Loki started customizing jackets when they were 14 years old. They were inspired after coming across a fellow classmate wearing crust pants, a punk-inspired, clothing style. Loki explains, “To make crust pants, you cut up jean fabric, sew it on a pair of pants, and kick the pants in the mud; then, after letting them soak up the mud for a bit, you smack the pants to remove the
excess earth and set the look.”
Paired with Dr. Martens boots and a painted coat featuring spikes, pins, and band patches, the punk style of Loki’s friend sparked the idea for a new business venture.
Loki reflects, “I dug out one my old jackets from middle school and began working on it. Figuring practice makes perfect, when I finished my first jacket, I did another one – and it was a complete mess. The sleeves were too tight, so I cut them off –
and so was the hem, which I ripped. In the end, only the back was left of it. I destroyed the jacket by accident.”
Over the next year, Loki continued to experiment, customizing several jackets for themselves and friends. They work with jean, leather, and cotton jackets – and have even used hoodies to design one-of- a-kind, wearable works of art that people can use
to express themselves in their everyday lives.
Loki learned about Lifeworks Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) through school. Pre-ETS is offered through Minnesota’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS). They provide counseling and training in job exploration, work-based
learning, post-secondary education, workplace readiness, and self-advocacy. Susan Fox, a counselor with VRS, connected Lifeworks with Loki’s school.
After meeting with Lifeworks, Loki decided to move forward with Pre-ETS. They completed an assessment of their interests and goals for the future. They share,
I was skeptical at first. I thought, ‘Do these people think that I cannot find a job on my own? There is a view that people with disabilities cannot do a lot on their own. And I don’t like that stereotype.’”
Right as the in-person, Pre-ETS meetings were scheduled to start, COVID-19 happened, resulting in transitioning to virtual, individual support with Lifeworks Career Placement Counselor, Iqra Rabbani. She explains, “When we connected, the
purpose was to explore different fields. As I got to know Loki, it became clear that fashion was their passion. They are so creative. They were already making custom jackets, so I suggested that Loki develop their skillset by starting a business.”
They came up with a name: LokisPunkwear, created a brand with a logo, put together a professional portfolio, built an online shop through Etsy, and setup marketing channels, including Facebook and Instagram. As an online business owner herself and
an expert in connecting people with careers that they love, Iqra was a great mentor for Loki. She shared free resources and passed on the knowledge she has gained over the years – all while focusing on developing lifelong skills and supporting Loki’s goals.
Loki has been grateful for this experience.
Lifeworks has given me so many opportunities. Iqra has supported me a lot. I wouldn’t have my business without her. I cannot stop thanking her.”
When asked what’s next for their business, Loki replies, “I want to continue giving people another way to express themselves. It’s not just about the money. I’m gaining skills and knowledge that will help me well into my future.”
Interested in a custom jacket? Check out Loki’s Esty shop: etsy.com/shop/LokisPunkwear