Private Project

Eugene Alexander: The Fashion of Eugene Stutzman

Eugene Alexander: The Fashion of Eugene Stutzman is a 15-minute documentary that reveals the lasting impact of the couture dresses created by the fashion design team of Eugene Stutzman and Alexander Wallace in the 1980s and 1990s. Framed by a fashion show fundraiser for The Goshen Theater in Goshen, Ind. on September 23, 2017, the film explores Mennonite fashion designer Eugene Stutzman’s experiences dressing Hollywood customers, his dressmaking inventions used in his factory in Sarasota, Fla., his endeavors after leaving the fashion industry, and how his dresses have a second life through the Eugene Alexander Hope Foundation.

Stutzman stepped beyond the constraints of Mennonite and Amish convention while also drawing upon that tradition for both his style aesthetic and manufacturing choices. Jim Miller at DutchCrafters Amish Furniture saw the connection between Stutzman’s choices and the DutchCrafters brand and made it possible for Stutzman’s story to be told.

  • Jake Smucker
  • Debra Gingerich
  • Jim Miller
  • Eugene Stutzman
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Short, Documentary Short, Short Film
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 27, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Love Your Shorts Film Festival
    Sanford, FL
    United States
    February 10, 2018
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Sunscreen Film Festival
    St. Petersburg, FL
    United States
    April 28, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Sarasota Premiere Party
    Sarasota, FL
    United States
    April 21, 2018
    Sarasota Premiere
Director Biography - Jake Smucker

Jake Smucker grew up on a small farm in rural Kansas before his introduction to film at Goshen College. At Goshen College, he found a home at production company FiveCore Media, both as a student and full-time after graduating. In all new productions, Smucker leans on his production experience in many genres, including documentary filmmaking, short films, commercial video, and animation. Smucker's production credits include both student- and professional-award winning videos as a cinematographer, editor, and assistant producer. Smucker is now employed as the multimedia producer and graphic designer at DutchCrafters Amish Furniture.

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Director Statement

Eugene Stutzman presents himself as a quiet, unassuming introvert. But those who meet him quickly find an engaging, creative, and truly authentic personality with a unique perspective on the world. When he approached DutchCrafters CEO Jim Miller about sponsoring his fashion show in Goshen, Indiana, Jim thought we as a company might better contribute to the project as a story sponsor, producing content for the show. That's where I was introduced to the project; as the multimedia producer and graphic designer at DutchCrafters, I would be the producer of the film and designer of an accompanying show booklet. Although I did not know Eugene at the time and had no prior interest in fashion, as a fellow small-town Mennonite who attended Goshen College and lives in Sarasota, Florida, I found immediate interest in Eugene's story and connection with his experience.

As we engaged in pre-production meetings and began filming interviews, it became clear to me that I was not the only one this story would connect to. It was a story that begged to be shared with a broader audience. Eugene's is a story of love, loss, and overcoming adversity. It shows Eugene's commitment to quality and authenticity, inventiveness, and social justice. It presents themes of the women's liberation movement, life as an openly gay man in America, and the state of the fashion industry, as seen by a man with one foot in the star-studded world of NYC fashion and one foot in small-town Mennonite life. It is a story of the human experience: a story of just one man, his partner, and their creations that continue to stay relevant to this day.