Two Years In: Houndstooth Costume Collective, and the launch of

When I first wrote about Houndstooth Costume Collective (HCC) two years ago, the owners – Jenna Damberger, Kay Johnson, and Brenna Prather – were hopeful that the community would gravitate towards, and support, their unique business concept. Fast forward two years, and it is easy to see that their collective aspirations are coming to fruition, as they head in new and exciting directions, while maintaining a clear focus on their core business.

Currently, HCC is a resource for costume and garment designers that access shared work spaces, with offerings that include access to sewing machines, fabrics and accessories, and even room for impromptu rehearsals, all stitched together in a collaborative setting inside a stunning building on Main Street in Downtown Buffalo.

The way that HCC works is that members who pay a nominal fee have access to all of the aforementioned accommodations, which means that they don’t have to dole out for expensive studio spaces.

To say that HCC is merely a creative space dedicated to all-things sewing, stitching, materials, and other crafting and DIY resources, would be a major understatement. The ideas that swirl around the elaborate space are boundless. For example, Founder and Creative Director Jenna Damberger, along with her husband Andy, are in the process of launching a new online design resource that will change the way that people in the alterations, costuming, and clothing business operate.

With the help of the University at Buffalo Cultivator Program, the husband-wife duo has created a portal program called where theater companies, ateliers, designers, and anyone else that designs, produces, or alters clothing can access. The revolutionary program will store a database of measurements for actors and actresses, models, and others who want to painlessly get gigs. And for the fashion houses and theater companies, the time saving conveniences are uncanny. Instead of spending hours measuring models, actresses, actors, etc. ad nauseam, the online resource will have images of potential candidates in one handy database, which is a huge time saver. Instead of measuring for each show, or gig, from city to city, the data is readily at hand, along with other pertinent information including recorded body form measurements, cheat sheets, and up-to-date tracking of ever-changing alteration needs. will ultimately “revolutionize costume management.” is officially being launched at the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Seattle later in the month. We will be keeping track of the progress of the program and its revolutionary model of convenience for agents, cast members, models, and the clothing design industry in general.

Whether it’s a local theater company utilizing the services of HCC, outrageous burlesque performers, attendees at The Artie Awards, clothing and costume designers, freelancers, or artisans who appreciate having access to a lounge, coffee, work tables, a range of dress forms, or even the Backstage Baby area where kids can keep themselves busy while adults work and congregate, this outfit has it all. And if you don’t like something, you are welcome to attend their Craft & Complain Night, while chilling with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. HCC is ready to accommodate, by design, for design.

Next up, we’ll be discussing the potential of HCC creating a storehouse for theatrical costumes – there is a significant need for this type of service, since the sudden loss of DC Theatricks. Stay tuned.

Houndstooth Costume Collective | 651 Main Street, Buffalo, NY | (716) 725-6287 | Instagram | Facebook

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