When I think Back to my childhood, a flood of special memories come to mind that involve Alicia Miklavicic-Franz and her mom, Janie Esposito. Alicia was new to my school in 4th grade, moving to West Allis (West-Milwaukee) from a much smaller town called Adams Friendship in Wisconsin. We became instant friends. I traveled with Janie, Alicia, and younger brother Michael to craft shows, helping set up the booth and selling Janie’s children’s clothes. I can remember being with them after a day of selling, sitting in a restaurant and watching Janie’s shock of hearing the news of Princess Diana’s tragic death. You often recall where you were and who you were with when shocking world news occurs and at that time in my life, it was no surprise that I happen to be with Alicia and her family.
Alicia traveled along with my family, too, on our annual Spring Break trip to Perdido Key, Florida. It was actually a much larger group than just us; We traveled with at least 10 other families of the West Allis fire department my dad worked for. We played pretend play with the younger kids, catching “fish” as the waves hit the shore and spent hours chasing the sun. We fully embraced our youth, too. We hid a coin under the elevated condos to see if it could withstand the weather and any curious treasure hunters. Of course no one was looking for our measly treasure, but in case you’re wondering, it did withstand some pretty intense storms in the years following.
When we weren’t traveling, we played mostly at Alicia’s house. With Alicia, it was always an adventure or learning experience of some sort. She taught me what being independent, creative, and courageous looked like. Whether it was learning how to ski or swallowing medicine in pill form for the first time, Alicia showed me how to be brave.
At 11 years old, I can remember appreciating the innate interior design skills of Janie and how Alicia was by far more impressive than me when doodling up dress designs. From creating our 6th grade Halloween costumes to high school dance prop competition outfits, their skills shined.
Many years and major life events later, Janie and Alicia founded Silk Worm Textiles due to their love for fashion, functionality and nature. In 2011, they took to the sewing machines and launched their Silk Worm Scarf Line which encompasses the reinvention of materials into fashion-forward, unique, and customizable creations. Since their launch, Silk Worm has made waves in the fashion world by winning Awards from Art & Fashion Events nationwide, and by being included in Celebrity Swag Bags at the Oscar Academy Awards!
With continued expansion of utilizing repurposed materials, Janie and Alicia have been able to bring even greater meaning and comfort by creating customized “Memory Scarves” from a loved one's favorite clothing pieces they remember them wearing. Customers have expressed that their custom Memory Scarf brings them such comfort because they are wrapped in their loved one’s energy and memory.
We are always honored to create with such meaningful items and understand the importance of each piece sent to us. - Alicia Miklavicic-Franz
I love my Silk Worm scarf! I choose a few of my Mom's favorite tops to have made into a special keepsake and I am so pleased that I did. It is truly a piece of art and brings me comfort to wear it. - Debbie Niedermeier-Wartgow. Brodhead, Wi
What Janie and Alicia are creating for families across the country through their Silk Worm Scarf Line is incredibly unique and meaningful. Often times when we lose someone we love, we hold tight to the memories, but also yearn to feel connected to them in other tangible ways. Using a loved one’s clothing pieces to create a memento, like a Silk Worm scarf, can literally feel like they are wrapping their love around you.
Janie and Alicia know the importance your loved one’s materials are because they each wear a very special scarf, too. Dancing in Heaven, while very likely eating just the red M&Ms, is their son and brother, Michael Miklavicic, who died tragically in a boating accident in 2012. Amazingly and ironically, Michael witnessed the very moment when the decision was made by Janie and Alicia to start Silk Worm and assisted with the very first sale to a boutique in Steamboat, Colorado. His fearlessness, joy, and strength continues to be stitched into every piece that Janie and Alicia create.