Over the span of Susan Apple Graass’ 40-plus years in the apparel business, the Louisiana native and TCU graduate has designed and manufactured thousands of timeless dresses for women to wear and enjoy.

For the founder and dress designer of Susan Apple, Inc, the 2023 launch of her new website will be more than a celebration of her entrepreneurial career. Her new website will feature couture-inspired dresses. Keeping with the Susan Apple tradition, her designs will continue to be ethically produced.

Her storied collection of dresses began 40 years ago at TCU. Susan designed a dress with a hand-smocked collar for her pattern drafting class project. Next, she began sewing and selling dresses out of her college dorm room when her friends requested her original designs. Susan’s new venture soon turned into a part-time job. Next, came a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Margaret McWhorter, Susan’s pattern drafting professor and Chair of TCU’s Department of Home-Economics saw something in Susan’s creative and entrepreneurial skills. Margaret offered to finance a business startup with Susan’s original designs.

Susan and Margaret launched Susan Apple Designs. They shopped for wholesale fabrics, trims and buttons. They reached out to a western-wear company located on Berry Street, blocks from TCU’s campus to manufacture her dresses. In March 1983, dress samples were completed just in time for Susan’s senior spring break. During a road trip around the state of Texas, Susan sold dresses out of the trunk of her car to eight boutiques.

In May 1983, Susan graduated from TCU. While Margaret continued her teaching career at TCU, Susan debated between a real job and pursuing her dream as a fashion designer. Susan chose to build her apparel company. Her parents graciously cosigned a $3,000 loan at First National Bank in her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. With the support of friends and family, mom-and-pop boutiques, the International Apparel Mart and Dallas independent seamstresses, Susan built her dress brand and company.

Today, Susan’s studio is in Dallas, Texas. With years of honing her designing, pattern drafting and sewing skills, Susan enjoys creating hand-crafted originals with top-quality imported fabrics, trims and buttons.

Susan is married to Jim Graass, the love her life. They have four grown children. Susan and Jim enjoy entertaining and traveling.