Student designer 'makes America grunge again' one thread at a time


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Courtesy Photo | Chloe Tulgestke

For Roscommon junior Chloe Tulgetske, it took only six months to learn how to sew and create her "Cherry Bomb" collection. 

Like her everyday wardrobe, Tulgetske's collection channels the "Riot Grrrl" energy of grunge bands like Bikini Kill, Hole and the more modern Pussy Riot. 

"My personal aesthetic is this sort of pop punk, grunge mix with an occasional hint of minimalism," Tulgetske said, explaining that her taste originates from listening to rock music with her dad. 

Growing up with frequent jam sessions, Tulgetske was quick to idolize female figures in a male-dominated genre. As opposed to the male-led Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, she said she was drawn to the 1990s front women of Garbage and the Blake Babies.

This appreciation led Tulgetske to produce grunge art through her own means of creation. Her pieces use solid colors, like black and red, to make unique impressions.

"As a whole, it's quite dark and I don't wear very many colors, but that's who I am and how I've always been. It really represents me," she said. 

"Cherry Bomb" was featured in the 2018 Threads Fashion Show at Central Michigan University. It uses red vinyl, lace and faux fur to project an energy Tulgetske described as "unapologetic." The collection caught the attention of the fashion show's special guest, Dior Fashion Illustrator Bil Donovan, who spared a moment to draw it.

"When people look at my work, I really hope that they're inspired (to) challenge their personal style and (search) outside what is generally accepted," she said. 

Tulgetski took courses that introduced her to sewing at CMU. The classes showed her she could "make America grunge again" one vision at a time. With a needle and thread tattooed on her wrist, Tulgetske devoted this past summer and current semester to advancing her sewing technique and creating a new collection. 

"Right now, it has more of a darker, punk feel than my last one," she said. "I'm really excited for it because I think it will show off a little more of who I am than my last one." 

Tulgetske said her hometown of Roscommon -- a village of 1,042 residents as of 2016 -- is a place where Ugg boots, leggings and North Face zip-up jackets reign. 

"I dressed very different than most and with it being such a small school, it tended to (draw) more attention," she said.

She identifies as a young punk who pays no mind to what others may think. 

"It's easier said than done, but I think everyone has a little bit of punk in them -- whether they're willing to admit it or not, because it's not necessarily (a) style, but more of an attitude that everyone should aspire to have." 

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About Samantha Shriber

Samantha Shriber is a staff reporter at Central Michigan Life and is a Saint Clair Shores ...

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