Beautifully Tailored Clothes for Women

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“Why are women denied the power of feminine tailoring?” That is the question that is the foundation of Kate Starkey Couture. Combining quality, flair and detail, Kate Starkey Couture creates beautifully tailored clothes for women. Unfortunately, they are based in London so all of us across the pond with just have to wait and hope they jump the puddle.

How Showrooms Work

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As I mentioned last week I had recently settled on my first showroom which meant there was much work to be done! If any of you are familiar with the inner-workings of a showroom you can pass over this part, but I just wanted to explain to the readers who are not in the know, what a showroom is and what a small fashion label like my own will gain from working with one.
A showroom is a space in which various designer labels are on display, usually in a large, studio-like setting. The showroom is run by a team of people who fall under titles such as: owner, rep, press agent, interns, etc., and these people are responsible for selling your collection to buyers from department stores & boutiques from around the world. Mainly a showroom is private, meaning it is not open to the public and an appointment must be made with the rep in order to come and view the collection (if you are a buyer or press agent). The showroom will also take your collection on the road and visit various cities and set up in-store appointments with potential clients, and also visit fashion week markets such as Coterie, D&A, Bread&Butter, Pool, etc. The showroom usually charges a monthly fee (sort of like a rent payment for the space utilized by your collection) and they will also make a commission off of the sales they acquire for you. It can be a win-win situation if you find someone you trust who loves your product and really wants to push it.

In the showroom your collection will be hanging on it’s own rack. One sample from each style or color way will be on display as well as look-books, line-sheets & order forms. Each sample will have a hang-tag which relays the style number, sizing options, color-ways, ship dates & price. This is where branding becomes very important, you want to make sure you are using a logo you love that is cohesive & coherent and that you choose your fonts, labels, hang-tags & stylistic elements wisely.
I have an appointment with Barneys New York next week and for this I am very excited. Usually the designer is not present during the showings. I personally do not like to be there when others are critiquing my work. I do appreciate constructive criticism and always ask my rep what the feedback has been, but I find it more professional to not be present during these showings. My rep, however, has asked me to be present during the Barneys appointment as they want to meet me! For this session they will hire a model to come in, like they used to in Coco Chanel’s days, in her couture parlour in Paris. The model will try on the collection for the buyers to be able to see how the dresses fall and move. I am very nervous & excited for this meeting & I will let you know the outcome!

Last day to upload your Malissa Variation!

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The contest ends tomorrow at midnight! Send in CLEAR photos of your variation to team@burdastyle.com. Finish you dresses, take those pictures and send ‘em in!

ThreadBanger Has Their Own Sewing Machine!

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Our great friends at ThreadBanger have their own series of Janome sewing machines! How cool is that? Congrats to our good friends and their awesome new machines!

A collection from start to finnish

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Member MilasFashion, who designed our Mila dress, has a great blog showing all the steps of making a collection, from inspiration to completion. Follow her work through each step and watch how they develop.

Fabric Choice of our October Skirt, PART II

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Your numerous responses to the October skirt color choice was enormously inspiring. Even though I have to leave to my girlfriends wedding in a few minutes, I want to get out another post with more color choices and ideas inspired by you.

Inside a tailored jacket

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I’m such a sucker for quick and easy projects, but every now and then I feel the need to make something that really challenges my sewing skills and forces me to slow down and appreciate the fine details. This year I’m making my own winter coat for the first time, and even though it’s taking me months (mostly because I only have the patience to do a few steps at a time around my quick projects!), I hope that at the end of it I’ll have something I can be proud of.

So I’m incredibly happy that the Spanish professional Couturier and Tailor Paco Peralta has decided to share his methods and secrets to creating the perfect tailored jacket, especially how to get those tricky lapel corners! You can read his original Spanish version here or the Portuguese and English translations on Tany’s site (who’s an impressive sewer herself!).

While I may not be prepared for all that intricate padstitching this time around, it’s great to learn about the truly awesome skill and patience that goes into professional garments, especially as the weather cools for us in the Northern hemisphere and we start looking to wear more jackets and coats.

Frida Kahlo: unintentional fashion icon?

