Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Owatonna: Showcasing the work of fashion designer Spencer Versteeg May 9, 2017

Two of the dresses Spencer Versteeg designed, now on display at the Owatonna Arts Center.


HIS PASSION FOR FASHION is evident. It shows in his work, in his enthusiasm, in his energetic vibe.


Spencer answers questions about his fashions during his OAC gallery reception.


I observed all of that Sunday afternoon at an Owatonna Arts Center reception honoring Spencer Versteeg who returned to his hometown for his first ever gallery showing. He’s an apparel design student heading into his senior year at the University of Minnesota.


The exhibit features notebooks and pages of Spencer’s design sketches.


Spencer has known since age seven that he wanted to design clothing.

Spencer has known since age seven that he wanted to design clothing. He pursued that interest early on via local theatre and a high school internship at Kristi’s Clothing Boutique.




Already Spencer is making an imprint on the fashion scene. Last fall his work was showcased in the noted Envision Fashion Show at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. And this summer he’s interning at Target, working on a floor set that should land his women’s clothing designs in Target stores.




Front dress details drape.


Spencer’s clothing designs hang high on a gallery space wall.


Asked to describe his design style, Spencer paused, then responded with a single word: vibrant. That seems accurate when I consider his fashion designs beyond hue and pattern. His clothing possesses a vibrancy in a sense of motion, in the flow of fabric, in the impression it exudes.


Spencer talks with a gallery guest about his fashion designs. He invited visitors to page through his sketchbooks.


And then there’s Spencer himself, engaging family and friends with a notable appreciation for their support and with a deep love for the creative process of fashion design.


Rows of sketches by Spencer are taped to a gallery wall.


When I inquired about his future, he provided an honest answer. “That’s a good question,” Spencer said, offering no hint at the direction his life may take after graduation from the U of M.


The bodice of a particularly creative dress shown at the Envision Fashion Show.


“New York?” I asked.



He’s been to New York, Spencer said, enough to understand he needs space, open physical space. But I expect if opportunities present themselves in the New York fashion scene, this Owatonna native will embrace them.




Clothing patterns are tapped to gallery windows.




I know next to nothing about fashion, although I sewed my own clothing (from purchased patterns) while in high school. But I understand the need, the desire, the passion to create. Just like Spencer.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


26 Responses to “In Owatonna: Showcasing the work of fashion designer Spencer Versteeg”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    What a fun exhibit! Love how patrons were allowed to look through his sketch books and see the progression of his designs over the years. Good luck to Spencer in the future—I am sure he has a bright future!

  2. Love his style and color choices – edgy but classic and love pops of color 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Happy Day – Enjoy!

  3. Seems like this creative and vibrant young man “has it”. I enjoyed all the photos. Interested to see where he heads next!

  4. Jackie Says:

    Is this your first fashion exhibit ,as far as this venue of “Art” is concerned? I found your post interesting and especially like the wrap dress in the first photo. (Now if I only had the body to wear it) I hope Spencer goes far, his creations are beautiful!

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    I love this fashion exhibit! You photographed it well!

  6. Bernadette Thomasy Says:

    Loved seeing what a young man from Owatonna is creating. I’ll have to tell my family there about the exhibit.

    • In addition to this exhibit, the 65th annual Steele County Art Exhibition is showing in the main gallery. I’ll post about that soon.

      Are you familiar with Adam Young, a young musician from Owatonna who goes under the name of Owl City? He’s made a name for himself in the music industry.

  7. Susan Ready Says:

    Your photos capture the vibrancy of his creative designs. The fashion world is so competitive we wish him well in his endeavors. My favorite..the wrap dress

  8. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    Wow! Some haute couture that looks really wearable.

  9. Interesting pieces! I like the blue dress with tree branches. It’s the perfect dress to wear on a date with an outdoorsman!!!

  10. Spencer Versteeg Says:

    Thank you for such amazing coverage and photos! Your words are kind and thoughtful!

  11. mandyarraiz Says:

    wow this is great! keep it up!

  12. Sunaina Das Says:

    In love with this post 💗
    Btw I posted a summer outfit on my blog – https://sunainadasblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/casual-chic-summer-outfit-2017/

    Hope you will like it xoxo 💕
    Also check my Instagram for more pics 🙌🏻

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