Wendy Pepper just opened a boutique in Shepherdstown, W.Va. She has been a finalist on Project Runway and moved to Shepherdstown because of what she called its eclectic vibe.

Fashion Designer Wendy Pepper Opens Boutique in Shepherdstown

SHEPHERDSTOWN – As the summer ended and one of the thrift stores in Shepherdstown, known as Needful Things Too closed its doors to the community, fashion designer Wendy Pepper began setting up her boutique in the same storefront. The space has received a big makeover, going from selling used clothes to handmade clothes. Pepper picked herself up and moved from Middleburg, Va., to Shepherdstown, W.Va., with intention to find inspiration here.

“It’s very inspiring to me to work with young people and older people. Women or men, I am energized by a wide variety of people,” Pepper said. The diversity the community holds is why Shepherdstown caught her eye. The one-of-a-kind quality of Shepherdstown and the university campus right in the middle of the town complements her designs, she said.

“I’m pretty sure that I chose fashion several lifetimes ago,” she said. Pepper described herself as creative, fearless, curious, mischievous, and passionate.

Without a doubt, fashion chose her. Talented and lucky enough to find herself as a finalist on season one of Project Runway was a propitious career experience. Pepper never lived in New York, nor did she go to design school.

“Each piece was the extreme form of inspiration for me. It allowed me to do anything I wanted, at the level that I wanted,” she said. She described the happening as a lifelong dream, as she got to create art-based fashion and show the collection at Bryant Park during Fashion Week.

While some of her work made it in Fashion Week, her fashion sense holds many different levels. Her designs range from an expensive, high-level couture line that is time intensive and handmade to a ready-to-wear line that is more affordable. She also creates jewelry and accessories.

One facet of her collection that she is beginning to expand is a process called upcycling. She wants the students of Shepherd University and the town as a whole to know about this creative element. Upcycling is a work of design that involves taking old clothes and refurbishing them into a different item. Such designs can be created through embellishment, printing, cutting them up and sewing them back together, or taking pieces of multiple pieces of recycled clothing and combining them.

“I like to live and work in my community. I feel like it’s an open door for people to come in and experience the world of fashion,” she said. Not only has she started productions with upcycling, but she also offers alterations. She does simple and complex alterations for men and women, and all of her machinery is in her shop.

Becoming a fashion designer is not easy. Fashion, like any art form, requires dedication and “a degree in fearlessness,” Pepper said. There will always be people who love or hate your work, she said, noting it’s important to create one’s own sense and hold on to it. If fledgling designers create a footprint and stick with it, they should be fine, she said.

Pepper said one of the reasons she moved to Shepherdstown is that she feels a warm and eclectic vibe and it is important to her as a person and as an artist. She said that she wants people to come to her boutique and make use of her profession because people inspire her and she wants to inspire everyone else in return.

“As an artist, living in a community where the energy is compatible with my profession is hard to put a value on,” Pepper said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.