Finding New Ways to Appreciate Fashion, through Fair Fashion

Last week, I left off with where I'm applying my expertise and experience in Fashion Design in my next Fair Fit projects. And I have a lot of ideas, because I'm seeing the way that, as I described in this series, my path with clothing, education, and exchange with other people through fashion has really created a new opening for me to grow and have a new experience with my designs. 

In this series, I have explained the name Fair Fit and what it means to me from many different perspectives that have been shaped by my own experience. But at its heart, the idea is that fashion can be democratic when a designer provides an opening for another person to learn and collaborate with the design. While that person is probably not your everyday joe, of course that person has to REALLY care about clothing. But for people who do want more choice, and more of a say in how they work with design, I'm willing to create that opening in my work through open sourcing it and creating a bigger opening for collaboration. 

I'd like it to be more friendly and accessible to folks who care about it the most- those who sew their own clothing, or want to learn as much as they can about fashion design. 

In this series, I have explained the name Fair Fit and what it means to me from many different perspectives that have been shaped by my own experience, and where I’m taking my design and education practice to create an opening for students and fashion sewists who do want choice, and more of a voice in how they experience fashion design and the clothes they choose to wear.

We are already seeing more openings in fashion design for people to experience it in new ways. Last year, when I saw this article from DenZeen Magazine, I kind of did a little mini dance. It clarified a lot of what I was feeling that I couldn't fully articulate, as I described in my previous posts in this series. I’m excited to share with you how some of the main points may help dispel a lot of the limitations associated with this profession, it definitely helped me clarify my own thoughts, and breakthroughs in approach that I am currently experiencing. I have always loved clothing, and love the process of making clothing. But the limitations of how it is made and then subsequently brought to market always presented blocks and limitations for me in my personal practice. Here are a few excerpts from the article that I want to elaborate to expand the conversation.

1. "This is the end of a system called fashion and we will have to invent new ideas."

It doesn’t exist any more. This is the end of a system called fashion and we will have to invent new ideas. For now I think we are going to concentrate on clothes; celebrate clothes. As a result we will see couture coming back, [versus creation] and in fact it’s a sort of relief because many people are thinking it.
— Li Edelkoort

In my perspective, she is speaking how fashion companies produce clothing and how clothing is marketed to an audience who will wear it. This system of fashion runs at light speed and often fatigues, or retires, designers in the process in order to keep up with multiple seasons and retail demands. Want a peek at what that looks like? Check out Raf Simmons story in the movie Dior and I. Its an incredible movie, and a great look at a stable creative who really knows his stuff. And then google his reasons for leaving Dior.

I'm about the idea of just concentrating on clothes. From all the conversations I have had with clients, sewing enthusiasts, and fashion designers over the years, that seems to be what everyone WANTS TO DO. But as I experienced personally, its impossible to keep up with production of how bigger brands are producing their quantities. Especially for me, because my work in the past was always one of a kind.

And when you work with one of a kinds, you get a lot of input as to what people want from a custom item of clothing. Because I love clothing, and want to enjoy the process of making it, and as a maker, its important to consider how to make that process of creation fair. How can I open up what I design to accommodate individual input from the people who will wear it?

And to be fair to myself, I need to honor the fact that I'm not interested in sewing custom pieces anymore, I no longer have the time and energy to do make that many pieces in one year. Since where my passion lives in sewing a new exciting design, and inventing how its made, I don't want to produce multiples using my own labor. I think the new system for me will be following in the footsteps of one of my inspirations, Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, and sharing with you the way I have discovered to outsource the design and teaching of fit in the pattern to you, the sewist.

2. "It starts with education." 

It starts with education, where we still educate our young people to become catwalk designers; unique individuals, whereas this society is now about exchange and the new economy and working together in teams and groups, which happens in every other discipline, yet not in fashion.
— Li Edelkoort

Yes!  I love helping beginners fall in love with sewing their own clothing, and learn how to appreciate the process of making it. Let's make a new generation of young men and women who know how to make their own clothing, AND, learn an appreciation for fashion design. In my perspective, this is where I can be helpful and can provide value. There is the technical side to learning, learning how to sew, work with sewing patterns, and learn patternmaking and garment construction. But there is also the conceptual side to design that brings a person's unique voice to clothing. And that's the part that's going to help people grow creatively, or as she puts it, be a "catwalk designer."

3. "The education needs to be reviewed."

Fashion is insular and is placing itself outside society, which is a very dangerous step. So the education needs to be reviewed.
— Li Edelkoort

Fashion is one of the most personal products you can experience. While fashion as a term can seem exclusive, I feel clothing is inclusive because of its personal nature. Can fashion designers become more accessible to the folks who wear their clothes? As I have discussed throughout this series, that's really important for my growth in design.  I know in order to do my work, at some point a conversation is going to be had with the clients because you are designing for the most intimate object, clothing is a second skin.  The reality is that we all have input as to how we want to experience and feel in our clothes. 

However, that experience can't just be left up to the designer- I believe that through making the education of clothing more approachable, and easier to access through more ways of teaching design, many problems with clothing can be solved by creating the opportunity to learn the skills. As I said, I feel alterations are a one on one exchange, so isn't it easier to take responsibility for what you want and just learn how to make your own adjustments, as opposed to depending on another person? 

In this series, I have explained the name Fair Fit and what it means to me from many different perspectives that have been shaped by my own experience, and where I’m taking my design and education practice to create an opening for students and fashion sewists who do want choice, and more of a voice in how they experience fashion design and the clothes they choose to wear.

How am I going to practice these concepts and create a new system with my own designs and the people who want to wear them? Next week, I will conclude this series by introducing you to what's coming this spring, and how I'm making Fair Fit Clothing available in a whole new way.

If you would like to read the complete article- go to the story here: