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BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Marta Kappl consults with young designer Andres ‘Andy’ Pinedo, 21, of Yakima at ‘House of Fashion’, her Belltown storefront. One of Pinedo’s handcrafted gowns is modeled by Aika Yokoyama, one of Kappl’s interns.

When I was approached by my editor, Danny Gawlowski, to see if I was interested in doing a story on fashion, I wondered if he was blind.

I’m a photographer – and I dress like one. Not the stylish type portrayed in movies, with skinny jeans and scarves. The kind you see on the sidelines of a game, dodging flying athletes while wearing kneepads and fleece.

Nevertheless, I accepted, and a few weeks later was with reporter Jennifer Sullivan in Marta Kappl’s House of Fashion in Belltown where he got the original idea for the story.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Erin Hilleary paints on silk in the front window of Marta Kappl’s storefront fashion incubator, ‘House of Fashion’, located on Virginia street in Belltown. Kappl’s fashions are for sale alongside local independent designers who work with her for mentoring and sewing workspace, which is in the back of the store.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Erin Hilleary, a self-taught artist working with Marta Kappl to learn more about fashion, paints a scene inspired by neolithic matriarchal civilizations’ cave paintings. “People are wearing them, moving around, and living in them,” said Hilleary. “It’s like building the most beautiful 3D canvases.”