Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fashion Future: Crafts, Consumer/Designers & SELF

The new postal stamps, with “Quilts from Gee’s Bend” are very inspirational and timed well to what I see as an extremely important development in the fashion industry for DEs (Designer Entrepreneurs) and consumers. For those who are very creative, and love to play with art, graphics and colors in fashion, the spring/summer season is great for experimentation, especially for those DEs that sell directly to consumers. The sleeveless jacket and skirt is one from the 1980s of my huge vintage collection. The photo is by Ron Ranere, Positive Image, It is in Ivory colored leather with the leaf patterns (front & back) in different colors of lambskin suede. It could sell very well this year, but I’m not selling anymore. I simply want to inspire you. Can’t you see using some of those color combinations or even some patterns of the quilts as appliqués or pieces of the garment shape in a dress, skirt or top?

I have been very busy helping DEs locally in Boston. As you well know, I am organizer for the Boston Fashion Industry Meetup, for all aspects of the industry to help one another, by meeting face to face locally. You also know that I organize the Fashion Product Development Meetup, that is now completely virtual, online for CHAT discussions. I make announcements on this web site for when I will be online to talk. You can join (anyone, anywhere & free) and then learn when. I now have just added a third meetup, Boston Craft & Fashion Sellers Meetup. Ivy Glass is my assistant organizer, and we hold the meetups at her studio in the artists spaces at Fort Point. It’s purpose is to research all the craft shows, fashion shows for DEs, and set up some as well as trunk shows and home parties in New England – all for selling direct to consumers, that helps you to make an income. If you go to the web site, you will see the same photo of my leather outfit with the leaf patterns. Click: We will be having our first meetup Feb. 8. I’m telling all of you about it because eventually, once we get it well established here, those of you in other parts of the country could also set up a Craft Sellers Meetup (and I will help you). Then, we could even exchange products and help each other sell over all parts of the country. Wouldn’t it be great to have that kind of “organized selling power”?

There’s some other things that keep me very busy as well, all for helping young DEs. I am a business consultant for the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) in New England. They have the best and cheapest business advice and classes. If any of you are in this area, you should check them out. I just met one of their clients that is really interesting, and represents the wave of the future in fabric coloring. She has been doing customized fabric dying for chains like the Gap, Ann Taylor, etc., and now is going big. Everyone is interested world-wide because she has established STANDARDS for fabric coloring, globally, and will be having it digitally as well. In my talk with her, she knows that the future is for consumers, and small businesses on the web, and eventually will have something for you as well. I will keep you posted. Go see her web site.

All the work in SELF (Self-Employed Laboratory of Fashion) keeps mounting, because the group of members are all each making a tiny collection of dresses for spring/summer that are based on my Generic S-Patterns, both to test them and to help the members develop their styles. There is a great deal of graphics and craft influence in what we do. Unfortunately for you, this is completely local. We are having a meeting on the 3rd. and will keep you updated on what we set up. We also have one member that I’m helping to set up a business for sourcing cottons and silks from India. Once some of these things are set up then we can offer it to you as well.

By now you must realize that I do not have the time to set up an online teaching structure for learning about the S-Patterns. I’m sorry that some of you had hopes of this. Maybe I will meet someone in the local area that I will teach and she or he could do it?

If any have questions, please ask me. I love to answer them. My commitment is to help young DEs for a very interesting 21st century future.


Diane said...

As a quilter, I also incorporate patchwork into my clothing line. Have you seen some of the wonderful pieces from Project Alabama? They were reverse applique, cotton jersy tops and skirts. I hear they lost their funding and are temporarily shut down. Very sad news. Barneys was their major retailer.

Shirley Willett said...


I wish you were in Boston so you could be part of SELF as well as our new Boston Craft & Fashion Sellers Meetup. But, I will be keeping everyone updated in the Fashion Product Development Meetup & CHAT. Hopefully one we get it set up as a good market here we can exchange with Craft Sellers markets around the country. This is why I can't do much with the S-Patterns online.

It's interesting that Barney's is hurting a lot of young designers by not paying them!

Great to hear from you. Best wishes, Shirley

Diane said...

Well, I guess you've pretty much answered my email here on your blog.

Good luck to you and all in the Boston area! -Diane