My Personal Dress Aesthetic

4 08 2009

In thinking about establishing a clothing company, advice from someone who almost certainly knows (Kathleen Fasanella, author of  the Fashion Incubator blog and The Entrepreneurs Guide to Sewn Product Manufacture) is to first determine who you would hang with, that is, which clothing line appeals to the same person who would buy yours.

I wonder if there is another line with the same aesthetic I would have. (Don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.) Like most, I would like to make clothes for my type of person. That type of person is a 50+ woman who is militant about never accepting being irrelevant. We appreciate the traditional skills.

I thought about my favorite outfits. Every piece includes expressions of  those “archaic” skills.

My favorite summer tops are either handwoven or handknit or hand crocheted, any decoration provided by weave techniques and textured knit or crochet stitches.

The bottoms, aside from blue jeans, which I don’t plan to attempt, (I have no idea how many different designs of blue jeans I would have to provide in order for most 50+ women to find some that would flatter them.) are woven fabric with any decoration provided by hand embroidery (I am really not fond of machine embroidery. Somehow it always looks cheap to me.) some form of fabric manipulation or some form of fabric painting or dyeing (including screen printing).

My woman hates boring clothing and considers a large part of what is offered in women’s sizes boring. I have this pair of pants (trousers for those of you in the UK) that are made up of patches of bright African, South American, and South Pacific fabrics. The patches are about 5 inches square. Hardly a day passes when someone doesn’t tell me they like those pants. Those pants make me feel like myself, quirky, maybe a bit excentric (I earned my excentricity), interesting. And my customer will be the woman who would like to find a pair of pants like those for herself, and who would have the nerve to wear them as often as she likes.

So I ask you, who do I hang with? Chico’s maybe?


Tiles, Crochet, and Madonna

4 07 2009

No, I’m not going to try to connect those three things.

Tiles has to do with a trend report I saw a few days ago on

about some marvelous sgraffato tiles.

Being me, I couldn’t help thinking I’d like to try that. So today I stopped by a tile store to see if they sold bisque tiles that I could theoretically paint a glaze on, scratch my own designs on, and get fired. They had one possibility at a pretty low cost, so now to find an appropriate glaze and way to fire them, or to find real bisque tiles (not at one of those pottery painting places where it would cost a fortune). I’ll report of future progress on this idea.

Crochet has to do with the advanced crochet class I taught today. Some years ago I earned my living, a pretty poor one, mostly making crocheted sweaters. In the process, I figured out for myself how to do almost anything you’d see in a knitted sweater in crochet, particularly the textural bits. I also invented several patterns. Today we had a student at the center who already knew the basics, so I taught her some of these stitches. Afterwards, it occurred to me that there were several groups of them that I could offer as advanced crochet classes. Got to prepare an announcement and post on

which is like Craigslist for the UK.

I’ve now spent a good deal of the evening watching a Madonna performance from her recent Sticky and Sweet tour. She has always been an influence on fashion, and I don’t watch any performance without noting the costumes, so of course I took notice of these. She wore Hammer pants in satin for some of the show, and two dreadlocked dancers wore some very wide pleated or gathered eastern-style pants, which was a very interesting look I will keep an eye out for. I wish I knew the name of that garment. But what I will be looking for in the charity shops, just for the fun of it, will be some American style football shoulder pads. Her’s were glittered and beaded and sequined to a fare-the-well, which would be a fun project, whatever the results.

With ideas and influences as disparate as these in a single day, is it any wonder that my creative life splits in so many directions?