Fashion Rebellion

There seems to be a wind of change blowing in the fashion industry. It was proclaimed in January that New York Fashion Week 2016 would present Ready-To-Wear fashion not just to the buyers, but to consumers as well. Believe it or not, this was truly a radical change. This new consumer angle to the shows would take away some of the mystique of the runway by (magically) offering to sell the collection as soon as the pieces were barely off the models.

In an already stressed-out industry this instant "turn around schedule" would be next to impossible to meet and it would be betting on what styles, sizes, and colours would sell, moving briskly into production mode.

The new approach, deemed revolutionary for the industry, was met with skepticism. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld referred to the fashion industry on Feb. 25, 2016 as "a mess."

It could have been this state of industry flux that made my mind wander. Why, with all of the clothes offered to us can we still have nothing to wear in our closets?

I thought of a beautifully draped plaid dress I saw that would look wonderful on a friend of mine. She did indeed try it on, but looked in the mirror and replied: "so, where do I go with this?" Despite liking the dress, and looking fantastic in it, she did not have the required lifestyle to wear it often or even at all.

I think a lot of fashion pieces fall into this category. It is fancy clothing artfully assembled that just becomes an assembly of items stored away and forgotten.

I thought about the people in fashion: the retailers, the fabric suppliers, the sewing machine operators, and of course the other designers.They made me think of new, possible directions that would work for everyone.

These are sad thoughts. I wish that the gorgeous fuchsia fabric that I had chosen for the closing dress of the last fashion show would be worn and appreciated. I wish there was a place where that bugle beaded mini skirt could be admired daily.

April2016_Justina_chemise launch copyThis is how the lightbulb went off in my head. Over the course of my career, I have been attached to my uniform of a crisp white shirt that works with a skirt, black crepe pants or jeans and works perfectly whether traveling to Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Florida, or New York. My shirt was my "go-to" item that saved me a tremendous amount of time whenever I was in doubt with what to wear.

When I thought about it, over the course of 20 years, I had purchased over 35 white shirts.All were from the same manufacturer. However,ten years ago, my beloved manufacturer stopped making these shirts and I began the process of trying to crack the code on how to create the perfect fitted shirt by reconstructing the pattern.

It took ten years of development, but last month I materialized my first white shirt sample. And that is when it hit me. A very practical fashion enterprise was right there in front me: the custom-fitted shirt for ladies. I took a photo and shared it with my sister who is known for her carefully edited and concise wardrobe and lifestyle. She immediately and enthusiastically placed an order, my first, on this original sample. Within hours I added text to the photo, and posted it on Catherine Landry's Ladies Who Lunch Facebook page, and within a week I received over 100 orders.

I had obviously tapped into something, an unmet demand within a woman's wardrobe.

My shirts are custom and made to measure. I take over 12 measurements and cut each shirt individually to coincide with my mission statement that clothes should revolve around the person.The person should not have to change to fit the clothing.

This ideal invokes the dignity of the human person rather than the conveniences of the fashion industry. If NY Fashion Week can rebel, clearly so can I.

Photo Courtesy of Justina McCaffrey