What’s in a number?
On buying trips, I conjure a few different customers to guide my decisions: “would XX wear ochre?” or “would yy do open-back?”. In marketing speak, it’s called a “brand persona,” but I think whether these actual people-- all of whom have different lifestyles, sizes and years ‘round the sun-- would be compelled by a certain piece; will it coordinate with items they’ve bought from me in prior seasons and fit the way they live. One of the biggest hurdles I face aside from decoding the nuances of the colors parchment and oat, is stocking pieces that will accommodate multiple body types. For one, many of lines I carry are designed by individuals or smaller studios that manufacture small runs in the U.S. and don’t get the volume discounts of mass-market lines, and as such don’t have the resources to provide a wide range of sizes.
It’s especially frustrating trying to navigate fit when there is so much discrepancy between designers; in other words sizes can be seemingly arbitrary! The other challenge is because I’m a small store, I don’t have the space or budget to stock what’s considered in the industry as “speciality” sizes, e.g. petite, plus or maternity. In the meantime, and if or when those factors change, I’m committed to seeking out pieces that are designed for a variety of different heights, weights and lifestyles.
For this reason, I’m excited to bring in Miranda Bennett Studio as a new line for my shop. I’ve admired her for a long time because of her sustainability and ethical production practices. Their manufacturing partner is Open Arms, an Austin-based sustainable apparel manufacturer empowering refugees through fair-wage employment. She also uses plant-based dyes and natural fibers for her garments. What’s more, she has a number of styles that are cut to accommodate a variety of sizes (aka “one size”). Of course there’s no way to be a true one-size-fits-all, but it’s a start. For my part, I will always do my best to order customer-specific sizes when they are requested.
I have three silhouettes in stock now for pre-spring: her everyday jumpsuit and the everyday dress both in black and a beautiful off-the-shoulder midi dress in a peachy color called Palo Santo.