Coash Clothing Company is a mobile fashion boutique out of Valparaiso. Creative Director and Owner Tevlyn Schwerd hails from the area, proving that anyone can take even the most artistic of pursuits and bring something wholly innovative about while being rooted in the Midwest.
Schwerd completed her education at Memorial Elementary School, Benjamin Franklin Middle School, and Valparaiso High School, before attending Indiana University (IU). However, it seemed as if education was not always a necessary part of the picture.
When she was a young girl, Schwerd’s primary devotion was to becoming a classically trained dancer, and the line between fashion and dance was evident and hard to erase. Her parents were originally skeptical about her possibly not receiving an education. Nevertheless, when she was attending IU, as she simultaneously took preliminary fashion classes and dance classes, she soon arrived at a point where she could no longer balance the two, eventually fully focusing on her passion for fashion.
Throughout college, Schwerd had many internships that turned her eyes to the possibilities that fashion could bring. Garnering experience in New York City, she used to fly back and forth between Indiana and the world-renowned city for its famous Fashion Week, living a starry dream of sorts. Those dreams sprouted out of hard work and determination.
“I started sweeping the showroom floor, then I moved my way from being an intern to being an assistant designer, growing into doing production management for overseas development. That's the Indiana side of me, that you have to work hard and learn each level. I never dreamed of rolling out of bed and having this huge company that was a fly-by-night type of thing. I definitely am more grounded in taking those steps to do it all in the best way that I can,” she said.
Despite being surrounded by industry professionals, Schwerd’s main inspiration has always been her mother, Susan Schwerd, a woman whose impeccable fashion sense clearly went a long way.
“My mom has always been one of my fashion icons. She dressed just a bit eccentrically and had her own style. I was very inspired by that. From a fashion point of view, she definitely allowed me, at a young age, the creativity to express myself through my clothing, even to the detriment of getting in trouble at school because they didn't approve of what I was wearing,” Schwerd said.
When it comes to the incredible work of her own, Schwerd’s got a clear vision in mind, an all-inclusive goal.
“I like to make women of all ages, shapes, and walks of life look and feel fabulous. I want to help them find that beauty that’s within all of them, the confidence to put something amazing on. I’m always trying to find ways to make women have that a-ha moment of, ‘I can do this.’ There's nothing more satisfying for me than walking down the street and seeing someone wearing my clothes. I love finding the inner beauty of things, bringing it out, and helping people express it themselves,” she said.
Perhaps one of the best things about operating Coash Clothing is, as a single mother, all the time that Schwerd gets to spend with her daughter, Anatevka.
“My daughter is an old soul, and maybe that's just from the exposure that she's had in this brief six years of her life. What I love about my daughter is that she is so creative and quirky and loves to draw or put things together. She's truly my mini-me. She transitions so beautifully into any kind of circumstance. I'm also blessed to have a support group around me. If I have to go work at an event or do a pop-up, my daughter can stay at my parents’ house. She's comfortable around people, and so I'm blessed with my community because it takes a village,” she said.
Fashion is a versatile form of expression, so even when Schwerd’s indulging in her hobbies, she’s continuously searching for inspiration, trying to find new means of adding spice to what she does. That endeavor can take on many forms.
“I love thrifting and mixing the old and the new, whether that's in my personal wardrobe or my home. I love treasure-hunting for unique pieces, too, and anything that helps to express the look I'm going for during whichever season it may be. I love to travel, and I've traveled all over the world for both business and pleasure,” she said.
Valparaiso’s been the place that’s made all of this possible, and Schwerd realizes the difference the town’s made for her—her career, her daughter, and the future. It’s the grounds upon which things have happened, the grounds upon which things will continue to happen, where opportunities of all kinds have been and will be provided.
“Valparaiso’s grown and developed so much. I'm so in love with the uniqueness of the small businesses. I've lived in many different places, and I've had all these experiences, but I think that
Valpo is a wonderful place to raise my daughter. To really see the art and the culture of a small town is awesome. I can take my daughter to see live theatre up the street from us, and then we can go have a fabulous meal. We have access to so many things right here at our fingertips without even leaving Valpo, and I think that's pretty incredible,” she said.