Runway Of Rosies

Runway Of Rosies

Eureka designer creates unique line of clothing


Special to The Free Weekly

Hips swinging, bass thumping, brilliant artwork moving in time down the runway — I’d never seen anything like it. Me in my favorite tie dye, braids and sandals surrounded by people in high fashion, perfectly made up faces with no hair out of place, shiny tall footwear — so many beautiful people in exquisite clothing all in one room.

I witnessed some outstanding displays on the evening of April 5 when Northwest Arkansas Fashion Week rocked the Record in Bentonville. But what brought tears to my eyes and nearly knocked me out of my seat was when the first model began the set highlighting the latest line by designer Rosie Rose of Northwest Arkansas.

The first clue for me that this was going to be great was when the music switched from club techno style to Etta James’ “It Must Be Love.” When I heard that timeless voice, I suddenly didn’t feel so out of my element.

Amanda Knoner was up first, wearing a beautiful button up shirtwaist dress with puff sleeves, and she seemed to have stepped right out of the simple life of the 1950s. Following was Alexis Jacobs wearing a sweet little number featuring what Rosie called a “Peter Pan collar” that took me back to my mother’s childhood closet. This dress particularly has reappeared in my dreams and sweet thoughts ever since I saw it.

As the show went on, the emotion in the entire room did a 180. People began to holler and applaud from the excitement of something extraordinary, while others, including myself, were in tears. This was all because Rosie featured all size models, all genders, many different ages, races, heights, walks of life, professionals, amateurs, music for the soul and clothing that real people could relate to.

Some models danced down the aisle, some walked on point, one entered on roller skates and another playfully braved the runway barefoot. When I asked Rosie what sort of response she had gotten face to face, she said that she has received a great amount of support and was greeted back stage by some of the make-up artists who had been brought to tears because they could relate to the clothing and message behind her entire show. Rosie had not only created adorable, wearable clothing, but she had made a bold statement of her love for humanity while doing it.

After witnessing this incredible display of “Eureka,” I couldn’t wait to invite Rosie over so I could interview her for this article. During our visit, Rosie expressed to me that being a woman who wears women’s clothing, she knows what a woman likes to wear more so than a man who doesn’t wear women’s clothing. So a lot of her styles are created from what she enjoys herself. She says that the shirt dresses, for example, are among her favorite things to wear, and when she made her swimsuits, she made the legs lower cut so that they would not ride up like most do.

When she first started making clothes, Rosie says that she had a small size dress form, and all the models were small. Right away people would say, “I really love what you’re making, but this would never fit me. Could you please make something in my size?” That led to her getting a larger size dress form and honing her skills at sizing up patterns.

Aside from her online store,, Rosie currently has several regular clients whose sizes she knows and who are open to her creativity. Clients will contact her with an idea, she’ll then do a few sketches, they’ll pick what they like out of the sketches and she gets to work on a one-of-a-kind Rosie Rose masterpiece. From what I’ve seen of her work, she is a master at designing anything from an extravagant dress for a gala to everyday painted T-shirts and shorts.

Another very important role Rosie has is being a homeschooling mother to her two daughters ages 4 and 8. When she is not making clothing, she is spending time sharing the exciting world around her with her children — or the other way around. She is also married to Chris Rose, who is an artist himself. I remember Chris as a kid at festivals balancing anything from sticks to chairs on his chin. Today his tie dye clothing can be found in stores around the region. I recently stumbled across a stash of “Chris Rose originals” at Mother Earth Hemp Botanicals in Fayetteville.

I asked Rosie about her aspirations on expanding as a designer. Would she want to ever design for a big company? Would she ever sell one of her designs to be sold at department stores? Her answer was, “My goal is to have enough clients to keep me working every day and to hopefully make a good living for myself and my family.” She did say that she could see herself hiring others to help with some of the responsibilities in the future. She also said that she may consider selling some rights to a design, but she would be adamant about the opportunity being eco-friendly as well as not being made by people who were underpaid and overworked.

I admit, I went into this show already expecting to love Rosie’s work. I’ve known Rosie and her husband for many years: I sang at their wedding. Also, she included my daughter Cecilia in this runway show, making it CC’s very first. But aside from me playing favorites, I truly was astounded, and I wasn’t alone. I was listening to the crowd and watching the faces as Rosie’s vision broke the mold. Folks were full of joy that surged through them and came out as cheers of gratitude. Much of the house were on their feet applauding during the final waterfall.

I believe Rosie Rose is one of the area’s most intuitive artists when it comes to wearable art. I hope to see her excel even more as she progresses in life.



Rosie Rose:

Upcoming Shows

May 4 — The Rosie Rose Fashion Show, 5 p.m., The Eureka Fine Art Gallery in Eureka Springs. Advance tickets can be found online at

June 15 — The Fort Smith Fashion Project, Temple Live in Fort Smith

Categories: In The News