Couture Reigns Again

07 Oct

Welcome! Today is my first blog day, so to all those experienced bloggers please forgive me for any glaring ignorance of blog protocol I may have committed. I’m going to start off with reference to an article that excited me to no end, from a newsletter subscribed to from the Center for Pattern Design in the US. Although, here at the School we actually only design original patterns  – which is part of the curriculum: pattern engineering is completely original – not customised, nor copied – using measurements of real people not mannequins, the article is encouraging.

Anyway the bit that excites me is the spreading recognition and proof of what we knew all along. Fashion, Design, Bespoke Tailoring, Couture, what ever you want to call it is economically sustainable, very environmentally gentle, highly creative, fulfilling and meaningful done by trained artisans and skilled tradespeople, for a known customer who has committed to paying the creator for their expertise, and recognises the value of not only ‘good’ but ‘great’ clothing. Manufacturing has its place….

Happy reading, J

Watch for contributions from our students in the future!


October                                                           Good Clothes

We are getting ready for 2012 and the deep structural realignment of our economy continues.  A structural shift means that all the links from education to business models to cultural values and lifestyles find new footing and relationships. In our field, we find ourselves leaving fashion and returning to ‘clothing and textiles’.
Clothing and textiles is personal, timeless and craft based. Fashion is time, trend and market based.  Both can deliver style — that’s the part you contribute.  Ask yourself:  Which is more valuable now, better
quality or brand name?  Quality of fabric or how popular?  We are all making new judgements and thinking about how we express this new zeitgeist.  And it is not the first time the US has redirected its clothing priorities to Good Clothes.  Many of the books we reprint are valuable because they originated at the beginning of the last restart, giving us all the gift of how to do it.

It is the end of fashion as wearable theater, ‘costumes’ with short life-spans; it is the end of dysfunctional clothing, too fragile, cold or hard to clean, etc.  It’s the end of quantity over quality and status anxiety — all the
marks of ‘fashion’.  It is the beginning of a new respect for clothing — what we used to call ‘good clothes’ — meaning clothes that fit, were well made from ‘good’ fabrics and were beautifully cut to look great for many years.  If you majored in this field, you were a Clothing and Textiles major, not a Fashion major.

Design was part of the creative process, not the ultimate goal, which meant that every would-be designer studied textile science and knew how to cut and sew the product which was made and sold regionally.
Little was wasted and there were just two or three seasons. There was no fast fashion (we would have been appalled at the thought) or our present frantic race to the bottom.

To begin again, start paying attention — to fit, to fabric, to cut — study yourself and concentrate on looking good, not like everyone else — separate your choices from the herd and be able to justify them. Buy less but better clothing. Most of all, give local talented people their due and your business; it’s the way back for this country.




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