Elegance, Fashion, Elsa Fitzgerald

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”~ Coco Chanel

If you agree with the quote from the worldwide respected Coco Chanel, then this article is for you. Her Campus UBalt is proud to present Stacy Stube, alumni of the University of Baltimore running a fashion collection under the alias Elsa Fitzgerald; a combination of Elsa Schiaparelli (a fashion designer from the 1920s) and F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of the American classic The Great Gatsby. In 2013, Stacy returned to Indonesia, the country in which she was born, with the goal of starting a western-based fashion company. However, seeing her homeland fashion captivated her to merge the two styles and thus the fashion line Elsa Fitzgerald was born. The company is based between Bali and Baltimore. ‘I am fascinated with the way women cared for themselves during that time (1920s). They were elegant, flashy wild and free. They were not afraid to express themselves and danced with delight embracing their less than perfect aspects. The Balinese influence derived from the traditional dress that the women would wear to ceremonies. The lace garment so tantalizing for a religious practice, it honors the curves of the women’s body by highlighting her elegant stature. It doesn’t matter if she comes from a poor village or the royal family, when dressed in her kebaya a smile shines with a feminine power that arises from within.’

As of April, it has been two years since Elsa Fitzgerald had started; a brand that is slowly becoming popular and has earned clients from Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, and the USA. ‘When I first began design, there was a lengthy process of understanding the best practices, sourcing all the materials, learning a new culture, and process for doing business.’ Business began with an ideal fashion calendar but it shifted as soon as Stacy carefully considered the adverse impacts of mass production. ‘This approach to fashion is not what I signed up for when I began this journey many years ago,’ she states. So Stacy decided to challenge herself to join the slow fashion movement returning to traditional methods of making primarily by hand. It was no longer just about getting the products in on time and collecting money. It was about a commitment to making fashion of substance. Stacy, who is part Indonesian and part American, says that embracing her culture has played a role in her professional and personal progress.

As well as being a fashion designer, Stacy also teaches at a local orphanage and is a mentor to a select group of Indonesian women. The Nonprofit Management and Social Entrepreneurship graduate student began this endeavor when she visited a homeless shelter at the age of eleven, an adventure that changed her life forever. This experience engaged her to think of new ways to see how fashion could transform lives beyond surface aesthetics. Stacy’s struggle in the early days of building her own fashion company did not stand in the way of her dream to give something valuable to communities. As Elsa Fitzgerald began to take shape and become a part of the community, so did her teaching, which grew into Art Village Education Hub (AVEH). The classes have now become an English school, which is expanding into an artisan showroom.

‘It is not fashion in itself that influences my work; it is the financial vehicle to fund social impact initiatives. Fashion empowers communities if guided honorably.’

Stacy currently lives between Bali, Indonesia and Baltimore, Maryland where she continues to teach, design and create elegant dresses. Her designs and store can be found at www.elsafitzgerald.com