Imagine you’re about to embark on a multi-month-long journey to three continents with nothing but a backpack. What would you bring? Just the essentials, right? Well, for Dany Felten, the essentials include a sewing machine!
With this tool at the ready, Dany clarifies that she is able to purchase local fabrics and sew wherever she finds herself. “I always look up the fabric markets as soon as I get someplace,” she explains.
Originally from Luxembourg, Dany grew up speaking Luxembourgish, a language known by under 400,000 people worldwide. She wanted to travel some day and knew she’d need other languages under her belt. She studied both Spanish and French in high school, which she notes was important for learning the grammar of each. However, she “couldn’t really speak” until she immersed herself in their respective cultures.
As for her interest in clothing, it didn’t come from fashion magazines or shopping malls. “I never really cared for fashion,” she insists. “But I really like to dress up. I like theater and I like costuming.”
Lucky for Dany there was a Theater Costuming program right here at Cañada College. (Dany will graduate with her certificate this May.) Her favorite era? The 19th century “because the style changes so quickly.” But she observes that the sewing she likes to do in her free time doesn’t have a lot to do with this historic period. “What I do for myself is so different. I use ethnic fabrics, simple designs. The focus is on the textiles.”
Once in the fashion program, she found that it was a good fit for her. “I really liked it. There was a lot of construction. Some programs are all designing and drawing.” The practical skills she learned came in handy last year when she interned at Lamplighters Music Theater, a Gilbert and Sullivan-focused company in San Francisco. She knew her value to the costuming team was recognized right away, as colleagues told her “It’s always the Cañada people who know how to sew.”
Will Dany stick around here in the Bay Area or does the near future hold more travels for her? “I’m getting itchy again,” she admits. “I always want to go somewhere and learn!” The most likely destination? Senegal where she notes the best wax print textiles are.