Monday, April 23, 2012
DANCE DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: JODEE EWING & FLIPN TRIBAL
JoDee Ewing is one of the most-loved vendors on the belly dance festival circuit, and not only because she’s an absolute sweetheart, but because her original designs are absolutely exquisite. She’s always got a smile ready for everyone, and takes time out from custom-fitting dancers to watch every show, and cheer on the performers.
JoDee’s Flip N Tribal line of dance costumes, class togs and street wear are all designed and hand made by the diva herself…and are so pretty and versatile, they can be incorporated into the wardrobe of almost any style dancer, be it Tribal, Fusion, Cabaret, burley, Goth, Ren Faire Steampunk, Pirate- you name it! Not only that, they’re comfy, and they pack well, too. Dancers are wearing her stuff across America, in Europe and in Japan.
JoDee makes all of her own patterns, which include frothy, swirly draped skirts, some trimmed with brocade or sequined borders; flowing tunics, bat-winged, midriff-length tie-tops, soft angel-sleeved shirts with peek-a-boo shoulders, “Chaos Belts”, which look like the Tribal love-child of a hobo clown and a gorgeous ballerina, and many more delightful fancies.
I am one of her legions of slavish devotees… her designs are the bomb!
I met JoDee early on in her belly dance design career, and was immediately stunned by her incredible designs… I had to have one! And then I got more… and more!
She appeared in the documentary about me, "Underbelly", getting interviewed in her booth at Tribal Fest, and I wore one of her creations Hollywood Music Center’s “Tribal Renaissance” DVD , while performing sword. It was an amazingly well-fitting black leatherette and silver sequin bra and belt, looped with copious amounts of punk rock plumber’s chain in an asymmetrical pattern, that was perfect for floor work. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the other dancers on the DVD were wearing some of her stuff, too!
JoDee knows what dancers like to wear and what feels good on the body, both onstage and in “real life”, because she’s a dancer herself. As a child, she danced, but was also mesmerized by her grandmother, who was a master seamstress. She made sure that Jodee even got private lessons in sewing and tailoring. In fact, even now, FlipN Tribal is still a family affair: JoDee's hubby Steve and daughter Frankie are often attending her both alongside her.
As a teen, Jodee was involved in the fashion industry- as a model and a designer, and even attended the Barbizon School Of Modeling… how hot is that? She danced as a young girl, but then focused on fashion design and modeling until 2005, when she picked up belly dancing. Her first belly dance teacher, Nikkal Feiruz, was also the first person to purchase one of Jodee’s costumes, and urged her to make more- so she did.
“ I offer custom bras, belts and skirts in Tribal Fusion, Tribaret, and Cabaret , and Gothic styles, “, JoDee says,
“ I make over -skirts called Peek -A -Boos, which are Fusion and Burlesque, a line of tassels with fringe that really move, and a belt system that works with the tassels, a line of street gear with two tops, skirts, jackets, and pants.”
“ There’s my “ To Dye For” line, and I also have been commissioned for custom costumes and fantasy costumes. I make my own patterns, so anything is a possibility! I have really expanded since 2005!”
Many of the FlipN Tribal designs are so intricately detailed that it’s hard to imagine that Jodee can sell them for such affordable prices. Her “To Dye For” line comes in a rainbow riot of ombre colored lace, all hand-dipped by Jodee, and composed of incredible scraps of vintage doilies, antique and contemporary embellished textiles, and includes full costumes, separate bra and belt sets, and corsages that can be pretty much worn anywhere, from the wrist to the hip to the neck or head!
“My To Dye For line came about because I have always loved vintage lace and appliqués, and fabric dying! To me, dying fabric is just like painting-not on a canvas but with fabric. I make sure there are lots of little details to every piece in my dyed line. They are one of a kind, and yes, they are my most labor-intensive pieces. I try to include vintage laces, doilies and up-cycled dyable fabrics. It's hard to say how long it takes, but each piece whether it is a bra, belt, skirt or corsage is designed, sewn and dyed by me!”
She has a lot on her plate right now, but she’s not just sitting on her laurels, or... as the case may be... her scraps of antique dyed lace:
“ My goals for 2012 are to have more wholesale accounts, and I am hoping to work up to traveling to a couple countries to show my line, and to have my up- coming street gear designs in some specialty boutiques. I have a line of handbags and purses coming out this year, and also a few surprises!!!”
JoDee ‘s business is growing by leaps and bounds, so get her stuff while you can, cause she’s on fire!
You can purchase JoDee’s FlipN Tribal Designs, or ask about custom orders on her website:
Or at her Etsy store:
PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM:
JoDee in front of a rack of her To Dye For sets at Tribal Fest: everything she's wearing is one of her designs, too!
Princess in one of Jodee's costumes, also at Tribal Fest- PHOTO BY BRAD DOSLAND/ TABOO MEDIA
Mandala Danceworks in FlipN Tribal Custom Designs
Princess on set at HMC's "Tribal Renaissance" DVD shoot, in a FlipN Tribal Bra & Belt set