I’ve seen do-it-yourself fashion before. Milk and Honey does shoes. Zazzle does everything – from pins to totes to tees. But I’ve never seen DYO like this.
Meet Bow and Drape.
It isn’t just that the quality of their apparel is excellent – the options endless – the seam-work stunning. Bow and Drape caters to a varied range in style AND size. As a plus-size lady who also happens to love experimenting with patterns and colors and hems, this makes me very happy.
Part of Bow and Drape’s philosophy: “No longer will women have to settle for mass produced garments. By fusing technology with small-scale craftsmanship, we redefine the garment making tradition.”
Whether some of your fashion icons include Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy or Twiggy – whether you’re into knee-length skirts or showing some leg – Bow and Drape will let you design something perfect for your personality. You can mess around with colors and color-blocking, lace or leather trims, crew or vented necklines or any type of sleeves: and that’s just naming a handful of the DYO features.
I had the best opportunity to chat with the store’s Brand Manager and PR girl Christa Spengeman. Immidiately following our coffee meeting, I rushed to my laptop and purchased the Jackie Teacup (photos to come!). An FYI for plus-size ladies: they carry up to size 18!
Check out this Q&A and find out more about making your must-have outfit.
Me: What was the inspiration behind Bow and Drape's founding?
Christa: The catalyst event was in June 2011. Aubrie [founder] was looking for a dress to wear to her boyfriend’s family wedding, and nothing fit the bill. She was so frustrated with the lack of choice on Newbury and the lack of quality online that she did something totally irrational and actually designed and sewed her own dress. It took about a month and after the event was over, she convinced herself that she was not the only woman who wished she had more control over her garments. So she set out to create clothing with personality for all women.
Me: How would you describe the average Bow and Drape customer?
Christa: I think there are two distinct Bow and Drape customers. One lady is a very decisive shopper. She knows what she looks good in and will not settle until she finds the exact garment that she is looking for. She is knowledgeable in construction and fabric; she knows quality when she sees it. Our other lady is into DIY projects and loves to express her individual taste. She values that her Bow and Drape garment is one of a kind and made just for her.
Me: What is it that draws you personally to customizable fashion?
Christa: I truly believe when you look good you feel good and nothing can trump the way a woman feels in a garment that was made specially for her. Before Bow and Drape, a bespoke garment was something that only the select few could enjoy. Now, with the help of technology and small scale craftsmanship, every woman can have the custom experience at an off-the-rack price.
Me: Do you think Bow and Drape attracts a varied size and style range of women, and why?
Christa: I do.
The reason why we started Bow and Drape was to cater to a variety of different sized women. We understand the importance of having clothing that fits and that is why we make garments for the individual. No two women are shaped exactly the same which is why all our styles have the ability to be adjusted.
Me: Do you think stores/shops that do customizable fashion will be seen more in the future?
Christa: Absolutely, in this day in age shoppers are so used to an interactive and personal experience. Brick and mortar stores are already looking to enhance their in-store experience and I think customization is one way in which stores will look to compete with online. It won't be easy given e-commerce has the advantage of producing made to order but I think something new and innovative will come a long and completely transform the brick and mortar shopping experience.
Me: What can we expect to see at Bow and Drape for the spring/summer season?
Christa: The spring/summer collection was inspired by the resurgence of color and femininity in the 1950s, a la Dior’s New Look. The silhouettes are flattering to curves and totally voluminous. We envision our clothes worn on a walk through the Tuileries.
For new arrivals, expect to see some more separates introduced like a tunic. Also, we will be launching new dress patterns as well as a new painted silk motif.
Me: What is your favorite B&D design?
Christa: I love the dresses BUT I have to say that my personal favorite is the Cardimono. I have two of them. One in a bold 'make a statement' poppy and one in a simple navy. I can't stop wearing them they are perfect for in between the seasons and I throw them on over just about anything.