Kent resident’s work to appear in local fashion show

Cindy Marlatt woke up one day and decided it wasn't too late to go for her dreams.

Cindy Marlatt designed a nine peice set for The Art Institute of Seattle's student fashion show.

Cindy Marlatt designed a nine peice set for The Art Institute of Seattle's student fashion show.

Cindy Marlatt woke up one day and decided it wasn’t too late to go for her dreams.

The 59-year-old Kent woman owned a funeral home with her husband and had two children, but felt something was missing.

“I had this wonderful life, but I just didn’t feel fulfilled,” Marlatt said. “I have sewn all my life and thought now was the time to try and design clothes. I needed a creative break, I’d been a funeral director nonstop for 23 years and it was time to be bold.”

Marlatt enrolled at the Art Institute of Seattle for fashion design. She’s been in the program for almost three years now and showed nine of her designs at the school’s fashion show on March 8.

“The theme for my clothing set is office to evening,” Marlatt said. “Going to work in comfort is my main focus. I always mix artistry with comfort and functionality.”

The show is student-produced and the clothing is inspired by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s, “The Rite of Spring.” When designing, students thought about conveying clothes that seemed to transition from dark and intense to light and whimsical as the season moves from fall/winter to spring/summer.

Marlatt wants women in the audience to be able picture wearing her pieces every day when they see her designs on the runway.

“I hope people will think my set is beautiful and that it will feel good on their body,” she said.

Marlatt started designing clothes for her mom and siblings when she was a little girl.

“There was just no money in our family and my dear mother had no fashion sense,” she said, laughing. “Then I grew up and designed clothes for my kids.”

Marlatt feels age hasn’t been much of an issue for her at the school.

“It’s been wonderful, everyone respects me and I’ve enjoyed the students and the teachers are great,” she said. “I have had more trouble with computers than the younger students, but I also had an advantage because I’m not afraid to work long hours. So, I’ve made up for that disability with determination.”

Through the program, Marlatt was able to go to New York City to do a three-month internship at Ann Taylor in Times Square.

“I was in heaven. I felt like I was in the heart of fashion land,” she said. “I did a lot of sketching for them. I maintained the swatch books and did whatever the managers needed.”

Marlatt’s husband, children and grandchildren came to visit her in the city.

“My husband has just been wonderful and gracious,” she said. “His support has meant so much to me.”

Marlatt received many new skills from the school.

“I’ve mastered Adobe Illustrator, technology packages, pattern-making and draping,” she said.

Fabric is what gives Marlatt ideas for her designs.

“I’m really inspired by fabric, a lot of designers start with a sketch, but I struggle if I don’t have the fabric in my hands to begin with,” she said. “If I’m feeling down, I will go into a fabric store and just touch them. Fabric tells me what to do with it.”

Marlatt hopes to open her own clothing line, providing clothes to Nordstrom and local boutiques.

“I want to produce high-end products because I love the beautiful fabric like silk and wool,” she said.

Marlatt has advice for anyone feeling afraid to go for their dreams.

“Just go for it, life is too short,” she said. “If you have a deep desire to do something, don’t let something silly like age hold you back. I can’t imagine my life without having done this; I feel like a part of my soul was missing and I’m now fulfilled.”

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