Strut Your Stuff on GEEGEE Street

Tacoma artist-turned-fashion-designer holds her first fashion show, featuring hand-painted thrift finds

Those funky, ’80s, hand-painted sweaters are having a revival in the workshop of Tacoma artist, Gillian Nordlund. No longer will you have to spend hours at the thrift shop trying to find a perfectly painted piece, because Nordlund has already painted it for you in her signature style.

Nordlund’s fashion line, GEEGEE Street, includes a variety of pastel garments scrounged from Goodwill, Value Village, and the likes, to act as her canvas. She dresses up the plain, repurposed apparel with designs like hand-painted buttons that create an abstract face, a collar adorned with flying women and floating tampons, wiggling arms with perfectly manicured fingernails, and much, much more. Her hand-painted apparel will be on display at her first fashion show on Saturday, Aug. 10. The runway, located inside King’s Books in Tacoma, will have approximately 25 outfits full of sassy stylings and bizarre buttons.

A trendsetter in the Tacoma art scene for years, Nordlund only recently made the switch to textiles. Historically, her medium has been primarily in illustrations. You’re probably already familiar with her designs; she’s hosted exhibitions at Spaceworks, was a Foundation of Art Award Recipient through the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, designed branding for the Tacoma Film Festival, and has her own vendor booth at the Tacoma Night Market. The Night Market is actually where starting a fashion line first popped into her head — what better way to make her artwork accessible to visitors than turning it into something they could wear? Sure, she could screen print her illustrations onto a t-shirt. But, frankly, she didn’t know how. Plus, that wouldn’t really align with her out-of-the-box nature.

So she picked up some puffy fabric paints, found some solid colored clothing from her local thrift shop, and set to work in the workshop adjacent to her Sixth Avenue area home. GEEGEE Street was born.

When she started to imagine how to display her clothing, an exhibition seemed dull and ill-suited. These pieces are meant to be strutted around in and shown off. She was in communication with consignment shop and occasional event space Janku Land, which shares an entrance with King’s Books in Tacoma, about selling her pieces and explained she was interested in holding a fashion show. That was enough to get the ball rolling, and now Nordlund is neck deep in planning outfit changes, printing catalogs, and creating never-before-seen pieces for the show.

Everything displayed on the runway will be available for purchase, with prices ranging from $25 to $60. There will also be GEEGEE Street catalogs for those who want to commemorate and enjoy the art, but don’t think they can pull off the funky fits. Follow Nordlund’s Instagram account for updates and more opportunities to see her rad styles.

If you go:

  • What: All ages fashion show and catalog release featuring hand-painted clothing by Gillian Nordlund
  • Where: King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave, Tacoma
  • When: 7–9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10
  • Cost: Free to attend, clothing priced from $25 to $60
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