Faculty

What sets MADE apart from other sewing schools is our talented faculty. Some with 30 years of professional industry experience. They are true masters of their trade. We are so lucky to have them right here in Philadelphia, and at MADE.

J. Derwin Cooper

J. Derwin Cooper comes to MADE with a unique and varied history. As a BFA graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's Fashion Design Program, Derwin began his career in Colonial Williamsburg, where for two years he studied and demonstrated 18th Century sewing. He then went on to work in New York's garment district for several different companies, where he began to hone his skills in workroom production. While in New York, he was selected to be a featured designer in the 1992 Bridal Issue of Essence Magazine. After a short stint working in a theatrical costume workshop and finding new territory for his talents, Derwin moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked in the shops of The Shakespeare Theatre, The Washington Opera, and Howard University. He then was brought on as Assistant Designer to costumer Andre Harrington, at Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia. While there, he helped stage several Barrymore Award winning productions, including the stellar "Black Nativity". In Philadelphia, Derwin has worked for all the city's major theatres and has had the opportunity to design several main stage productions. Currently on staff at Opera Philadelphia and working toward launching an online catalog business, he is honored to have been asked to share his knowledge with the students of MADE.

Althea Unrath

Althea has been tailoring for Opera, film, theater fashion and dance for 30 years. She attended the university of the arts and later attended the Craft School of Tailoring a Philadelphia trade school that no longer exists. She designed costumes for many modern dance companies including Zero Moving dance Company. She's worked as a tailor on several feature films "Beloved", "Time Machine", "The divine Secrets of the Ya Ya sisterhood" and "Big Fish". She worked as head pattern makern for former Philadelphia based clothing company Ercoli and has been a pattern maker and the Philadelphia Opera Company for most of the past 27 years.

Stephen Smith

Stephen is a freelance costume designer and stitcher for Philadelphia theater, opera and dance. He is an alumni of the University of the Arts and studied abroad at the London College of Fashion. He is the costume shop assistant at Opera Philadelphia and designs and builds costumes for Ballet X among other companies. Throughout his time at the Opera and a season long fellowship at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco he has developed a love for quality craftsmanship and hopes to teach people to truly take pride in their work. The first goal in anything you create is to be happy with it yourself.

Rachel Ford

Ms. Ford is a fashion and costume designer with a bachelor's degree in Fashion Design from Drexel University. She currently makes costumes for The Opera Company of Philadelphia, in addition to freelance designing for movies and music videos. She also teaches Advanced Sewing and Fashion Design for Continuing Education at Moore College of Art. Previous experience includes assistant designing at Free People.