Monday Morning Sugar Fix

94 days until launch

Monday morning blahs getting you?  Well, if you find yourself in the Garment District, or near Times Square, check out Paris Baguette (567 7th Ave)- only the best bakery on earth. Paris Baguette has no actual connection to Paris, and you really don’t go there for the baguette, but they make really really good cakes and pastries.  The fresh cream cake is to die for.
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Then check out these iconic sculptures of the Garment District that are right down the block.IMG_1496

 

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Old School Inspiration: Charles James Exhibition at the MET

103 days until launch

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Checked out the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit at the MET last night with my dad – it always takes visitors from out-of-town to remind me to go see these cultural gems in NYC. I love how James’s very feminine couture gowns were inspired by architecture and timeless notions of balance.  This quote above from the exhibition caught my eye – it resonated with me in this build phase of HEUCY.  The reward for being so studious – the views of the kind of architecture that might have influenced Charles James from the rooftop of the MET (they happen to also serve nice drinks up there).
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Seeing Red

104 days until launch

A roll of “Fire Red” fabric arrived today from our dye house in LA for us to test.  Woo-hoo!  With a tinge of orange – this shade is saucy, festive and modern. Exciting to get my hands on this roll of lava!

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IMG_1400Spending the day draping this beautiful fabric inspired me to get out my fire red McQ flats. Kicking back with good friends and a glass of rose at Cookshop.

One Fine Fit

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106 days until launch

This is me fitting a HEUCY style with our amazing pattern maker Olivia yesterday. Fittings can be a magical time – this is when the inspiration, sketching and choice of fabric become reality and you get to touch, feel and drape and re-drape your vision into an actual garment.  It also helps when you have an amazing pattern maker like Olivia.  Over the years Olivia and I have made hundreds of dresses together – literally hundreds – so we can perfect the fit of a dress together without even speaking.  Like two old dance partners we operate in synch, she understands my creative vision and I understand the way she constructs the pattern.

Choosing the Signature Fabric

114 days until launch

Fabric choice is the most important and elementary choice in developing a garment (well, besides good taste). It literally is the thing that makes up the garment. The choice of fabric also defines the garment development process. It will determine the style lines and cut of the pattern. It determines which factory one chooses to make the garment.

So the HEUCY signature fabric is – drumroll please – Jersey! There are so many different types of fabric, but jersey is a natural choice for HEUCY after going through the following analysis.

Designers usually consider the following in choosing fabric:

  1. Does it look/feel good?
  2. Is it priced right?
  3. Can the minimum requirements for production be met?
  4. Is it on-trend?

So we considered all those factors, but in staying true to the HEUCY ideal of simplifying life with a versatile garment produced with fewer pollutants, we needed to also consider:

  1. Can it be handled and produced into garments at a reasonable price point in the US?
  2. Is it versatile in wear?
  3. Can it be washed as opposed to dry-cleaned?
  4. Is it made of eco-friendly fibers?

The fabric that checked all these boxes was Jersey.  So we sourced swatches from mills across the country and as well as from Canada.

fabric swatches
fabric swatches

Then we narrowed the choices down and requested test yardage from a handful of mills.

test fabrics
test fabrics

The test fabrics above all look the same you say? Well, they kind of do on-screen here, but they all have a different weight, different content, different stretch, different drape, different method of dye, different country of origin, different wholesalers.

So on to testing, testing, testing to determine the best jersey for the styles sketched and in development. Good thing I am Asian – I am good at tests.

Simplification Goal #1: Made in America

118 days until launch – 4th of July edition

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made in korea

(not these people – they were Made in Korea – like all good fashion items from the 70s and 80s)

I am an import (pictured above with my sister, I am on the left rocking out an outfit that would make a male Brooklyn hipster jealous) – landed in JFK in 1983. It’s not that I don’t appreciate products (or people) made in other countries.

But here are some things I have learned along the way. Hauling fabric and trim from one continent to another to test/sample and then to another to manufacture and then back to another to sell is 1) expensive and 2) involves lots and lots of fuel.

Places from which I have sourced fabrics and trim in my previous jobs: Italy, China, UK, France, Korea, USA

Places where I manufactured garments and accessories with these fabrics and trim: London, UK, Luton, UK, Zhejiang, China, Hong Kong, Portugal

Countries where these garments and accessories were sold: UK, USA, Spain, Italy, Japan

scientific map
scientific map

This my very scientific accounting of all the air travel the fabrics, trim, garments and accessories went through. But seriously, all this transport drives up the cost of these items sold to the customers (that’s you!) and it is killing a family of whales as we speak.

I am no expert on exactly how much damage all this moving things back and forth around the globe is doing (despite my four years of Patagonia wearing, recycled college issue insulated mug carrying days at Middlebury College, the hotbed of all things environmentally responsible) but I do believe that well-made chic garments can be made without doing so much harm.