Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wedding dress kit?

This weekend, I read an article in the online version of New York Times that blew my mind...

Who thinks this stuff up?

Someone has actually applied for a patent for a "Wedding dress kit", which allows brides to mix and match elements of their "dream dress" -- a sleeve here, a skirt there, and take it to a dressmaker to be made.

Ummm... okay... why is this patentable?

Ideas... we dressmakers see many. Are they all executable? No. Are they all good? No. Are they all practical? Within the brides price range? Suitable for the fabric choices? For the body type of the bride? No.

Giving a dressmaker a group of elements to assemble for you, is like giving a chef a group of ingredients and not acknowledging the endless variety of possible outcomes that could result. It is like giving a pilot a destination without a flight plan. It is like... well, you get the idea.

What this sounds like to me, is a "dream kit". Heck, I could do that. Sounds like a good idea... but I don't see how that could possibly work. Your thoughts?


  1. I've actually thought about the possibilites of sort of kit like that . More so for bridesmaid dress than the brides dress. The wedding it all to signficant a garment to treat like a jigsaw puzzle in my opinion.

  2. Um, well, my immediately reaction was "No. Don't like the idea at all." For some reason, and I can't explain it, it just sits wrong with me. I think it's because I certainly wouldn't want to be handed a bunch of elements and told, "Make this." A wedding dress is one of the most important dresses in a woman's life and there is so much more to the planning process from a dressmaker's point of view than just picking a style.

    After thinking for more than 30 seconds, it's not terribly different that what we already do when we make a custom dress for someone. We start with a basic pattern that is close to what the bride wants, and then we add, delete or change elements to their wishes. With a little gentle pushing in the right direction, we help the bride to find the right style for her body, budget, fabric, etc. This kit would at least bring brides to realization that if you don't like one element you can change it, and that custom dresses are the way to have the dress of her dreams (which would probably be better made and fit properly!).

    Besides, if it's popular, maybe more brides will have dresses made, which means more business for those who specialize in sewing such garments.

  3. Well, I see what you're both saying... My biggest concern is that people tend to think "design" is the idea of what shape they want something to be. That isn't even half the battle, when it comes to making a garment work. This risks becoming a source of endless disappointment for people who want to assemble a combination of elements, and feel that they have fully explained what they need to have made.

    For me personally, someone can say they want a "tidy jacket and cigarette pant combo" made, for example. But, if in their head, they see Audrey Hepburn, and I see Christina Aguilera, you know that there is a lot more to know before you start sewing. This removes the whole psychological exploration that a dressmaker cannot avoid doing if she wants to convey the art beyond the mechanics of the project.

    I feel it oversimplifies the process, and in so doing, presents a false idea of what is achievable. I don't really think more people should be encouraged to have gowns custom made. It takes a very specific type of client, and client-dressmaker relationship for the process to work well.

    My two cents...

  4. I don't think it's a bad idea, actually. I agree with Mimi, however, that it does take a specific relationship to make it work well. And, some women just want to say they are wearing a Vera Wang gown. On a very basic level, the idea appeals to me, much like making my own clothes. Had I had the time, I would have gone that direction when I was deciding on my own gown.

    I clicked over to the article and was much, MUCH more disturbed by the patent application for credit-based gifts to the bride and groom at the reception. As I was reading, all I could picture was the little handheld credit machines common in Europe being passed around by waiters after the champagne toast. Does your guest get a receipt along with their party favor? Charming, I'm sure...