When Architecture Meets Fashion

We're thrilled to be a participating brand partner in Megan Berry's inaugural micro pop-up shop in St. Louis, Missouri. The open air kiosk designed by Berry is a 6 x 6 x 8 foot birchwood and black plexiglass boutique and was constructed onsite at Maryland Plaza in the Central West End of the ctiy. The store is open for business this weekend and features FOUNT, Rooey Knots, NUUFORM, and Parekh Bugbee - all brands that Berry curated as "handmade, sustainable, and timeless." 



Berry, who recently earned her Masters in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, founded the concept for Vala Collection, a traveling micro boutique exclusively showcasing online fashion brands. "Our custom micro boutique is an opportunity to showcase samples of artisan garments enabling customers to touch and feel the authenticity of the crafted clothing and accessories prior to purchasing,"  she said.  "Our trained associates then guide customers through our mobile purchasing system for items to be mailed to them, an identical process to purchasing online."  


After this weekend's success, she's taking Vala Collection on the road. What a concept! Good luck Megan!


Above images by Nicki Dwyer

Summer Collection in the Making

Mina Long Summer Crush Cotton Dress


Most garments have a story behind them. Have you ever reached for your favorite article of clothing and wondered about its origins? Even further, who conceived of it and the steps that went into making it?  We had the frequent traveler in mind when developing the concept of what would eventually become The Mongolian Summer collection. As avid world travelers, we’re often commuting long distances with a passport and roller board - so the idea of “easy to wear” clothing appealed to us.  Sustainable, low maintenance garments that could be readily pulled from the suitcase without fuss or the slightest need for ironing. Comfort forward blouses and dresses for women that were casual and easy going – yet at the same time a little bit dressy. Something perfect for a walk on the beach, a stroll through an ancient and mysterious temple, or just a night out in search of amazing street food. Simple garments that could definitely hold their own, yet offer the opportunity to accessorize for a versatile look.


Jiya Summer Slip Dress Block Printed


Once we had our complete storyline - a cache of sketches, stapled fabric samples and all of the requisite cuts and measurements - we headed over the big pond to India to get the project fully on the rails.  Pre-existing printed material and monochromatic crush cotton fabrics were sourced for the preliminary selection of designs, while the rest of the garments required that we work up our own silk screens and develop customized prints. After rolling out meter-upon-meter of printed cotton, we headed over to our partner factory where the process of concept-to-form continued.  



There is perhaps nobody more skilled in the role of reconstructing body shape and subtle curvature into fabric than a chief tailor, or Masterji. Their principal role in the fabrication of well-crafted artisanal clothing is crucial. It is a true art to be able to interpret drawings and craft them into perfectly sized paper patterns. That was the first major step in the creation - cutting the dress and blouse designs.



Second, the precision of measurements for selected garments and making sure to get the cuts just right. This stage was particularly arduous and totally necessary for us to nail accurately before moving forward.  Specifically the crush cotton double-layered lining Mina dresses, where a perfect length coupled with flow and looseness were needed. The next step was arguably the most exciting: the making of a sample. After days spent in the pattern making room while sipping endless cups of chai with your Masterji, this is a truly exciting moment.



Finally, the meticulous inspection of each sample to ensure proper threading, precise edging and labeling. This is the phase in garment making that invariably leads to lengthy discussion on nuance and detail specific to each piece. Getting all of it down in a notebook is a must.  It's imperative to have the most patience at the finishing stages, where quality control meets finesse and final tweaks are made before signing off on the full clothing line.


Stay tuned here for the next behind-the-scenes post highlighting our Fall 2015 collection!


All photos by Parekh Bugbee