The Fashion Designer and the Mushroom Guy
The latest from Lili The First.
Written by Ifat Pridan
This is not going to be another lecture about the environmental benefits of slow fashion, but I am going to tell you why you should buy your mushrooms at the farmers market…
Working with small, independent designers is less flexible and brings the stress levels to new heights, but it’s worth it, because it makes us feel like we are wearing meaningful clothes and that make us, yes us, important!! The energy of the designer is reflected in the clothing, there is no doubt about it. Every seam is intentional, the inspiration for every piece, the research of the fabrics and the fit.
It’s like the mushroom guy at the farmers market. He loves talking about his mushrooms, what you can do with them, which is better for cooking and which is OK to eat raw. You can see the respect he holds for the mushroom in how he puts them in a paper bag. He grew them since they were babies, sometimes I feel like saying to him “ok, just hand it over, I will take good care of them”.
How does it actually work?
OK, let’s say its summer. While you were at the beach, the designer has been working sketching, deleting, talking with fabric producers, choosing zippers, laces. Yes, like in Project Runway. Eventually, the collection is born: one perfect sample of each style is being sent to be photographed. The collection can have a few different groups based on color, fabric or style (depending on the collection size), but it should be a coherent collection with the designers’ thumb print.
Now we are at the end of the summer. It’s fashion week. Boutiques are traveling the world for buying. We meet with the designer in a designated showroom with a model, always too skinny… We are shopping just like you are: touching the fabric, checking the fit, turning the model around, visualizing how is it going to fit with the boutique “look” and thinking about all the questions YOU are going to ask us (“how do you wash that”? hahaha). We need to be very delicate. Like with mushrooms.
The orders will dictate the final offering of the collection, naturally, some items will be dropped off, if there were not enough orders. We are now at the beginning of fall, the designer needs to buy the right amount of fabric based on the orders of each piece. Once they have the fabric, and while you are busy shopping for coats and Christmas gifts, the summer collection is being made. We call it “Cut to Order”. This is why it is almost impossible to re-order an item after it sells out.
Fall Collection 2022
Last week we hosted in the boutique one of our favorite designers, NY77 Design. Alec just came back from Ukraine, sewing uniforms for Ukrainian soldiers. He was saying a prayer for every finished coat, to keep the man who will be wearing it safe, and even got some inspiration for his next collection.
For his Fall Collection, one of the groups is based on the Brooklyn Bridge. The print was transformed from a photo he took on a rainy night while he was taking a walk in NY. Another group is based on a new Japanese innovation in the embroidery scene. Not only is the area ten times larger than the traditional machines, it also has the capability to create different height levels of embroidery. A true 3D!
And this is why we love the mushroom guy!