Stitching for the Stars
Menomonie tailor gives celebrity service to locals, stars alike
Erin Hogan-Braker was calm as could be, snacking on a slice of chocolate chip banana bread and sipping coffee at Acoustic Cafe in Menomonie. Her phone, on the other hand, was buzzing constantly. She shared a few of the messages she was getting; stylists from Los Angeles and New York were texting to request appointments with some of the tailors with Erin’s business, 7th Bone Tailoring. “Hi. Do you have anyone available to tailor today at noon for Mimi Cuttrel?” one text read.
Erin explained that an appointment from Mimi probably means tailoring for fashion model Gigi Hadid, or Priyanka Copra, the actor, singer, and film producer who recently married Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.
“Truly when you open your closet and you have less things, but each item fits you perfectly, you don’t want more.” – Erin Hogan-Braker
A few minutes later, she received another text to the SOS line looking for a tailor, again, for noon that day.
Erin started 7th Bone Tailoring in New York City in 2011. Her work is just one step in the complicated system of celebrity style. For many famous figures, every photo-worthy moment is styled by a professional, who coordinates with designers, makeup artists, hairstylists, tailors, and many more people to lock in a given look. 7th Bone Tailoring alters clothing to perfectly fit models on the street or in the studio.
“Celebrities are just amazing at understanding how the clothing photographs, how to move in a photo, what’s going to work for their bodies,” Erin said. “For every celebrity we work with, I can tell you they are the hardest working people. Even if you’re watching footage of them lounging on a beach, they’re not. They’re working. They’re on a photoshoot.” It’s their job to make it look easy, Erin has heard Jennifer Lopez, one of 7th Bone’s clients, say.
It’s a fast-paced business that requires focus, a steadiness, and professional skill.
“You actually have to know everything about garment construction to walk into that room, because these are not the people you learn on,” Erin said. “It could be reconstructing a gown for Beyoncé in two hours. And you don’t get a second fitting.”
In the industry, people who can work in this kind of environment and tailor perfectly on the fly are said to have “Golden Hands.” Erin used to paint her nails gold because she wanted them so bad. One of her mentors, Nelson Arriaga, told her that no one is a master tailor until they die – Erin maintains a bit of modesty when she speaks of her own skill.
Erin has many ties to Menomonie, from family to friends to her connection with UW-Stout as an alumnus of the Apparel Design program. In 2017, she decided to move into town and open up Stitched Up Menomonie, a 110 square foot tailoring studio with a vintage and designer clothing selection. Her small workspace (Second floor of 110 Main St., Menomonie) has big windows and an airy feel.
Stitched Up is open by appointment for shopping and fittings. A collection of vintage and styled denim, fun graphic sweatshirts, and sturdy classics draw in a clientele of college students, while tailoring services attract people of all ages and backgrounds.
“What’s great about this store is that you can walk in here and expect to be your own designer,” Erin said. They specialize in denim, bridal, and suiting, but can provide alterations for skirts, dresses, and other pieces. They also offer wardrobe management services, where they can visit your home by appointment to reduce and perfect a closet so that every piece is a joy to wear.
“Truly when you open your closet and you have less things, but each item fits you perfectly, you don’t want more,” Erin said. It eliminates the clutter that can make dressing in the morning stressful and unsatisfying.
The tailoring services Stitched Up offers is a throwback to decades past, when garments were more expensive and made with less forgiving fabric. Erin points out that these factors required people to either tailor their own clothes or work with professionals. Now, it’s not so common practice, but tailoring gives an undeniable polish to a favorite suit or shirt.
“It’s like a hairstylist. When you find that person who knows your look and what you’re going for, you want to stay with them for a long time.” She has been hemming for some of her clients since she opened the first Stitched Up in New York City in 2008 – she even has a system down pat for the quarter-inch difference between one of her customers’ leg lengths. “To have a tailor is to have a life-long relationship.” Erin said.
Stitched Up Menomonie is open by appointment and during Downtown Menomonie events. They also host pop-up shops in Eau Claire. To schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.