Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another Rant, Why your dress does cost that much.

In my FB news feed today I saw a link to an NPR story called, Why Did My Wedding Dress Cost So Much?, as a wedding dress designer, I clicked on it and watched the 5 min video of the story.

In full disclosure I am a bit of an NPR addict. I wake up to WNYC and listen pretty much everyday, I'm a sustaining member of WNYC. And I loove Planet Money. Well, I was shocked and disappointed by now disappointing her story was and shocked and disappointed by the lack of actual reporting that she did.

She took her wedding dress to B & J (one of my favorite fabric stores) to research the cost of the materials and then she took it to a tailor to investigate the estimated cost of the dress construction in China. What she learned was the wholesale of the fabric likely cost about $500 and the making of the garment (what we call Cut, Make and Trim or CMT for short) was likely about $200.

From my experience her experts were right, I would totally agree. But that's when she decided that the dress should have cost about $1500 instead of the $2800 it did cost. And she felt ripped off.

I object.

There is so much that goes into a garment then just the materials and the CMT.

There is a person sitting at a desk somewhere that has an idea and sketches it out and edits it with a design team. There is a team of people that work to get the garment produced, and a different team that makes sure the dress fits. All this likely happens in an office, that pays rent. And all this happens before that dress even makes it to the Shop where she tried it on. Keep in mind that this dress was likely designed not in China and then manufactured in China and shipped on a boat to the states. None of that is free.

In that shop where she tried it on, there are people that work there, someone that owes the store and rents the space and picks what they will carry for the season. There was the salesperson that showed her the dress and helped her pick it out.

All these people are working. All these people are contributing to the design, production, sale of the dress and her experience. And instead of including that into the cost of her dress, she equated the cost of her dress as people selling her a beautiful memory.

While it may be true that many people make money in the wedding industry, and it may be true that some people over price things because they think they can, "say the W word and the price triples". In this case, it actually sounds like she got a bargain. Not ripped off.

There are no shortage of options for wedding attire, but someone designed a dress she wanted. And then a bazillion people brought that idea to fruition. (I didn't even mention the designer that designed the lace fabric that the dress designers picked out for that dress.) Maybe instead of making an article about how the industry trespassed on her emotions and sold her memories, she could write an article about how many people she actually helped to support in a struggling to recover world economy. Because that is what she actually did.

Rant over. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Figure Flaws: a Rant.

Having recently gotten engaged, I have a whole new perspective on my job. It’s part of my job to read and look at bridal magazines. But now that I’m looking at them as a bride, I started seeing things I’ve previously dismissed: all the articles about hiding my figure flaws and finding the right dress to hid my figure flaws. Yuck. Figure flaws. That does not sound fun.

I don’t like the term ‘figure flaws’. In fact, it offends me.

Now, I understand that not all women are 100% in love with their figures all the time. But figure flaws? That's just rude. It assumes that it’s a given, it assumes the viewer doesn’t accept her figure. It assumes there is something about the bride that is flawed and must be hidden. There are so many beautiful women in the world, for what reason are we focusing on flaws? And why do we even call them that?! What’s with the implication that having curves or not having curves or being tall or short is a flaw? The only thing inclusive in that kind of thinking is that we are all flawed. This is just an observation but even women that don’t look like Gisele are beautiful.

Your figure isn’t flawed.

There might be things you love about your figure more then other things. Okay. So instead of calling the things you like less ‘flaws’, can we all agree to discuss instead the things you want to show off, the things you love? I’m completely in support of finding the dress that works for your body, we all look and feel better in some things then other things. Let’s talk about what you feel awesome wearing. Do you feel like Joan Holloway when you wear a pencil skirt? Fantastic! Do you feel feminine and sexy in a ball gown? Fantastic! Let’s start there.

I’ve had well-meaning friends suggest that I wear a padded bra to my wedding, thinking I guess that a padded bra would create some kind of cleavage. Um, I don’t have cleavage, with or without a padded bra. I know this kind of discussion comes up among friends even if there isn’t a wedding coming up. I would just like to suggest a different perspective in this conversation. My fiancĂ© knew what I looked like when he proposed. He accepted me ‘warts and all’, as the saying goes. I would like to suggest that yours did too. And wouldn’t this whole process be more fun if the conversation was about what makes you feel the most beautiful? And happy?

Women of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds fall in love and get married everyday. Love doesn’t discriminate against different bodies types. Wedding dresses shouldn’t either. Love is inclusive.  Dresses can be too.

I saw a quote in the April issue of Vogue from Alber Elbaz, the fabulous designer of Lanvin in Paris that said, “When I think of women, I don’t think of size or age, I think of beauty.”

I say yes, of course, exactly! And thank you.