Today was another great day for Cabiria's Kickstarter campaign moving ahead. We're 69% funded on Day 4! Thank you! First thing this morning I met with a lawyer from the Fashion Law Institute Clinic from Fordham University. Yes, there is something as specific as a Fashion Lawyer. Although the woman who runs the program is smartly dressed, it's regarding the specific laws around contracture for sales, licensing, labeling laws, indemnity, delivery, as well as intellectual property protection and trademarks, etc. for a business where garments are knocked off all the time, and designs are difficult to protect.
This may sound cutthroat and not in the spirit of starting a creative project, but as an artist it's also important to think like a businesswoman. Upshot is that I got some great pointers and referrals. Yay!
here I am heading out to a networking event last night in Flaminia in Black Cherries. Tiny Empire State Building in the hazy background.
Afterwards, I found out that we'd been mentioned by The Brickhouse of Style and Skorch Magazine on their social media platforms, and the store Wells & Verne in Portland, OR and Nina Blakemore in London, UK are interested in carrying Cabiria as well! We're international, baby. (hey - the new James Bond is coming out. I can't resist a little Austin Powers impression.)
Then off to the patternmaker, Michael Bevins at 4 Seasons Fashion, right down the street from swag provider Gregory's Coffee to do some final pattern tweaks before being ready for grading and production.
In the past few days, I've gotten a lot of compliments and kudos from people really seeing the value of this line. But, being in a public forum, I've gotten a few critics on one specific question, and I'd like to address that.
Why don't you make higher than a size 24?
The implication in this question - actually it's been outright stated - is that I am becoming part of the problem that excludes plus size consumers greater than a size 24. Since I stop at a size 24, I suppose it's a valid accusation. However, it's unfair to lay the ills of an entire industry at the feet of one small designer simply because I'm accessible with a face and an email address. Succinctly, it becomes a financial decision that I had to make to have any solvency ever.
It took me 2 years to get this project up on Kickstarter, after years of just mulling it over in my head. I worked several jobs, didn't go out and play too much, and saved my money in order to pay for the development and initial launch of the line. I called in a lot of favors, but some things are still costly and set as a fee, such as use of people's factories or services. They in turn have spent money to keep their doors open, much in the same way that many of the indie boutiques Cabiria wants to be in are self financed and run with a very narrow margin of error.
Pattern development and fittings cost money. Each size that you add to a line adds development and grading costs to the line, which is why numbered sizes tend to fit truer than 1x, 2x, 3x, etc. But it's money, which I'm on Kickstarter to help supply.
a long article on grading and pricing
a long article on what's involved in developing a line with a patternmaker and samplemaker
Also, most brick and mortar plus size boutiques carry up to a 24. Yes, it perpetrates a difficult cycle, but why should a tiny business absorb more risk on top of all the inherent risks already in place? Again, I have a face so I am on the block, but there are LOTS of people with more money than I have who can take the financial risks and change the system. For instance, Marc Jacobs talking about having a plus line, but where is it? And Oscar de la Renta making "plus size" up to a 16. And Ralph Lauren saying they're using the first "plus size model (she's a 12)", when I clearly remember Guess? using Anna Nicole Smith at a size 16 in the 1980s and my dad showing it to me. Just three off the top of my head with much deeper pockets and false promises to the plus community.
I am one woman doing what I can within parameters that will allow slow and steady growth and survival. I am also very proud of trying to forge a path with a very unique line in beautiful fabrics and fabrications, and that's why I'm on Kickstarter.
All the best, Eden
Below are first fitting muslins for a master pattern, taken in 2010, when I first started working on this project.