Lyndsey Helling and Lauren Tweedie make quick work of vintage for their trunk show

Lyndsey Helling and Lauren Tweedie went back in time in a hurry, scouring the city to unearth fabrics reminiscent of 1970s living rooms and bedrooms for a show not very far in the future.

“We found this bedsheet, still in the bag, in an Olathe antique mall,” Tweedie says, holding up a dress the two made from the mustard-yellow, flower-power sheet.

Helling reaches for her favorite garment in the pair’s first collection – a crop top featuring a playful print in which Dachshunds pose as hot dogs. “This came from a friend’s grandmother’s fabric,” she says.

Helling and Tweedie – together, their line is Girl Friday – are showing me the 30-piece retail collection they’ve made for Donna’s Dress Shop, the popular vintage boutique on 39th Street where they work. I’ve come to see them at their studios, inside midtown’s historic Katz Drug Co. building. (That property’s transformation into a space for artists should make its public debut later this year.) The women unveil their Donna’s pieces Friday, June 20, at the store.

The collection went from idea to tunics, crop tops, circle skirts and shift dresses in less than two months. In May, shop owner Donna Foulk suggested that Tweedie and Helling handle the June installation of the shop’s Third Friday event. The two quickly rounded up fabric and began spending their evenings cutting and sewing.

Helling and Tweedie hadn’t teamed up as designers before, but they say the collaboration came easy.

“We have the same style,” Helling says.

They met two years ago as co-workers and soon realized their shared affection for what they describe as midcentury vintage.

“Garments just aren’t made the same today as they were decades ago,” Tweedie says. “There’s not that same attention to detail. And they were so unafraid of design back then – they pushed the limits.”

The collection marks Tweedie’s most significant fashion design accomplishment to date. The emerging designer studied fibers at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, and at Donna’s she is known for genius window displays. She often makes decorative piñatas and constructed one in the shape of scissors to hang over the new collection in the shop.

An inner tube, painted pink and speckled with brightly colored hair rollers, sits in Tweedie’s studio. Originally, she created the object for a Halloween costume: a human doughnut. I ask her what made her want to dress as a breakfast pastry.

“I love doughnuts,” she says, laughing. (Later, she built a Simpsons-themed shop display around the tube.)

Helling’s previous work includes serving as a designer in last year’s West 18th Street Fashion Show. For shows, she’s drawn to what’s known as trashion. For her 2013 West 18th Street set, that meant saving used ice cream cups, chip bags, candy wrappers and coffee filters from waste baskets to turn into clothing. Also last year, Boulevard Brewing Co. commissioned Helling to create a piece for its seasonal dry-goods store, resulting in a dress made from recycled hops bags, cardboard keg rings and beer labels.

The Helling-Tweedie collection for Donna’s won’t be the duo’s last collaboration. They’re already making plans for what’s next. And though they aren’t ready to reveal details about what’s in store, expect garments made from original fabric (rather than sourced), tailored into vintage shapes.

A dress and skirt they were creating in their studios last week to wear to this past weekend’s West 18th Street Fashion Show hints at their future work. They painted a black, sophisticated eyeball design on white fabric.

“We’re going for bold,” Helling says.

Girl Friday Trunk Show
Lyndsey Helling and Lauren Tweedie’s handmade, 30-piece vintage collection, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, June 20, at Donna’s Dress Shop, 1410 West 39th Street. The women’s clothing collection will be for sale in the shop for a limited time following the show.