Rhinestone necklaces: DIY.  Pyramid Stone Necklace: Ann Taylor.  Organza Over-Jacket: hanmade by me.  White LS Top: Forever 21.  Oxidized Twisted Branch& Flower Rings: mocha (Shibuya, Japan).  Enamel Ring: unknown.  Pleat-Front Pegged Trousers: DIY.  Trouser Socks: Target.  White Perforated Orfords: 10 W Rue – thrifted.

Day 11 of my 30 Days of Outfits Challenge: November 11.

Veteran’s Day…and the day H&M finally opened in Portland!!  Yay!

So I went down there, thinking I might get a good spot in line 3 and a half hours before they were going to open.

Nope!  There were people in tents who had slept out on the sidewalk since the night before. 

It was insane!!  It was bitterly cold and the two lines stretched outside around the block, even at 8:30 AM when I stopped by.

I snapped a couple photos and then went to the fabric store instead, and then browsed YesStyle for a couple hours, filling my virtual shopping basket with pretty things from Asia, and then emptying it again.  It was somewhat of a pointless day.;-)

The necklaces I DIY’ed from some Forever 21 jewelry to make them look like some $89 necklaces from J. Crew’s catalog.  My tutorial is here.

The peach-colored top with shoulder pads I made and brought with me to last NYFW, as part of a mini-collection.  I was just trying to sound out the possibilities of developing the collection and selling to the publis.  I came to the conclusion that it was just too risky to go back into clothing production at this point in the economy.  I’m feeling a slight shift in consumer attitudes – and I’m not sure a brand-new clothing line with stuff made the same old way that we’ve always done it is the way to go.  I think things have to be different – manufacturers have to go about producing things a different way – in order to find success as a start-up in this post-consumer economy.  I’m not sure we can continue sourcing fabrics and materials, creating patterns, producing offshore in large numbers, and then pushing the finished items onto the American consumer as the New! thing, or Best! thing, or Hot! thing.  I’m not sure it’s really responsible to keep doing things the same way that’s gotten the whole industry in trouble.

At least, that’s my 2cents.

So until I figure out a better way to produce pretty clothes not utilizing brand-new fabrics, offshore labor, and manufacturing policies that cut unnecessary corners in order to squeeze out the last penny of profit, my clothing line will still remain a pipe dream.  On the one hand, I want more control over design – and virgin fabrics straight off the bolt can be fashioned into anything imagineable.  And they’re clean, available usually in large quantity, and unchanging quality.  On the other hand, fabric from the bolt is very expensive.  Using stuff that already exists (the excess clothing at the Goodwill Outlet, for example) – is far cheaper.  However, design of the final product is severely limited by what you find.  And even if you find something that works for you it’s not an item that’s in abundant, unlimited supply, either – you may find a fabulous shirt made out of lovely material at the Bins one day that you can repurpose for a bag or something – but that’s just it: ONE bag.  You can’t make a line of them, and once you sell that ONE BAG that’s it.  All that work put into producing the pattern, making a muslin, producing a sample, sourcing the notions etc. is now for naught since you can’t make the exact same thing again.  You also have to sell that one-off for an incredibly high price to justify all the work that went into it.  Or you produce a motley “line” of items that are all one-offs, made from different fabrics, that can’t be sold in multiple pieces anywhere or for low enough price points that many people can buy them.  That’s why Raquel Allegra‘s shredding work on her line using t-shirts from the LA County Jail was so ingenious – there was so much of that material available, in almost unlimited supply, and her handiwork on them imbued them with so much value the price points were easily justifiable.

Sorry – little tangent there.  It’s a very difficult balance: design innovation & high-quality materials (but with ecological and consumer waste) vs. design limitations & iffy, irreplaceable materials (but eco-friendly).  I’m open to any suggestions!

I also love looking for pleat-front trousers at thrift stores – there are so many ugly ones from the 80’s!  Just crop them and stitch the side-seams a little closer together near the ankle to taper them into the style that’s so popular now (and that I’m sure we’ll all hate come Fall of 2011).

Shoes were another fab Goodwill find…but the soles are so thin, they’re a little painful to walk in.  I keep forgetting to buy Dr. Scholl’s for them.

Tomorrow I begin work on the massive MarioKart cake for Lil Tot!  Wish me luck on the chomping flowers!;-)


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