Virginia E. Berry, Designer, Maker, Picker
Born in rural Minnesota, Berry was an active and creative child. Her grandmother was an avid quilter and whenever she stayed at grandma’s she would play with scrap fabric and make things – clothes for dolls, from scratch stuffed animals, miniature quilts. She also took classes in the fine arts and had paintings displayed in student shows around town and entered into regional and national contests. Informal lessons from grandma, mom and many other mothers in Girl Scouts, taught Berry how to sew, quilt, design patterns, dye, weave, spin yarn…
While pursuing her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Skidmore College, Berry’s lifetime interest in costumes and ability to sew landed her a job at the Skidmore Theatre Costume shop. Under the tutelage of Patty Pawliczak, Berry honed her designing and pattern drafting skills. She also took a course in textile arts where she learned surface design, decorative embroidery techniques, piece work, advanced weaving and dyeing.
At Skidmore, Berry designed collections for student fashion shows in 2002 and 2004. Dabbling with sustainable fashion and not even realizing it at the time, in 2002 Berry constructed gowns from recycled black and white photos of people from magazines. In 2004, after having spent a year living and studying in Madrid, Spain, Berry made a collection featuring salvaged leather she had found outside a workshop in Madrid. She also recycled scrap fabric from the costume shop into couture dresses; one, her French model asked to bring home with her to Paris.
YazBerry Launch 2005
Berry graduated Skidmore in 2004 and in May of 2005 began YazBerry Fashion. The name YazBerry is a play on the designer’s surname and offers a fresh, funky, alternative to the expected strawberry/raspberry/blueberry while bringing that juicy, fruity taste to one’s mouth when read. From the start YazBerry has been a mix of handmade, one of a kind, designs by Berry and carefully curated vintage finds.
YazBerry’s early designs were art purses, throw pillows, graphic t-shirts and assorted custom orders. From there the designs focused on purses and ready to wear clothing. In 2009, Berry was invited by The Fashion Reporter virtual Magazine and Fashion Evolution Productions to showcase a selection of her purses at a fashion show featuring pieces from the fall collections of Vivienne Tam, Tibi, MNG Mango, Vera Wang and Rebecca Taylor. Purses from the YazBerry Fashion collection were paired with designs by Vivienne Tam and Tibi.
Artist in Residence
In 2010, Berry wrote a proposal for an artist's studio and retail space in Salem, MA, in the City of Salem's Artists' Row artist in residence program. Berry was among five artist groups selected to have space during the summer and fall. During this time she created an extensive portfolio and expanded her line into jewelry, stationary and decor items.
During her stay on Artists' Row, Berry offered workshops and demonstrations to members of the community. She also produced a fashion show as part of the Ahht for Peeps art event, in which her work was modeled by members of the community, real people as she put it. She invited Artists' Row artists Ellen Hardy, President of the Salem Arts Association, to showcase her hand painted silk scarves and neckties and Dan Anthony, to share his handcrafted leather masks.
Back in her hometown of Northfield, MN, Berry showcased her work at The Riverwalk Market Fair during two summer seasons and held a seat on the Leadership Committee. Berry also held a share of a unique retail co-op, The Local Joint, featuring both her handmade designs and a broad selection of vintage accessories and home items. Berry’s knowledge of sourcing and valuing vintage items was nurtured by the many experienced pickers in the co-op, further expanding her interest and expertise in picking.
In 2014 as a result of a handmade pair of leather baby booties Berry gave to a good friend, YazBerry friends, family and followers demanded the launch of babyBerry, designer baby booties and accessories made from new and vintage materials. babyBerry is catalog based; through a personalized consultation, Berry customizes each order for the customer based on the colors, design aesthetic and size desired. She also does custom applique onesies, capes, leggings, winter hats and would love to discuss other visions you may have. She has been known to make baby quilts as heirloom quality gifts too!
Shop for YazBerry
Berry’s chronic wanderlust, sense of adventure, and Canadian husband, have her currently residing in Newfoundland, Canada. She has a home studio and several retailers in the area carry her jewelry. Currently Berry is focusing on jewelry design but is available to discuss bespoke purses and other designs. For photos and retail prices of most of YazBerry’s inventory, please visit the facebook photo albums or contact Berry. She is actively pursuing additional retail opportunities for her handmade work as well as a good retail fit for her vintage items. Please contact Berry to discuss.
YazBerry Fashion is artist designed and made, fashion forward, wearable art jewelry and accessories designed for people that love the art of dressing. She also carries a selection of vintage jewelry, purses, scarves, neckties and clothing. Her work is sustainable in nature as she uses a mixture of recycled, found and new objects. Berry boasts that YazBerry will leave people asking you where you got it!
TO VIEW THE YAZBERRY PRESS KIT CLICK HERE.