Fashion isn’t always born on the runways of Paris, London or New York.
Omaha designer Alexia Thiele, a promising young woman who is well-respected in fashion circles, is earning a reputation and making contacts among Hollywood’s elite.
Since we last spoke, Thiele has created a pretty extensive client list including up-and-coming actresses, music celebrities and a major television network. She’s hosting an Omaha fashion show Saturday.
Thiele’s name has been dropped in celebrity circles. Her connection to indie music plays a role — husband Jacob Thiele of the Faint models for her. He’ll do sound during the runway show. But her work speaks for itself.
Thiele has been the go-to stylist for many. What makes her an attractive designer is her laid-back sense of glamour. She’s a petite, platinum blonde with tattooed arms. Her appearance is always changing. One moment she’s brunette, the next she’s blonde.
She’s the ideal super-cool rocker chic girlfriend, which is probably why Jacob snatched her up. His engagement present was a French bulldog, not a ring. Margot was a rescue dog the couple saved five years ago.
Alexia Thiele’s attitude about making it in the fashion industry turns heads. Omaha is home. She doesn’t feel she has to leave the place she loves in order to make it. Instead, indie bands approach her for threads from her poppy, indie rocker clothing line, Autopilot Art.
She’s made dresses for the Mynabirds, for instance. The women have worn them during press and promotional events. She’s designed shirts for several bands to take on tour.
She’s made dresses for actress Mae Whitman, who did the voice of the title character in the Disney animated film “Tinker Bell.” The young actress wore Thiele’s floral vintage-inspired dress to the film’s red carpet premiere. Thiele also made a jumper and shirt for a Lifetime network movie.
“I’ve been working super hard at getting my company’s name out there and expanded in the last couple years to do more and more wardrobe work for TV and movies,” Thiele said.
She’s created a few original pieces — including a motorcycle jacket with cotton sleeves in a plaid print and a mod, 1960s-styled dress in mismatched plaid and floral prints — for NBC’s popular drama “Parenthood.” She sent a box full of clothes to the network.
Thiele served as the head costume designer and did wardrobe for the indie film “Seafarer,” a short film about a struggling 20-something singer-songwriter who ends up in Omaha. She is also penciled-in as costume designer of a few cable shows in the works.
On Saturday, art, fashion and music hipsters will cram into the Hot Shops Art Center, 1301 Nicholas St., to support her 7 p.m. catwalk.
Autopilot wear includes hooded sweatshirts, dresses, T-shirts and skirts. Her garments are hand-dyed, silk-screened, stitched, appliquéd and quilted, all by Thiele. She also uses vintage curtains and tablecloths in her pieces. In fact, 70 percent of her collection is made from recycled material.
For Omaha Fashion Week two years ago, she made a vintage homemade tablecloth into a gown.
“I love ripping stuff up and sewing it back together,” she said. “I’ve always liked to reuse and recycle things.”
Thiele’s Autopilot Art collection has definitely matured. She has added a children’s line and outdoor wear. Her children’s hoodies are crowd-pleasers. She attaches teddy bear ears to the hoods. Expect to see lots of adorable pint-size models Saturday. A handful of infants will sport snap-up onesies she made out of repurposed vintage concert shirts from rock bands such as the Ramones.
“That all aside,” Thiele said, “I have been working my tail off getting a runway show together where babies, kids, teens and adults will be walking together.”
Her new collection has “a laid-back, summery feel. It’s softer than the traditional Autopilot look.”
Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. DJ Brent Crampton will spin before the show and acoustic music will follow. Clothes will hang throughout the gallery room for viewing and purchase. Colorful silk-screening shirts and hoodies range in price from $55 to $85. The more labor intensive pieces fetch more, up to $250.
Cover: $5 suggested donation. Information: www.autopilot-art.com