Featuring Little Bull Stokes

Candice Stokes, a tailor at the Levi's location on Market Street, is GURO Designs' newest intern. Though she graduated with a BS in International affairs from Florida State University and previously worked in corporate retail, Candice wanted to pursue more personal creative outlets. Her desire to take her passion for fashion to the next level led her to the internship position with  Oakland-based GURO Designs, where she is furthering her studies in Apparel Arts.
"I want to create with my hands and learn how to make everything myself. I grew tired of telling people on the other side of the world to work faster. " – Candice Stokes

1. What compels you to be a part of the apparel industry?

The apparel industry affects every person on the planet, whether they realize it or not. There are a lot of issues with mass production, and I believe that people need to work together to bring the supply chain back to local markers. Globalization is very important, but the massive scale of this industry makes it the second largest polluter in the world behind oil companies. By working with our communities, we can help people realize the impact of buying and the power it has on the world.

2. What has been the most difficult experience in this industry that you have faced? How did you over come it?

Honestly, the most difficult part of this industry was working in corporate retail. I realized my role in affecting so many different lives around the world because the exploitation of mass production affects all living things. For example, there are chemical pollutants from the washing and dying of garments and there is a tremendous amount of energy that goes into producing pieces. I found that I was contributing to a detriment of an industry in incomprehensible ways. Ultimately, my values lead me to quit the corporate world and follow a journey to learn about my personal passions and explore my creative abilities. I did not want to rely on a system that previously established to help a small portion of the population but destroyed the rest.

3. Why do you want to work for GURO Designs? 

First of all, Rolend is a badass lady maker that is killin' the game!  I love GURO Designs because quality speaks for itself through the work of good and functional designs. Her line contains the best materials and it shows in her work. Each piece is stitched or riveted with love and energy. You can feel it when you hold and use the products!

4. What are your future goals in this industry?

The path that I am forging has yet to reveal itself to me. I'm constantly diving deeper and finding out more about the industry and myself as well. I'm sure the signs will come to vision soon enough.

5. What advice can you give to others that are thinking of entering the apparel and designs arts?

  • It's never too late! Always strive to be a life-long learner! 
  •  Don't settle with what is available to you. If you don't like what you see, make your dream piece! Chances are someone else is looking for that design, too!
  • Be humble, kind, generous, and vulnerable! We are all learning from each other and can offer one another tidbits of information to help elevate us all to a higher level. When you open up to others, you allow for more positive experiences to flow your way. 
  • Pay it forward!

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Photography by Rolend Gumanas

GURO Designs diy Air Plant Holders

GURO Designs participated during the MAKE SMTHNG Week, a global maker movement challenging our consumerist culture that has cut quality time spent with family and friends and replaced skills and resourcefulness with shopping. Together, we should step out of this wasteful overconsumption and give our beautiful Earth a break. Enjoy this tutorial on how to make your own air plant holders. 


paper template

hot glue gun

cork board



hole puncher

kraft paper 

decorative twine 


I'm not a blogger. I just sew a lot.

Fast forward to four months later... I’m struggling to find balance between my work as a maker, business owner, freelancer, and artist. The need to do everything is prevalent. I like to take full control of all the work I pour into GURO Designs, from sourcing my fabrics and materials to cutting and sewing to taking and editing product images to keeping up with my website. And what I’ve learned in the past year is that one person cannot do everything. Owning a business requires that I take up different job titles, each with individual strengths and weakness, and I do not encompass it all.

Three years ago I wrote down some thoughts: “I need to challenge my mind and my passion to change. The way I view my life and my daily efforts in achieving my goal. My true goal in life is to own a business creating things with my hands and living a modest minimal lifestyle.” This food for thought is just as clear as it was three years ago, but with a bigger twist. I want to grow my company and eventually hire a team to be a part of the apparel and design industry. In the next several months I will be working with individuals to launch a crowd funding effort for GURO Designs that will allow me to grow this company as I hire and expand. Wish me luck!

