With my children getting settled into their adult lives, I have more time and money to shop. One quickly tires of malls and the pedestrian selection of stores. I decided to make shopping an experience and I am not just considering the price. I still look for quality and workmanship, but most of all, I prize the “unique” factor when making a purchase.
My daughter has a discerning eye for unique and it is her I have her to thank for turning me on to independent designers. It turns out my local Main Street is a hotbed of boutiques selling local designer clothes and jewelry. Every city and town has their equivalent and I make a point to seek them out to shop when I travel. Shopping online also provides a treasure trove of distinctive designs with sites like Etsy and an endless amount of independent designer web stores.
Independent designers have their finger on the pulse of fashion. High fashion sets a trend. Fast fashion produces a knock off, but independents add their own take and interpretation. They inform, if not predict trends by virtue of their proximity to the women on the street outside their door. Independents capture what is beginning to trend and add the local twist, be it American, European or Asian.
I find it amazing that small independent designers can deliver on the same concepts as a big name brand. This is especially a feat because the independents struggle with the economies of scale. For example, paying a living wage to a seamstress in North America is more expensive that those paid by a factory in Asia. Independents most often have some level of social awareness. Their clothes are not made using the labor of children or disadvantaged. Their social consciousness considers the impact their production process has on the environment. Most often, they follow a much more stringent process and face additional challenges at every step. The passion of creating can be the driver for designing but that is only the beginning in their effort to get that stunning piece on you. Designers have to be competent in many other trades. They play the roles of:
• Researcher looking for fabrics and production sources
• HR finding vendors and staff
• Producer managing schedule, samples, approvals and production
As well, they may direct the quality control, logistics, sales and marketing. Frequently it is accomplished with limited budgets. Many have another form of income generation to allow them to continue to re-invest in developing their craft. Understanding this, I am in awe of one of my favorite internet designers. I have been following her for over a year and I am impressed by her dedication to designing but especially with her ability to get her designs to market.
Let Me Introduce Wendle Beaton: Rebel Spirit
Wendle is a Canadian girl and a member of the At Forty Five club. She was surprised to find herself with a boot design that complimented a “to die for” Louis Vuitton bag which my daughter had shown me.
Wendle’s Gift: Inspiration and Style
Wendle is a true artist, putting her passion to work in many forms to touch lives and meet the needs of her market and fans. Her designs are always in style and her musings inspire her followers daily.
It is her doe eyed angel sprites that I find particularly charming and which she is a master at proliferating. Flip flops, swim wear, dresses, sleep masks and jackets, there is something for everyone.
Celebrities appreciate her One of a Kind designs. Her hand painted blue jean jackets are amazing. If you want a unique piece for a defining gift, to help you stand out in the crowd, or to make you smile check her shop out.
Social media can be a challenge, but Wendle is a master at engagement and is an accomplished wordsmith. I have a penchant for her Facebook posts and her unique style of writing.
You will want to check out her post “50 things every woman should have by age of 50”
She woke to 25 million views after that musing. It is a gem and she is too.
Enjoy the introduction.
Who is your favorite independent designer?
Read about designer Zuhal Kuvan-Mills here.