News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 2, 2013

Haute Designs: Terre Haute’s Parisa Keywanfard featured in international fashion show

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Creating fashion has been a passion for Parisa Keywanfard since she was a little girl and learned to use her mother’s sewing machine.

She started by making outfits for her dolls, then progressed to making clothes for herself and her cousins. She has operated a fashion boutique in Terre Haute since 2009.

And now her unique fashions will be featured in the MedModa International Fashion Event in Italy.

“It’s a very good experience,” Keywanfard said Monday as she prepared to leave next week for the April 11 show in Caltanissetta, Italy.

“Showing my collection will accomplish going from a small city to all of Italy. I will be representing Terre Haute, and there’s only one other American, and she is from northern Indiana. It will be a most interesting event for me.”

Keywanfard’s collection might be described as casual chic. She uses metallic paints, beads and lace to dress up jeans and pants, as well as to adorn original tops.

“I think my designs are a little bit different,” she said. “I like to work on jeans and designer jeans, and most other designers deal with cocktail dresses.”

Keywanfard makes most of her garments herself, though she does get some from a designer in India, and then she adds paint, beads and lace.

“It’s interesting to make your own designs,” she said. “It’s hard for me to find something I want to buy when I go shopping. I may buy something, but then I’ll bring it home and have to change it somehow.

“It’s like when you build a house, it’s yours,” she explained. “But when you buy a house that’s already built, you want to make changes to it to suit your style.”

Keywanfard was born in southern Iran, and lived there until 1994 when she married and moved to America. She began taking art lessons at age 12, and at age 15 she was taking private lessons to learn oil painting techniques and how to make three-dimensional artwork. She later attended a fashion design school and learned how to make clothing patterns.

“I had to make my own designs, or at least sketch my own designs and give them to a tailor to do it. I had been doing that since middle school,” she said. “Then I went for a few years to fashion school and learned about making my own patterns, and doing measurements and sewing it.”

After moving to Terre Haute, she took classes at Ivy Tech Community College. Then in 2009 she opened her own boutique. She also creates design work on dresses, shirts, vests, ties, shoes, hats, jewelry, belts and scarves.

Keywanfard said she was encouraged by a designer friend to apply for the MedModa, and after submitting the information requested online, she was contacted by MedModa’s managing staff to learn she was accepted. The festival will pay for her hotel, local transportation, fitting room and fashion models, as well as hairdressers and make-up artists. And she will be reimbursed a portion of her airfare.

It will be a lot of work when she arrives with her garments. Keywanfard said she will have 10 models assigned to her, so she will take only 10 outfits for the show. The two days before the show will be spent selecting models, doing fittings and practicing on the runway.

Anyone wanting more information about the fashion show can go online to

For a look at Keywanfard’s fashions, go online to

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.