In the process of creating something, namely women’s clothing, it has been necessary to walk my imagination outside of the everyday. I came to a point where I felt like my clothing was antagonizing me. Whether it was 1) poorly made garments falling apart shortly after purchase pushing my anti-waste buttons and therefore ending up in a bag for clothes that need to be repaired or 2) poorly fitting clothing where you have to publically wrestle with the garment to get it to wear right. Or how about clothing where the correct and fashionable way to wear it is restricting and uncomfortable such as with high heels, low riding or super tight pants.
When I began the design process with the intent of making garments women will love to live in, I realized that the majority of the clothing out there is not designed for women’s bodies. I know I’m making a generalization here, but many women have lots of curves – top and/or bottom. Indeed, it wasn’t until the recent past that fashion and pop culture decided to sell us a myth that we should dump our energy into morphing ourselves into 6 foot tall toothpicks. Here’s the game: do whatever it takes to diet and exercise yourself away from your healthy body type, add a 2-4 inches to make up the height difference via movement restricting heels, and throw on the latest fashion not created for your body but for the sick looking woman modeling it. Really. This is our reality.
OK so I’ve gone pretty dark here. But the good news is we can create a different reality. Starting again from the beginning allows us to ask, how do we want our clothes to serve us? Certainly this is a question who’s answer will be unique to each woman. For me, this is about lifestyle. I LOVE riding my bike and want clothing that allows me to ride my bike to as much of my life as possible.
Here are some of my answers:
1. When designing clothing, use a healthy active woman’s figure as inspiration. For my clothing I am inspired by woman who have curves and muscles. Nothing is straight. Every part is curved.
1b. I also contemplated the beauty of a woman’s figure on a bicycle through sketches.
2. Dream up my vision of what it means to be feminine. The biggest step here is to build a style that connects femininity, power and creativity. I see a woman stepping into the room in a beautifully fitting blazer, over understated but stylish staples, accented by personal flair, earrings, hair, shoes. This woman knows exactly who she is and what she has to offer. People in the room feel her confident energy and are ready for her to lead them to creative solutions to make this world a better place.
3. Style that simplifies getting dressed and frees up energy. What the rest of us don’t know about the above woman is that while we were straightening our hair, rummaging through pulled stockings, trying on various ill fitting blouses, this woman threw on her outfit like any male counterpart and got on with her life. Maybe this meant that she could meditate or do yoga before work. Maybe she could sit down and sketch out an idea or really focus on breakfast with a loved one. The point is, she is NOT feeling tied to a long “getting ready” routine and yet she looks put together for her engagements. What this also means is that she has embraced her own personal vision of beauty and is not battling to look like someone else.
4. The pieces she is wearing are stylish and functional. Not just for teetering from the cab to the office. If a colleague wanted to visit a warehouse, or a friend invited her for a walk in the park, or she wanted to jump on a city bike to meet a friend for a drink, at no point does her clothing restrict her. The activewear camp has gone crazy assuming that this means that she wants to wear stretch pants, running shoes, and rain proof clothing everywhere. My taste is for the classic materials, such as wool tweed that hold up for decades, are naturally water resistant with a bit of stretch and hold a beautiful shape to complement the female form.
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