A Cleveland treasure


Valerie Mayen has truly chased her dream of becoming a fashion designer, and has done everything in her power to grasp it. Today, her very own clothing line, Yellowcake, is sitting pretty in the palm of her hand, with endless possibilities.

Fashion sparked as an interest to Mayen at a young age. Family income was minimal, and creating complete and different outfits from pieces and parts of Wal-Mart and Goodwill selections brought her many compliments from friends. She had an eye for the industry and the concept early on in life. 

While studying art all over the country as well as in Italy, it was in Los Angeles when she realized that she didn’t only have an interest in fashion, but that she had a talent in the design circuit as well.

Mayen had a great passion for art, but still tried other career avenues to pursue, including the family homebuilding business, but it just wasn’t a fit. She knew where her heart lie, and over time, took a chance at her vision for herself. 

At first, her parents weren’t as supportive of her chosen path due to the stereotype of the artist career, but they soon came to realize their daughter’s passion to pursue her dreams. 

Mayen was also working three jobs at a time to fund schooling and make ends meet was a sacrifice that had to be made. “I had to make it work because I love what I do, but it’s really gratifying now," she explains. 

Although the homebuilding business wasn’t in the cards as her future career, Mayen enjoyed and respected the hardware, fixtures and clean lines of each home, which inspires her clothing designs. 

“I love fabric-covered buttons, tabs and hidden pockets. That’s what sets you apart from others, the details and what makes it yours," she comments. 

Other inspirations behind Yellowcake include the vibrant colors of Mayen’s Guatemalan and Spanish backgrounds, as well as the works of the late designer Rudi Gernreich, best known for creating the topless swimsuit. Mayen mentions, “I really like that he pushed boundaries.”

Yellowcake the label very much relates to yellow cake, the classic underdog of dessert. The goal of the label is to support the underdog in society, and Mayen currently donates 15 percent of all profits to the local charity City Mission. Both charity and education are very important to Mayen. 

“I try to instill a sense of selflessness and charity in interns I take in,” she says. 

When asked about the future of her clothing label in Cleveland, Mayen explains, “Cleveland has been so good to me, it would be hard to leave. I have roots here. I just think good things are happening. There are great resources for fashion and good artists here; it’s like Cleveland treasures you have to seek out.”

To capture your own piece of local treasure and learn more about this unique line, visit www.yellowcakeshop.comPinky’s Daily Planner boutique in Tremont, Ohio, carries the line as well. By popular demand, a menswear line is also in the works and will be released soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009