Gumanas freelancing in Oakland, Ca.   Photography by Arnau Dubois   Visit http://www.arnauphotography.com/ for more photography

Gumanas freelancing in Oakland, Ca. 

Photography by Arnau Dubois 

Visit http://www.arnauphotography.com/ for more photography

Work with common people

I’ve been so fortunate to work with amazing, talented people in this industry. My career as a denim tailor progressed at the ripe age of 25. I was working at The Levi’s Meat Packing Store in Manhattan and managed most of the in-house repairs and tailoring services. After a couple of years, I was referred to Selfedge, another denim company in the city, where I refurbished denim and hemmed jeans on vintage sewing machines. After thousands of hems and jean repairs, I was left stagnant and unfulfilled. I wanted more… I needed a challenge.

The next chapter of my life changed my entire perspective on denim. I moved back to the Bay Area in search of finding a designer position. I teamed up with Clinton Park, an apparel servicing company that specialized in creating bespoke jeans. In an instant, I was hooked. There was nothing more gratifying than pouring every ounce of willpower and energy into creating pieces from beginning to end. With Clinton Park, I learned the process of workflow and pattern making. Furthermore, I tended to fifteen different sewing machines daily to construct bespoke jeans.

Let me repeat - I’ve been so fortunate to work with amazing, talented people in this industry. Today, began another chapter in my journey. I teamed up with companies in the Bay Area who abide by the same business model and ethical production of high quality goods handmade by local makers. And we are on the fast track to making our mark on this industry.

Now I know that this is just the beginning of my true journey.

Rolend sewing with Ihssan, owner of Shaabi Denim located in Alameda, Ca.

Video by Salt Cebe

Darn, I need a crotch repair!

The summer of 2012 will always remind me of when I lived in New York. I managed a small repair shop for a denim company located in the Lower East Side. My daily involved walking down to the local bodega to grab my regular, saying hi to Charlie (the owner of the shop next door), and then finally unlocking the heavy metal chains to open up shop. I knew the exact feeling I would have when coming into work - just me against the machine.

I refurbished jeans of all weights and brands sewing on a Vintage Singer 47W70 Darning Machine made in the 1950’s. The Singer 47W70 can be used to reweave fabric that has been destroyed by filling in the warp and weft weave with no patch necessary. The darning technique was commonly used during WWII, which helped mend soldier's uniforms after going into combat as this strategy of sewing can extend the lifetime in wear for that garment. The Singer 47W70 is made of a cylinder bed with a free-motion sewing needle without a feed dog, which enables the sewer to move the fabric in any direction.  The speed of the motor can be controlled through the pressure of the pedal. The best weight of thread to use on the darning machine is TX 40 or TX 60. I like to use cotton polyester wrapped thread because of the durability and how the cotton fiber will age beautifully as you continue to breakdown your jeans.

If you want to minimize your wardrobe try salvaging your favorite pair by getting your jeans repaired at your local Tailor Shops. Here are six trusty shops! 

Levi's Flagship Store (SF) 

Selfedge (NY, LA, & SF) 

Indigo Proof (Portland) 

Denim Doctor (Los Angeles)

Denim Therapy (NY) 


Today, marks the day

It's hard to find time and patience to update websites and blogs. In fact, I’ve put it off for years. It has always been, “Uh, maybe tomorrow or next week, I promise.” Today will be the day. My purpose is to share knowledge and some experiences that I have acquired in the industry of apparel and design.

People in this industry fear competition by sharing their sources, information, or techniques, but this culture of secrecy benefits no one. I hope to ease the minds of some who find it difficult to find a platform to discuss topics like refurbishing denim /leather, do-it-yourself projects, and some tips on sewing with industrial machines. I am far from a self-proclaimed master of any trade yet, but I am confident enough to say that I have earned a couple notches under my “well-crafted belt” in this industry.

Knowledge is power and not sharing what I’ve obtained throughout the years would be a waste of this craft I feel so passionately about. Stay tuned… MORE TO COME!

Photographer YC Dong   Visit http://www.yc-dong.com/

Photographer YC Dong 

Visit http://www.yc-dong.com/