When looking for a piano class for her three-year-old, Skye Barker Maa discovered that many local music programs had lengthy waitlists or wouldn’t take a student so young. So, in 2012, Barker Maa started Neighborhood Music, a school inside Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace for pupils of any age and ability. That foray launched Barker Maa’s passion for education, and within 10 years, she had opened Factory Five Five, an arts collective, and become executive director of Jk-co dance company. In January 2021, Barker Maa added couture to her collection, debuting Factory Fashion, a venue at Stanley that, like a little black dress, transforms effortlessly from day to night. Leading up to Denver Fashion Week (November 12 to 20), we took a tour of Denver’s newest style hub.

Small-Batch Production

Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The 2,500-foot space—with its 11 industrial sewing machines, nine standing-height worktables, and eight dress forms—operates as a production house for Colorado designers such as Missy Caldwell of Misfitmissy and Darlene C. Ritz of DCR Studios. Factory Fashion employs eight sewers who produce small runs for these and other local clients, including Barker Maa, who will debut Skye Aire, a line of eccentric, ready-to-wear dresses during a Denver Fashion Week (DFW) show at the Sports Castle on November 12.


Photo courtesy of From the Hip Photo

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5:30 p.m.

In Little Sewers classes, beginners as young as six learn basic sewing skills, while in other courses, advanced sewers of all ages study costuming, illustration, or fabric design. Pupils can also enroll in a nine-week fashion prep course in which they design a collection and work with models and hair and makeup artists, culminating in a runway show during DFW. Looks from this fall’s session will be on display on November 13 at 11:30 a.m. at the Sports Castle.

Fashion Champagne Bar

Select nights

The sewing machines and roll-away tables are stowed to make way for Factory Fashion’s alter ego: a Champagne bar with a bubbles-based beverage program. Jazz nights feature fizz-forward delights such as the Regent’s Punch: rum, cognac, pineapple, green tea, and a splash of sparkling wine.

Immersive Party Space

Select weekends, 7 p.m. to midnight

On certain weekends, Barker Maa puts her network of costumers, actors, set designers, and dancers into action by throwing elaborate parties. Past iterations have included an immersive James Bond–themed soirée and a disco-fever fundraiser to support Latin Fashion Week. Keep an eye on Factory Fashion’s website and social media for details about future fetes.

This article was originally published in 5280 November 2022.
Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane Menardi Morrison
Riane is 5280’s former digital strategy editor and assistant food editor. She writes food and culture content. Follow her at @riane__eats.