Made in South Dakota: Anita Kealey Fashion Designs - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Made in South Dakota: Anita Kealey Fashion Designs

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Our last Made in South Dakota product this month features a line of products with a close connection to the Oscars.

"When they were getting ready for the Oscars, they wanted me to do a green avatar type of dress that looked like the trees of avatar," said Fashion Designer Anita Kealey.

Sioux Falls Designer Anita Kealey originally created this sustainable gown for the wife of Avatar's Director James Cameron, but the gown ended up being worn by a TV Awards Show Host.

"It ended up getting a lot of attention, and I think it ended up getting about 11 minutes of air time so they sent me all that footage. It was pretty exciting to have your name announced of where the dress came from and who the designer was," said Kealey.

After years of working with the Miss America pageant system, Kealey is no stranger to designing evening gowns.

"My biggest year was probably 1991 or 1992... in one show at the end they all had to be in softer chiffon skirts and there was not too many designers doing that at the time, so I ended up doing one third of the dresses that year at Miss America," said Kealey.

All of those nationally-recognized gowns were made right here in South Dakota.

"Everything you see in this room was actually made in this building," said Kealey.

Kealey designs several different lines of custom clothing from Men's and Women's suits, evening gowns, dress shirts, ties and more.

"We sell custom all over. We have had clothes go to almost every state and out of the country as well," said Kealey.

Over the years, congressmen and other politicians have helped spread her South Dakota made clothes all over the country.

"All of our buttons have been engraved for us to say, tailor made in the USA by Dakota by Design...so every one of our shirts will always have our buttons with engraving on them," said Kealey.

Her unique sustainable fabrics have also gained her some national recognition.

"This is very unique. This is actually media tape that's woven into textile," said Kealey of one of her most popular sustainable fabrics.

Today Kealey is passing on her passion for design to students at her design institute, creating the next generation of South Dakota Made designers.

You can find more of Kealey's design work online at dakotabydesign,com, eveningsbydesignusa.com or lenzanita.com.

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