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National Independence Day in Mexico, since this is not a history blog I won’t go into any details on Mexico’s Independence, nor about the celebrations itself what comes to my mind though is an “undercover” icon of Mexican culture: Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter (1907-1954). For a long time she was known mainly as wife of Diego Rivera, one of Mexico’s most important Mexican artists thanks to his murals which cover some of the most important political buildings in Mexico City. Some may portray Frida as victim of her diseases, her husband and more general as victim of a chauvinist culture. Others see in her a feminist hero, a fighter, who conquered the agony of her life through her art and incredible will to live. Many of us know her style through her numerous self-portraits, and not least through the film “Frida” directed by and starring Salma Hayek. But hardly anyone knows and she herself might have never imagined it, or maybe she did? that the combination’s of her folkloric costumes have turned her into a “fashion icon”, inspiring not just individual women but the masters of Haute Couture, such as Jean Paul Gaultier.

But let’s look at her style in a little bit more detail: Frida wears dresses inspired by different ethnic groups of Mexico. Two very basic types of dresses are the huipil, a basic rectangle of cloth, handwoven, with openings for the arms and a neckline, decorated with intricate embroidery. The other is the quechquemitl, a shawl type of thing which although in its essence really simple, leaves endless possibilities for variation.

The Museum of Arizona shows nice details of traditional designs of both, the huipil and the quechquemitl – maybe they’ll inspire you to make your own Frida Kahlo collection.

P.S. Can you spot Frida in the painting by Diego Rivera?

Featured Member: Carolinesj

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?

I’m originally from Dunedin, a university town in the south of New Zealand, but about a year ago I moved to Nelson, a sunny little town at the top of the island. It’s surrounded by national parks and beaches, which is awesome, but it’s pretty small and lacking in fashion and art so most of my inspiration comes from magazines, blogs and websites.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?

What was the first thing you made? How did you start sewing?
As a kid I did any craft I could get my hands on. My mum taught me to sew and I started with dolls clothes and toys before moving on to clothes for myself. In terms of actual wearable stuff, I made a hoodie and skirt when I was about 13 and realized how easy it was to have cool and different clothes, and I’ve sewn ever since.

3. What role does sewing play in your life?

It’s a creative outlet, my favourite hobby and a part-time job! It’s quite calming and really rewarding, especially getting comments about my own clothes and also from people I sew for.

4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?

Favourites:
When I mail and out-of-town a friend a package of something I’ve made for them I always get a super excited text message when they open it up – such a good feeling! I also love just chilling out in my sewing room with the stereo pumping and forgetting about time, looking through vintage patterns and reworking vintage clothes.
Least favourites:
Being too rushed and messing up a piece of clothing – such a bummer! Sewing at night and making mistakes, or ending up with 10cm less fabric than I need for a project.

5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?

Nothing special – I would just make amazing dresses for my friends, so when they’re famous they can wear them on tv/stage…! One of my friends is a hairstylist and I work with a photographer so we all collaborate and it’s exciting just seeing my creations with hair, makeup and in nice photos, even if it’s just for fun.

6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?

I really like checking out other people’s variations of patterns. Free/cheap patterns are the best thing ever, so thank you! BurdaStyle is an amazing form of inspiration and motivation. I really like the blog as well. The site is much faster now – don’t change a thing!

7. What is your motto?

As soon as you make a stupid mistake, you’ve been sewing too long/late. Go to bed or do something else! There’s a reason why you’re sewing the wrong sides together…

Carolinesj has incredible craftsmanship, there is no way around that. Check out her creations to see what I mean. My personal favorite is her yellow Gucci dress (I think I like it better than the original). Update! check out her blog!

Fabric Treatment Ideas for Blouse

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Check out this long sleeve blouse for the Holidays. Another treat coming up this fall.



Fall Collection: A Bathrobe as a Christmas Gift

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A bathrobe! A piece of clothing that does not get the attention it deserves, since mostly worn when barely anyone else is around. Nevertheless, an important piece of clothing since it may be the first one that greets you in the morning and helps you ease into the day.

Alison Kelly: Wholesale Orders and Finding a Showroom

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After the loss, which I mentioned in my last blog, I had what one may call a nervous breakdown. I spent the next couple of months in a fog of worry, fear and anxiety. I had just received my first huge wholesale order from Shopbop.com and while that was exciting, it was quite stressful indeed. Generally speaking, retailers place orders from design houses twice a year, in September & February (some design houses create “Resort” collections which fall in the off-seasons). I had received my order in September which meant I would be shipping it out in February. How was I going to pay for the collection to be produced after having my prospective capital stolen? I needed to buy hundreds of yards of silk & cotton, buttons, zippers, linings, and because of my own strong beliefs against outsourcing production to far-away lands (which spells injustice not to mention poorer quality of goods) I had to make sure my factory would take on such a task in a timely fashion, willing to be paid once I was paid (which can be months after you have shipped in some cases!).

