Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ask The Fashion Professor

Dear Fashion Professor,

The term dressmaker gets said often in the fashion world as well as on Project Runway. What is a dressmaker, and why do they have such a bad reputation? I mean, they are designers too, right?

Chris P.

Hi Chris,

I've heard the term dressmaker used in a derogatory way as well - as if it's an insult - "I'm a designer and you are a lowly dressmaker."

There's a really interesting documentary on Karl Lagerfeld which shows the planning of one of his Chanel collections and during the fittings he's surrounded by these little old French ladies who do all the alterations and to whom he asks advice. Lagerfeld relies on their skills and talent to make fabric do exceptional things.
Behind the scenes at all of the fashion houses is a team of such dressmakers without which Lagerfeld or any other major designer could exist.

To me, the term dressmaker, implies someone of experience and skill. I use it as a term of respect.

The times I've heard dressmaker uttered in an insulting way it was from the mouths of editors, stylists or wannabe designers who know very little about construction or the skills required to make a beautiful gown. I'll take a dressmaker over the lot of them any day.



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