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With our upcoming election here in the USA I have been preoccupied with thoughts of the next Depression. The economy here has reached
a startling low and we’ve all really begun to feel it. It makes me question fashion: what does it mean to me, to the world, why is it important and what can I do to feel as if I am doing something that is not disposable, excessive or outright rude during times like these.

My latest project (Dahl & Dane) has really got me thinking about a utilitarian fashion design mentality. Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all persons. All persons is quite a huge undertaking, but to be able to reach some, and create a positive reaction, is what I aim to do with my work.

My wholesale line, which can be classified as a high-end collection, is made up of material formations of my ideal…or dreamworld. Dresses & tops that involve much work to be put together, hand-crocheted elements and open backed dresses; they speak a specific dialect that only some seem to understand or speak themselves…The Dahl & Dane organic t-shirts and totes line has gotten much adoration from greater amounts of people from all walks of life who understand our language. It is not too expensive, the items are hand screen-printed with thought & care, and it gives a chance for someone to express their love. That reaction is what has planted a seed of thought in my mind about where, at this point in time, should one in my position go in terms of creating fashion designs?

I have decided to strip down the high-fashion and get to the grit of what people want. I have been asking around to friends about what they wear the most & what is lacking out there…I have decided to create a more utilitarian line that will be made up of more staples, like a soft bamboo extra long t-shirt and creating my own prints…

What do you like to wear everyday?


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    Dec 5, 2008, 02.21 AMby paydayloans

    Seriously, I think the whole United States’ recession thing has somehow affected everyone. It’s ridiculous to think that payday loans are responsible for the economic mess in America. Apparently, economists have marked December 2007 the “official” beginning of our current recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) identifies top activity at this point, and the U.S economy has been deteriorating since then. The NBER describes recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in production, employment, real income, and other indicators.” It seems other organizations are in the same boat. Backed by the government, academics and the private sector, it’s as close to official as possible. These conclusions are based upon unemployment, incomes, industrial output and sales data. The highest point in employment and incomes was marked that December. In January, industrial output peaked and five months later, in the month of June, sales peaked. Democrats claimed this wasn’t a shock and called for an economic stimulus package. “The announcement simply makes official what we have long known: with rising costs of living, rising unemployment, record foreclosures and depleting savings, we must do more to help families make ends meet,” says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. So, this would mean that the proposal to ban payday loans is not a good plan. Reid highlighted that a recovery package must create more jobs, cut middle class taxes and instill confidence in the market and the people. Payday loans, and any other similar form of lending, have proven once again the magnitude of their importance in our economy. Click here for more information about Payday Loans, click the link.

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    Nov 6, 2008, 03.00 PMby wzrdreams

    I’m not allowed to wear jeans at my current job, and to be honest…. I’m a bit glad. It’s one of the only limitations I have and it prevents me from falling into the easy t-shirt and jeans routine. I have to re-think about what clothing is easy and comfortable by also thinking about style and sophistication. My hands down favorite type of clothing is a knit DRESS. It’s one piece of clothing so I don’t have to worry about matching top and bottom. I only have to pick shoes and possibly a sweater. It makes dressing so easy and I worry less about looking work appropriate. I would like to have more woven dresses, however the fit of knitwear is so much more forgiving, especially if your bust is larger than the standard B cup.

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    Nov 6, 2008, 12.54 PMby sunnyb64

    I’m definitely a jeans girl—though it’s so hard to find a pair that really fits well and doesn’t kill my wallet! But jeans are my comfy pants— that and a knit top are my weekend staples. I also love layered looks, since I get cold easily, and long skirts. Eco-friendly is a definite plus, though it’s hard to reconcile that sometimes with my love of funky prints and texture! I also love the details that take something from an everyday basic to something really amazing, whether it’s a surface treatment or a twist in the design.

    I do agree with everyone who says it’s refreshing to find a designer who wants to create looks for real people with real lives—I take a look at the stuff on the runways and just cannot figure out how normal people wear these things! And I applaud you for taking these things into consideration.

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    Nov 5, 2008, 11.29 AMby mirela

    I like to wear my creation as much as possible. I do wear pants and and tops/shirts most of the time, rarely wear dresses and skirts even though I adore them, it is too cold at the office and too hot outside here for boots and stockings. I used to wear suits and jackets back in Europe, they are too pretentious for this geek office I’m in (my boss wears Puma shoes and T-shirts and Levis jeans every single day!!!).

    I adore your dresses and especially the crochet part!

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    Nov 5, 2008, 10.18 AMby sarahsews

    Thank You for stepping back and reflecting about fashion. I personally have stopped shopping and started sewing in order to be less of a consumer and more of a creator. I’m grasping for function and frugality without looking crafty or ragbag. Transitional clothing and strong pieces are what I think the future looks like. Instead of wearing a million different looks because you can easily buy lots of skirts/shirts/shoes/pants/etc, I think we are headed towards signature looks that come out of a personal style defined by identity. Utilitarian clothing fits the future. Clothing that comes out of where we live, what we do, and what our ideals are. No one can know what comes next in terms of our economy and our nation. However, we can turn our brains on and start taking a sharp look at the way we live and change. I think fashion is and will be a frank statement of where we are going. Thanks Alison!

