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What is Third Coast Style?

Off the Cuff talks with Patrice Procopio

Feb. 25, 2014
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Patrice Procopio is artistic director of Third Coast Style. After opening last September at 514 N. Water St., it quickly gained a reputation for hip events, fashion shows and workshops for things like “upcycled” earrings, origami photo albums, 5-minute rings, and holiday hair and makeup. The Iowa-born transplant has a master’s degree in painting from UW-Madison. She recently sat down with Off the Cuff to discuss bicoastal freedom and swimming (through) trunks.


What is Third Coast Style?

Well the space is a boutique gallery for Milwaukee’s top young designers, and an incubator for Third Coast style. We currently carry clothing, accessories and jewelry from 35 designers. And Jeremy Scheifflee, an internationally known hair designer, is in our salon space.


You also double (or triple?) as an art gallery?

We run shows for three months at a time for emerging Milwaukee artists, with imagery reflecting our city, its people and its nearness to Lake Michigan. We are also part of Gallery Night.


Benefits of your Water Street location?

It is central, so it is a logical gathering point for designers, who come from all the neighborhoods in Milwaukee. It also gives us high visibility, which is great. Also, we have beautiful cream city brick from 1854. I love it.


So what is Third Coast style, exactly?

“Third Coast” is slang for Great Lakes’ shores. It subtly knocks East and West Coast attitudes—namely “flyover states” and all that. We don’t need NY or LA to exist.


So it is a “who,” too?

A Third Coaster is anyone who lives near Lake Michigan, free of arrogant East Coast oppression and flighty West Coast fads.


What is unique about Milwaukee style?

“Made in Milwaukee” means something. Our manufacturing tradition still produces quality. And there is a lot of creative energy coalescing here.


Hence fashion shows and workshops.

Exactly. The runway experiences last fall were wonderful collaborations. We saw totally unique new looks, and bold designers with amazing creations. Our workshops have been great teaching opportunities for the whole community. We’ve done design projects, sewing skills and styling. We’re even setting up extended sewing lessons now.

Currently, we’ve got the Wedding Trunk Show (Feb. 12-March 2). Fourteen designers produced lines of wedding fashion—totally unique, one-of-a-kind items—dresses, coats, headpieces and jewelry. Our website (thirdcoaststyle.com) now doubles as a complete wedding guide.

Next up, for mid-March, is a Prom Wear Trunk Show. We are also collecting used gowns for the Cinderella Project.


That is a lot. How can people find out more?

We regularly update facebook.com/ThirdCoastStyle. I’m at patrice@thirdcoaststyle.com. And, of course, stop in the shop. We’re always on the lookout for more great Third Coast minds.


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