Jody Davis is working in the back room of her Saratoga Street shop in downtown Baltimore. She is focused on a printed maxi dress made out of a mesh jersey fabric that cascades at the hemline and hits the floor, but she isn’t yet satisfied with her sample. “It needs a bit more,” she says, pausing for a moment, “something else to give it that drama that I’m looking for.”
Beyond the runway and the showroom stocked with this season’s looks, finished garments line the wall of her studio, rolls of natural fabrics pile high, and spools of thread dot the wall with color. A Juki straight-stitch sewing machine sits on a green table in the corner, and Davis’s trusted dress form, where she drapes fabric to begin most of her designs, stands nearby.
Her fashion line, Jody Davis Designs, recently celebrated its tenth year, and her garments have been worn by the likes of television journalists Soledad O’Brien and Gayle King. Davis favors form-fitting silhouettes with thoughtful details, balancing classic design with avant-garde touches. On an otherwise simple white dress, puffed sleeves and a center high neck create a sense of strength. Beaded fringe on the body of a little black dress shimmers with movement, while its sheer cap sleeves feature an understated grid-patterned lace. Davis pays attention to every element—the trim, the zippers, the buttons—they’re all important.