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Aurora designer builds path to market for other fashion entrepreneurs

skye barker maa.jpg
Posted at 10:08 AM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 12:08:24-05

AURORA, Colo. — Starting a business takes a leap of faith not everyone can make. But, a fashion designer from Aurora stepped out of her comfort zone and onto the runway to launch her own clothing line. Now, she's trying to remove barriers that might be holding other artists back.

Skye Barker Maa isn't just talking the talk of entrepreneurship. She's walking it.

"I think that I try to be fearless," said Barker Maa. "That's the biggest thing that I approach as an entrepreneur."

She's always had an affinity for the arts, like music, theater, and of course fashion.

"To create and put yourself out there is so brave," said Barker Maa. "I have such respect for it, and to be doing it myself is unnerving."

She launched her own clothing line called Skye Aire at Denver Fashion Week. The line was inspired by a trip to the aquarium with her son.

"I saw a gorgeous pink and red octopus," said Barker Maa. "So this is our take on an octopus."

"Every one of these pieces is aquatic. There's a vertebrae, there's a few octopi, there's our stingrays."

Now she's offering a path to market for other aspiring designers, with her studio called Factory Fashion at Stanley Marketplace.

"Our sewers and designers work with local designers to sew their creations," said Barker Maa. "They come to us with their designs, and then we put them into motion."

She employs help from the refugee community, where sewing is a common language, and offers workers full salary and benefits.

They do small batch manufacturing, with no minimum orders for designers just starting out.

"One aspect that's been complicated for designers is just having the time and money to get their collections made," said Barker Maa.

She thinks Denver is underrated as a fashion hub. People just need an outlet to break the mold.

"I love it when I'm walking down the street, and I see people getting outside of the 'Pata-Gucci' that we love to wear in Denver," said Barker Maa. "You can wear something that's bright and bold and you can walk the streets of Denver now."

So, to prove it, she walked the runway herself in the biggest statement piece of all, hoping to inspire the next generation local creators.

"I've always supported other artists by hosting their concerts, or their theater productions, or producing other designs," said Barker Maa.

So, this is the first time I'm actually a vulnerable artist, putting my own work out there.

She also works with youth designers ages 8 to 16 years old to introduce them to the industry, and she hosts sewing classes.