During the 9th Annual Chicago Fashion Show (a benefit for Live Out Loud Charity) held at the gorgeous Palmer House in downtown Chicago, there was a ethereal, bold designer that left the crowd awe inspired with her mix of textures and soft colors. Which designer is this you ask? None other than doviArt. The visionary behind the designs, creator Dovile Riebschlager. Let’s get to know her.
An interview with Dovile Riebschlager.
Q: What inspired you to become a designer and to create the types of pieces you do?
A: I cannot remember the time I didn’t want to be an artist or more specifically a fashion designer. As long as my memory carries me back I was drawing the princesses in fancy gowns, even had at age 9 my small “business” of paper dolls; I was drawing dolls with complete set of clothes for a price of cinnamon roll. When other children were watching animation, I was tuned into fashion shows. I never got the chance to study fashion formally. The Vilnius Art Academy (the only place in Lithuania, where I was born, where you could study fashion design) was accepting only 5 students every second year and in addition the system was corrupted. I decided to study textile, the second closest thing. I was sewing my own clothes since 13 and people around me started noticing how I dress and asking me to make something for them. The set of clothes for one young woman who was about to go for a semester to Italy got noticed there. When she returned, the first thing she did, she called me to say that people in Rome and Milan were stopping her on the street to compliment her outfits. Still for me that was only a compliment. A few years later my best friend, a ballerina, asked to design a stage costume first for her, then for her entire troupe. Still I wasn’t considering to get into fashion. A year later, while still a student, I was hired by a design studio to make textile surface designs, which got international attention. While working there one of the clients asked if we could create a collection of clothes. I tried doing some sketches along with other designers just for fun and they bought my designs. The same year my sketches were accepted to a big fashion event, juried by guest judges from Paris… and I never got to see that on the runway, because I entrusted the sewing to a professional seamstress, I didn’t trust myself… she never finished it in time.
Life then threw me a major curveball when I decided instead of going to work for a German company to take a short 6 month trip to Chicago, to learn English. I got married, gave birth, divorced, with nobody’s help raised my son, graduated from college, worked 2-3 jobs in Corporate America as a graphic designer and adjunct faculty in two colleges, until economy and a fall from stairs, stopped me. Laying in bed in a fetal position from pain, waiting for the spine surgery for more than a month I had plenty of time to think. I was in so much pain I wanted to die, I was considering a suicide, only my son was keeping me alive. What’s next, what will I do, how can we survive? I was the sole breadwinner in our small family. Fast forward couple years when I was again invited to the fashion show with my accessories, I decided – I only live once, the next year is not guaranteed for anybody, especially me with the failing health. I didn’t care anymore what others will think, judge or whatever. So November 2016 I presented my first collection.
After more than two decades I am back to fashion design and life never was better. When I work on new designs, I feel alive, I can finally breathe. I cannot honestly say how I create, to me it feels that it just happens. Sometimes it’s a dream, sometimes I see a fabric and design just pops in my head. Once I know the more I work the more interesting ideas I to my imagination.
Q: How can models and fashion admirers find out more about your collections and shows?
A: The best way is through the social media, follow me on the Facebook, like my page – Dovile Riebschlager: Artist, or doviArt. My handle on the Instagram is dovilepar, on Twitter I am dovile_doviler, but have to be honest here I rarely use Twitter, somehow haven’t figured out this platform. I also have a Pinterest account under my name Dovile Riebschlager. I am also building my email list, if you want to be included in it, just email me at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What shows/productions have you showcased in or publications are you most proud of being featured in?
A: I have already been in 4 annual shows in Lithuanian World Center; Stop the Silence, fashion show benefiting Domestic Violence Awareness, several fashion shows organized, by LH Couture VIP, and of course the show I am the most proud of – 9th Annual Chicago Show for LOLC charity, organized and produced by Sherrie Gearheart.
The photos with my designs from photo shoot in Old Joliet Prison organized and directed by Renee Schweikle was featured in “Red Silk Carpet” magazine, The Joliet Herald-News. Other publications include media coverage of the 9th Chicago Fashion Show in “Iliveinamagazine” and “Tiara” magazine. I am very proud and thankful to everyone, who made it possible. Have to admit the proudest I am to be published in “Vogue” Italia thanks to JP Jerusalem and Denisa Coca.
Q: Why did you choose to showcase in the Live Out Loud Charity, 9th Annual Chicago Fashion Show held at the Palmer House?
A: I knew and admired from the distance the work of Live Out Loud. The cause against suicide and bullying is very personal. I had a major depression early in my life and had very strong suicidal thoughts. There was no psychological help at that time in Lithuania, I survived only because of art and turning into my spiritual side. My son was severely bullied and damaged at school, he was considering suicide and started cutting. I worked so much at that time that we barely saw each other and at the young age he decided not to burden me with his problems. The thought that I was so close of losing him still gives me shivers. I will support this cause with everything I can.
*Photos by Cuauhtemoc Campos.
*Producer: Sherrie Gearheart