Deconstructed fashion has some pretty big names, but it also has many smaller players.
For deconstructed clothing, one of my favourite small companies is Wall. I would LIVE in these clothes if I had the budget. Sticking usually to a narrow palette of greige, beige and black, Wall clothes are very timeless and flattering, and suitable for all figure types – clean, intellectual clothes for women with a brain. The firm concentrates on high-quality fabrics such as alpaca and pima cotton, and loose, wrapped or body-skimming designs with flattering necklines.
A great home for individual designers is the art site Etsy, which features hand-made items made by independent vendors. A new discovery here is Secret Lentil, made by Helen Carter, who contacted me after my first article on deconstructed clothing. Helen recycles used clothing into new garments, often a long way from the original. Each piece is individual and not repeated, and she specialises in serging, with revealed seams and interesting fabric combinations, often in black, grey and khaki jersey. I particularly like this starfish top.
Designer Lori Sandstedt favours a very bright and patterned palette and has a fetish for wacky aprons, which she feels women should wear more – over dresses, over skirts and over trousers. She too sells via Etsy and has her own website, where visitors can clearly see that many of her satisfied customers are women over 40 who want to look out of the ordinary. This is her Primavera dress – ‘Feminine and edgy without being coy or dark’.
Danny Mansmith is a fabric artist and sculptor who also makes clothing. Here, we’re moving truly into the art-to-wear category. Mansmith favours structured elements, especially in his accessories, and many of his pieces have a biker-chick feel, but this scarf and cape are among those that suit women with a more subdued taste.
The many independent pattern companies that have sprung up over the past 10 years give fashion-conscious women another outlet. You can either sew these yourself or take them to a dressmaker – either way, you’ll end up with unique garments that actually fit your body. My favourite indie pattern company is Sewing Workshop – seen here are their Japonesque jacket and Lotus skirt as made up in real life by fiber artist Nancy Shrieber for Threads magazine.
More on art to wear and independent pattern companies another time…