Meet Helen Butterly, JILLS member, and fashion designer. Helen is based in Manhattan, NY and works with clients all over the U.S. and the globe! You can connect with Helen in THE JILLS DIRECTORY, along with many other talented JILLS.
We wanted to let Helen share her story of how her love for her brother and for design launched her urban apparel line Rock & Rebar, which has been featured on HGTV.
I started my career in the early 90's in the children's wear industry. After fifteen years of Barbie, Cinderella and other divas, I was motivated to reveal something edgier and new for an all-new market. I embarked on a freelance design career for men's and women's tees, influenced by Classic Rock and a vintage style that had become a dominant influence in the fashion industry. My top-selling designs produced significant trends and sales from properties like The Doors, The Beatles and KISS.
But my true passion for creativity and design was fulfilled when I launched Rock & Rebar - a line of men's work-wear that fulfilled my desire to launch a tribute line to my younger brother, James Daniel Butterly. James was found dead of an accidental drug overdose in April of 2007. "When something like this happens to you... you start to evaluate your life... this isn't a dress rehearsal. This is it."
I grew up in the working class section of Philadelphia and I know what it means to be in a family of union members who are proud of their work and their contributions to society. "Rock & Rebar adds color and style to America's hard-working craftsmen. I am confident they will appreciate a designer line that salutes their profession." After Jimmy's death, I felt inspired that Jimmy wanted me to recover from his loss by doing something that would make a difference in her life and deliver a positive message from within the roots of their family. "I decided to call the collection 'Rock & Rebar' - 'Rock' because construction sites are in essence rock and stone cement, but Jimmy and I are also rockers. We loved the same music and bands... And 'Rebar' because it is the skeleton of a building. I knew my graphics would be full of skulls as the iconic representation of today's edgy lifestyle statement."
Today I continue the Rock & Rebar line and work with diverse clients to design the perfect, edgy apparel for their businesses and organizations.