Sandy Varzarschi had planned on a legacy of designing landscapes rather than garments when tragedy struck. In 2008, her eleven-year-old son was killed in an accident while playing flag football at school.

“My world turned upside down,” she says. “I had no goals anymore.” A year later, she found out she was expecting and started to design and make clothes to keep herself occupied while on bed-rest. She soon realized that she had a knack for designing and a new goal. She attended a fashion show in Los Angeles and was inspired to start over. She opened Silkwood, a boutique in Beaverton through which she sells apparel, including her designs. More recently she opened another Silkwood shop in Portland’s Pearl District.

The Varzarschi collection includes garments made from natural fibers, such as bamboo, cotton, wool and linen. She describes her clients as “a stylish woman seeking the unique.” Next year’s collection—under way now—she describes as “fierce but very feminine.”