WILLOWBROOK – The black satin shimmered as Laurie Borse walked through Il Poggiolo restaurant in Hinsdale. It was known as her black duchess silk satin jacket with a vampire collar – one of several medieval or Gothic-style pieces the fashion designer specializes in.
“They’re definitely statement pieces,” the Willowbrook native said.
Borse has come a long way as a fashion designer since being that little girl whose creativity knew no bounds as she grew up obsessed with drawing, painting and fabric.
“When I was 9, I asked my mom if I could go out with a box and get some fabrics, so I went around and knocked on all the doors and asked if they had any scraps of fabric,” Borse said.
One neighbor she came to told her to basically help herself, which was poetry to Borse’s ears.
“I remember just going through the boxes and jumping up and down and tossing the fabric because I just loved it,” she said.
From there, the young Borse would tackle other creative endeavors, such as writing a play in eighth grade about staying off drugs.
But drawing and design were her passion and something that acted as an escape for her even living with a family of eight kids.
“I was very much a loner,” she said. “I would be in my room for hours at a time just sketching.”
For Willowbrook residents, the name Borse may sound familiar as Tony Borse was her father – the first mayor and founder of Willowbrook. There is also the Tony and Florence Borse Memorial Community Park named after her parents.
Growing up, Borse said she couldn’t have asked for any better parents.
“I felt special to be honest, but my parents were so loving and supportive of whatever I wanted to do,” she said.
After graduating from Hinsdale South High School, she enrolled in the Ray-Vogue College of Design in Chicago and graduated with several honors.
In 1996, she won a scholarship to attend the Paris Fashion Institute in France where she now lives overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
While in France, her fashion took off as she was a 2001 participant at the Paris Sur Mode for fashion week and designed for SFAXI in Paris. Now she is an independent designer for Borse International and freelancer.
This past October, Borse was also featured in Latino Fashion Week from Oct. 1 to 5 in Chicago, which has been a culmination of years of hard work and sporadic jobs designing and illustrating wherever she can from Wielboldt’s in Chicago to Jerry’s Deep Discount Centers as an advertising manager.
Borse wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
“I always tell everyone anything you want to be you can be as long as you keep trying and trying,” she said.