Somehow, through an eclectic combination of monetary support from my family, emotional support from my boyfriend & friends, the book “Eat, Pray, Love” (don’t tell) and pure fate, I was able to ship the collection to Shopbop on time and I actually made a good profit off of my first big wholesale account, which is virtually unheard of in this industry (and I was able to pay my parents back before my sister’s wedding that summer, phew!)…maybe I priced my pieces too high? Or maybe I was just lucky. However, a re-order from Shopbop sent me on a much brighter looking path and provided me with some capital to create my next collection. I couldn’t believe I had survived the tumultuous storm. I was elated. I want to zap to the present, now that I have shared with you a couple of experiences that have shaped where I am now and say that I have just signed with my first showroom in New York city and I am very excited to see what the future holds.

Shopping for a showroom is yet another daunting task. I have heard horror stories from my many designer friends who have worked with showrooms who just ate up all of their hard-earned money to come back with no sales, no effort, no support. I didn’t want to make that mistake as well. I shopped around, I loved a very upscale, high-fashion showroom run by an unique family (from mother & father to daughters) be I couldn’t afford their rates…I went to some uber-cool downtown independent showrooms which I loved the aesthetic but not the vibe…By chance, I was out one night when I ran into my friend Jeralyn Gerba from DailyCandy and she was with a woman whom, coincidentally, I had met years before at a Latin dance club in Brooklyn, and learned that she had just started repping designers & was opening a new showroom. One of her clients was an acquaintance of mine, Laura Dawson, whose career I had seen flourishing as of late. I asked around and people seemed to know about this showroom and the woman behind it and they said great things. I met with her, and after seeing how she adored my clothing, and also shared with me that she has been asking around about me as well & already had interested buyers, we sealed the deal. The showroom is in Nolita, one of my favorite areas of Manhattan, and seemed just right. We shall see what happens!

Fall Fashion Week in NYC

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Well, last week was fashion week here in the city, the high heels were clicking and the fabric was flowing.
It was my first experience with fashion week, well show’s at least, and let me tell you, it was exhilarating. Layla went to the Vera Wang show at 10 am and I met her my ticket to the Naeem Khan show at 11. Aside from getting lost behind the tent at Bryant park 5 minutes before the start of the show, it was amazing. Hikaru went to Cynthia Rowley and Benedikta went to Zac Posen. Details were in: the use of lace, woven fabric, drapes and ruffles defined the spring 2009 ready to wear collections. Most of the fabric that was chosen went one of two ways, either extra flowy or super stiff. Fashion week is very exciting and I can’t wait to see these looks next spring. Check out Style.com for pictures from all the shows.

Finding time

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Most days are busy for me but this past month has been a little crazy! Having 3 kids and working from home can have its ups and its downs. I love being home with my girls but it can be difficult to split my time between the two and often they merge together. Sometimes I get time to myself to work but other times I don’t and rather than stress about it (which I still do), I just have to let things go now and again and catch up with it later. My Jorinde muslin is one of those things, it has been hanging in my sewing room almost finished but I just haven’t had time to work on it. But, now that I have a heap of projects out of the way I plan to get to work on it, fingers crossed! I’ve noticed a few others have finished their jackets so rather than keep everyone waiting I’ve added a new thread to the forum for the next sewalong. Pop on over there and suggest what you would like to sew next. I will of course still be adding to jacket sewalong, maybe it can be a long running thread……….

I’m trying to spend more time looking after myself too; it’s easy to get caught up looking after everyone else so I’ve taken up practicing yoga and Pilates. I think a pair of these and a few of these would be good for workout wear. I’m rising earlier (but still failing to go to bed earlier), and trying to eat and drink a healthier diet. I’m doing it little by little and I feel better already.

I was asked by Ghainskomhow to make the yo-yo’s (or Suffolk Puffs) I embellished my dress with last week. They are super easy and you can find my quick How-To here. I’d love to see what you use them on if you make some.

Member Evsaid talks about Marc Jacobs and Fall Fashion

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Member evsaid brings us a great new blog talking about Marc Jacobs and everything fall fashion. Check out the first trend listed, you think it will catch on?

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