A few days ago I was listening to a podcast and the host asked: "Do people know what you do?" Immediately, I thought to myself, "Yes, of course people know what I do." However, when I started thinking about that question more, I realised that there was a high chance that some people actually don't know what I do. So, I thought this week's blog post would be a great opportunity to share a bit more about what my work looks like. Something that I love to do is make custom clothes, so today I'm going to take you through one of my Custom Made Experiences step-by-step.
Last month, I received a message on Instagram from Viviana, a client, wondering if I could make her a Custom Dress for a wedding she was going to attend at the end of the month. She was wondering two things: Could I make the dress in time, and could I make it even if she didn't live in Barcelona? The answers were yes and yes!
We proceeded to talk about what she was envisioning, and I quickly started to imagine the design of her dress. We talked about colours and other details, and I told her that I would go to the fabric store the next day to look for our materials.
Viviana wanted the dress to be 100% silk and a yellow-golden colour, and I found exactly what she was looking for. I sent her a picture to confirm the fabric, and she loved it just as much as did.
I also got another similar fabric in red so I could make a sample. After that, Viviana and I set up a video meeting where I got all her measurements and showed her the drawings I had done of the dress.
We spent a couple days finalising the design of the dress. We kept a constant conversation, going back and forth on ideas: discussing the depth of the cowl neck, the openness of the back, how big the slit should be, the different ways she would be able to wear it, and tons of other details.
“Raphaella was amazing. She understood my idea and made it 100% better. I wanted a simple and elegant backless dress, and I got a three-way dress.”
I wanted to give Viviana more than one way to wear the dress, I constructed it so that she could move the straps around and tie it in many different ways. After the wedding, she could choose to dress it up or dress it down, and get tons of use out of it.
Next came the hard part... I had to make every individual piece of the pattern and create the first sample so that Viviana could see the design come to life. We re-worked the sample and adjusted the design and pattern as we went.
Once we were both happy with everything, I proceeded to work on the final dress with the ever so special golden silk. Side note: Silk is one of the most difficult fabrics to work with BUT it feels so incredible on skin, so the result is totally worth it.
Because of all the previous work we'd put into crafting the pattern and making a perfect sample, when it came to making the final dress I was very confident it was going to be exactly what Viviana was hoping for. I made the dress, took this picture, and sent it to her saying that it was finished and ready to be shipped.
The whole entire process, from the first Instagram message to Viviana receiving the dress at home, took about two weeks.
"Not only did she do the dress long distance (measurements through video call), but she did it in a week in order to send it and be certain it was perfect and on time for my event."
I wanted to give Viviana time to shop for the shoes and accessories she would style the dress with for the event. I shipped it express and it arrived in only a few days.
Here is the aftermath of this beautiful process: Viviana looking absolutely stunning and both of us being so proud of the outcome. There is something so special about imagining something in your mind and bringing it into life. I get to do this all the time with my own wardrobe, and I feel so fulfilled when I get to share this gift.
This dress's creative process was a collaboration of Viviana's ideas and my skills, and that's exactly how a Custom Made Experience should play out. Both client and designer play an important role in the process, so that's how everyone feels uniquely satisfied afterwards.
"Having a custom made dress has been the best 'shopping' experience. Thanks Raphaella. I really hope to have more of your pieces soon." —Viviana Rodriguez
I hope that now it's a little bit more clear what I do and what kind of work I love. Designing and making custom made clothing are truly very unique experiences and things that I'm deeply passionate about. I have been making custom clothes since the start of my career. I knew from the beginning that that's what I wanted to do. Nothing has changed, and it's still what I enjoy doing the most.
Thank you for keeping up with the blog, I appreciate you!