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    Nov 5, 2008, 10.08 AMby TerezaSews

    I agree with MAldrich! I love cute little details on t-shirts that make them a little cuter and more feminine than a plain tee. I also like them long for tunics and to below the belt, near the hip bones. I am also addicted to jeans. Eco friendly materials are a def plus! Cute comfy dresses that don’t wrinkle would be nice. Does bamboo wrinkle? I’ve never tried any bamboo fabrics. Affordable prices are a must (I’m a school teacher in FL!) I applaud your eco-conscious real-world friendly ideas and can’t wait to see what you plan in the future.

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    Nov 5, 2008, 07.39 AMby leighr

    I prefer long and lean (hitting at the low hip) shirts, bootcut jeans, and boots.

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    Nov 5, 2008, 06.13 AMby maldrich

    I love extra long fitted t-shirts with cute details like puffed sleeves or one shoulder gathered or a drawstring neck or crisscrossed empire neckline. I especially like t-shirts with extra long sleeves. I’m super long waisted and have really long arms and it’s a rare shirt that will do the job of meeting my pants and not looking like it’s a 3/4 sleeve. I only have about 3 that do that job. I love all these new jersey dresses and skirts that are super feminine and yet oh so easy to wear. I especially like dresses and skirts that twirl (maybe I never outgrew my childhood…). I struggle with finding pants that actually fit a pear shaped figure so I’m definitely more comfortable in a skirt, though when winter comes I’m probably wearing pants like everybody else.

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    Nov 5, 2008, 06.11 AMby gedwoods

    This is such a thoughtful line of questioning, Alison. I know t-shirts and jeans are the casual “fashion basics” of most people, men and women, especially in the west but also in many other parts of the world – they are relatively inexpensive and wearable in a huge variety of situations. However, I wear neither of these. I’ve never liked jeans much, I find denim to be too thick and resistant, I want my clothes to “flow” along with me. As work pants they have their place, but it is a relatively small place in my life. As for t-shirts, I wore them a lot when I was younger, but I find they don’t suit my figure now – I’ve gotten bigger and rounder, and t-shirts don’t have enough form and shape to them to look good on me. So I wear clothes in softer, more pliable fabrics than denim, and with more structure than t-shirts. Even though this is “against the trend”. I’d hate to see you drop the ideas that you incorporate into your “high end fashion designs” – I see very original use of line and shapes and “pure colors” in designs that are really very simple. But I do like this focus on finding things that work within a smaller budget and are perhaps more focused on serving people in a more sustainable way. It is one of the reasons I have become fascinated with clothes for “niche” populations that are becoming less niche – people with various forms of disability, who have very different utilitarian needs in their clothes, older people, the so-called plus sizes, etc. Perhaps less “glorious” from a high fashion sense, but more in line with who people really are, a lot of the time. I’m going to be interested in where your own questioning about these issues takes you and your “nose” for design!

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    Nov 5, 2008, 01.34 AMby alysonisneat

    I love the I <3 line! During the week I often have to dress up for meetings and what not, in which i wear a lot of slacks and blouses and skirts and dresses. I own several knit dresses in various shapes and styles. However, for the past 3 weekends in a row I have found myself wearing the same outfit. A pair of jeans, a navy v-neck t-shirt, and this super slouchy dolman sleeve “librarian” sweater (as my boyfriend calls it). When it comes to the clothes that I love and feel great in, I go between 3-4 t-shirts!

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    Nov 4, 2008, 07.44 PMby karencilla

    I agree with motozulli, it’s really refreshing to hear that from you, a great high-fashion designer.

    I love to wear jeans and tank tops (since here is summer all the year) and long light cotton dresses, those are so handy. Polo style shirts and normal t-shirts are really great.

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    Nov 4, 2008, 06.03 PMby emilykate

    I wear jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans jeans! :o) I wonder what a bamboo-denim would be like?

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    Nov 4, 2008, 03.43 PMby motozulli

    How refreshing to hear a designer who wants to design wearable clothing! While I love how the $250 little silk charmeuse dress looks and feels, I ultimately end up grabbing a comfortable (and washable!) t-shirt and jeans or slacks. I just love all the new bamboo fabrics, especially how the soft ad slightly shiny quality gives jersey a slightly more lux look.

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    Nov 4, 2008, 03.24 PMby dianacirne

    At first I’m addicted to jeans, and then I use a lot of simple long shirts, t-shirts, tunics, simple jersey dresses… Simple, but with a very nice fit and proportions and what I must like is the details in a simple basic!

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    Nov 4, 2008, 02.47 PMby schickchick

    scarfs, vests, high waisted skirts, full skirts, the color red, skinny jeans, the color grey, layers, knee length dresses…. :]

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