Roxi Suger is a fashion designer and creator of the eco-friendly Angelrox line, which is manufactured in a converted Biddeford textile mill. Raised in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Suger attended the University of Alabama, and honed her skills in New York, working with designer Vivienne Tam and retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Le Château. Suger’s husband, Julian Schlaver, is co-owner of Angelrox.
How does it feel to be creating fashion in a space that used to be part of the textile industry, which held such an important place in Maine history?
We’re a small part of a broader revitalization that is happening in Maine and across America. Mills need not be empty buildings anymore, but can become thriving parts of the community. We are so delighted to be in Biddeford with the magnificence of its history. So many families have worked and strived and brought up their families as a result of the mills. We feel that spirit every day as we’re there working. We’re trying to do our little part to bring it forward. It’s a gift and a blessing.
When did you know that this is what you wanted to be doing?
I started drawing and gravitating toward fashion by the age of seven or eight. My grandmothers taught me how to sew—I had very inspirational grandmothers. Once I knew how to sew, then that became my path. I have never looked back and never wanted to do anything else. It is very exciting to be doing exactly what I dreamed I would do.
What hurdles did you have to overcome in order to keep moving forward with your dream?
I was in New York during September 11, which occurred right when I started Angelrox. I think you have to have some naive bravado in order to start a business in the first place. I jumped in very deep, very quickly. I got to enjoy a wonderful, humbling year of struggling and soul searching. My place of abode was an unheated artist’s loft in Dumbo, a neighborhood in Brooklyn. I did whatever it took to survive. I had moments when I just wished someone would tell me what to do:moments when the pasture looked greener somewhere else, even though it probably was not.
Why is your collection called Angelrox?
It is a combination of my name, and my friend Angela’s. Angelrox represents balance and trying to find that place of peace and bliss. It represents an essential dichotomy: hard and soft, light and dark, the heavens and the earth below. It has been a wonderful, wonderful exploration of spirit for me.
What inspires the designs for your clothing line?
The women whom I dress—my business is about listening to them. What are they looking for? What do they need? What is the silhouette that is going to flatter them and give them the fluidity to go from their wellness activities, back to work, maybe out to dinner. I pay obsessive attention to the curve and the shape, and where it’s going to hit on the body, and the needs it is going to fulfill.
You are known for supporting many local charities. Why is that important to you?
A portion of our sales from Angelrox each month is donated to a local charity. That has allowed us to support everything from Seeds of Hope in Biddeford, to Mustang Rescue, to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Women’s Ride. It’s been hard to pick one charity because we feel strongly that whether it’s humanitarian, environmental, or community-oriented, they’re all worthy. Last year, we also organized the Biddeford Ball. It was an incredible coming together of the community, and incredible outreach. This year the Biddeford Ball is slated for October 3rd. We’re gearing up our momentum toward that community celebration.