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Professor to open sewing café in Columbia

September 5, 2014

Tina Marks, assistant professor of fashion and design, is opening a sewing café in Columbia inspired by a business model that began in Paris.
Straight Grains Studio opens Saturday at 1610 Paris Road. The café will offer sewing classes, including classes just for men, pattern-making and draping classes and private lessons. Clients will also be able to rent sewing machines and equipment to complete their own projects, as well.
“I love teaching,” she said, stressing that her duties at Stephens won’t change. “But I know there are non-students who want to take pattern-making, draping and other sewing classes in a shorter time frame, as well as those who just want to work on a single project. This will provide those classes and services.”
Straight Grains Studio will also have an espresso bar.
The business model was inspired by a sewing café in Paris that inspired the book “Sweat Shop Paris: Lessons in Couture from the Sewing Café.” Similar businesses have since been popping up throughout Europe and in metropolitan cities such as Austin, New York and San Francisco, Marks said.

Marks has owned other businesses, including an antique store, and said she wanted to get back into a business that would complement her academic career. She envisions Stephens fashion students having opportunities to visit and help out at the store.

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