Local designer Denimani Livingstone brings hand-crafted quality back to fashion

Denimani Livingstone is breaking into the Minnesota fashion scene one stitch at a time.

Fashion designer Denimani Livingstone poses for a portrait at Sure Space gallery on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Originally from Ghana, Livingstone has established a client base in Minneapolis and is engaged in his first design partnership with Piff, a local streetwear retailer.

Kamaan Richards

Fashion designer Denimani Livingstone poses for a portrait at Sure Space gallery on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Originally from Ghana, Livingstone has established a client base in Minneapolis and is engaged in his first design partnership with Piff, a local streetwear retailer.

Alex Strangman

An endless supply of creative energy buzzes through the air at Sure Space gallery, and one of Minneapolis’s hottest new designers is at the center of it all.

Meet Denimani Livingstone: an artist, designer and creative who is preparing his upcoming collection, “Cause and Effect.”

Born in Ghana to Liberian and Ghanaian parents, Livingstone moved to Minneapolis when he was four, and it didn’t take long for him to find his passion as an artist. What started as tracing “Dragon Ball Z” pictures to sell to his friends transformed into discovering graphic design in high school.

The son of a seamstress, he chose to follow in his mother’s footsteps, giving up graphic design and pouring his talents into creating his own clothing.

“At a certain point, I just wanted to take that venture on and pick it up, so I got a sewing machine from Savers one day, and from there on I’ve just been getting better,” he said.

When Livingstone talks about his mother, he’s all smiles, citing her as his main inspiration to start making his own clothing.

“She’s the seed that started all of this. I’m the bud on the tree, you know? I’m going to continue the legacy she started,” he said. “So, it all comes back to her for me.” 

The newest addition to that legacy, his upcoming “Cause and Effect” collection, will feature a minimum of 20 individual, handmade pieces of both menswear and womenswear, featuring his signature ‘surge spine,’ a raised seam on the back of the garment, and seemingly unfinished hanging threads.

While Livingstone hopes his new collection will be a success, when he looks at his pieces, he sees far more than just dollar signs. For him, it’s all about the process. He is the first to admit he is still experimenting with his style.

This experimentation hasn’t gone unnoticed by his fans.

“I think he’s really experimental … the way he thinks about everything down to the stitching and experimenting with that was really cool to me,” said Mia Miller, a local artist.

As part of his constant experimentation process, Livingstone also offers a service where he makes custom pieces of clothing for customers in an effort to close the gap between producer and consumer.

The process involves allowing a client to personally choose their fabric, creating a custom silhouette and then hand-sewing the piece right in front of them. From Tahari wool and Mohair-blend hoodies to reconstructed tie-dye tees, Livingstone can create pieces you won’t find anywhere else.

After spending two years driving for Uber in order to sustain himself, he is now working full time. His custom 1-of-1s project is in full swing and his “Cause and Effect” collection is slated to come out in October. Livingstone is also developing his personal brand, Merchandise.

Sophie Weber, who heads the business side of Livingstone’s brand, says while Merchandise is still in infancy right now, it will be in full form very soon.

“Right now we’re building the idea of the brand. We’re introducing it. October, when the collection releases, will be the full presentation,” she said.

Back in his personal studio, a one-bedroom apartment in North Minneapolis, he’s taking things more seriously than ever. From custom clothing items to entire collections, Livingstone is ready to take the Minnesota fashion scene by storm.