Inside the Story: High-end fashion from a designer with autism
(KUTV) Michael Andolsek has a very unique talent that starts with pen and paper.
"I'm a dress maker," he said.
He designs high-end women's clothing with lots of sparkle and pizzazz.
"We design and manufacture dresses, jackets, and skirts for women,” Andolsek explained.
He calls it Andolsek - after his last name.
"It's a very sophisticated look," he said.
On the day he met with 2News, he was gearing up for the most exciting, yet most intense day of his life-his very own fashion show.
"It is exciting to think about seeing my clothes on a runway that is my own," Andolsek said.
Several days later, Andolsek stood at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake, working with 13 models as he prepared to bring his clothing line to the runway for the very first time.
"This is the launch of the Andolsek ready-to-wear line," he said. "It's very exciting."
For Andolsek, this is a dream come true. Years of hard work are now being displayed for all to see.
"I like to create fancy gowns and use unique fabrics and embroidery so that there are intricate details that sparkle. It's fun to see a well-dressed woman," he said of his job.
But if you only knew the real Michael Andolsek.
"I don't like to speak with people; I don't,” he said.
You'd be amazed how he's managed to get here at all.
Andolsek has autism.
"As a kid, I had to go to speech therapy. I had to learn to do things that most people know how to do instinctively, to introduce themselves when they meet someone for the first time, to make eye contact," he explained.
And that's why even his interview with 2News was a major challenge.
"It's uncomfortable," he said. "It's very difficult to funnel the correct information in my head out of my mouth to the person I'm speaking with."
But Andolsek knows if he wants to make it in the fashion world, he's got to face his fears.
“It's an ongoing workshop for me to get better and better at handling my anxiety with interacting with people."
At the same time, he's hoping to give back by hiring other people with autism. His business goal: at least 10 percent of his work force will be those with autism.
"There are 80 percent of us people with autism that are either unemployed or under employed and I think it's a shame because there are so many talents in us that we can really use and showcase," Andolsek explained.
And if there is anyone who knows how to showcase something, it's Andolsek, who hopes his clothing line can be more than just great fashion.
"I think people enjoy knowing that they can purchase something from a company that is not solely concerned about making money," he said.
If you are interested in learning more about Andolsek, check out the website.