|Chicago at 6:30am|
On Tuesday morning I woke up bright and early to catch a flight to NYC for the dg Expo, a fabric and trim show held in the heart of the garment district. I decided to go because, as much as I love woking int my studio and sourcing here in Chicago, I just knew that if I explored what this expo had to offer I would be able to find things that would simply make Rare Dirndls better… and I was right!
I found a great source for zippers, took wonderful seminars about costing, sourcing and marketing, ordered a beautiful knit for a summer sweater, met a digital printer who would be able to get the Rare Dirndl Edelweiss Icon printed onto fabric, found a source for beautiful beading for bridal dirndls, but probably the most exciting was meeting Warren Brand, president of M&S Schmalberg, who specialized in custom fabric flowers.
|Awesome presentation from Jane Hamill of Fashion Brain Academy. Love her!|
|M&S Schmalberg Showroom|
I was simply walking around the show and I had on my Loose Knit Scarf on with the Edelweiss Clip and he says to me “Where did you get that?” I replied, “I made it,” And that started a conversation that led to, “Erika, why don’t you come by the booth tomorrow morning and I’ll take you over to our warehouse/workshop and you can see the place for yourself. Maybe we can help you make those flowers!”
I was over the moon! Soooooo excited!! The next morning Pam, (a lovely woman who works for M&S Schmalberg) took me to the warehouse, which was only 3 blocks away. I was blown away by the old school feel, the genuine artwork that was taking place. They showed me how the fabric is starched, cut into the petals and then pressed to shape the petals to look like real flowers!
We searched through their vast array of die cuts and tools to find a shape that would work for an edelweiss. Some had too many petals, some had too little, too fat, too round… until all of a sudden, the lovely man who worked the cutting machine pulls out a perfect shape! A little uneven, some petals longer than others, it was perfect! I couldn’t believe it!
|The flower shape I picked for the Edelweiss (unpressed and then pressed)|
When I showed the girls who were putting the flowers together the edelweiss that I made, and they were most impressed with the fuzzy center. They said right away that those tiny details were something they would not do, but just having the petals cut for me is a blessing! Not having to take apart a bunch of lilies from Michaels Craft Store would save me so much time… and these are much better quality!
Then I found some fabric that they had laying around and they said I could use that as my flower petals for no extra charge. And believe it or not, they made the petals that day and I took them home with me! I also bought some beautiful white leather at the expo that they are going to create into leather edelweiss petals for me and I can’t wait to see how they turn out.
Overall, I am so glad that I went because I met some amazing people who are doing amazing things in beautiful US of A and I got to hang out with other wonderful designers that I have been working with over the past year. I have to thank my coach and mentor, Jane Hamill, for convincing me to get out from behind my computer and “go get it, girl!!”
|Heidi Kelly from HKelly Designs, Adeline Olmer from French-Secrets, Jane Hamill from FBA, and ME!|