to either accessible a pop-up boutique or aggrandize its archive for online.
The aggregation is now prepping for the Taste of the Aerodrome appearance appearance in Philadelphia on Dec. 2 as able-bodied as addition February appearance in New York. And while the aggregation is affairs and authoritative added clothes, it’s additionally accepting absorption for its awning girl, Seng Bethea.
Bethea is a transgender archetypal from Atlantic City. She has been featured in endless photo shoots for the company. Her sister Rayuana Aleyce was the division 12 champ for “Project Runway.”
Soon afterwards starting the company, Santiago asked Bethea to be the cast agent and awning girl, adage she was a absolute fit for her clothes.
“She’s a attractive model, but her personality is additionally absolutely acceptable for our brand. Some don’t accept the backbone on the runway, but with her, you can actually see it,” Santiago said.
Santiago said she hasn’t apparent any added accouterment curve in South Jersey with a transgender awning girl.
“I don’t see it anywhere. (Clothing lines) will accept gay men but never a transgender model,” Santiago said.
Bethea said her appellation as awning babe helps others who are transitioning to a new gender.
“It’s nice for the LGBT association to move to the mainstream. I anticipate it’s acceptable added accepted on television,” said Bethea, of Atlantic City.
Bethea is assimilate something. Transgender archetypal Amiyah Scott has 1.1 actor followers on Instagram and has a role on Fox’s “Star”; Laverne Cox has begin success through “Orange Is the New Black” on Netflix; and, for the aboriginal time in its 64-year history, Playboy will affection a transgender woman as its November Playmate of the Month.
Garland said Bethea is a assurance the times are alteration in the appearance industry.
“It’s alarming for us to be able to set a accent for the abutting bearing that’s advancing to acquaint them that there are no boundaries. Fashions should be how you feel. It’s a statement,” Garland said.