Among the reasons I am visiting New Zealand is to attend The World of Wearable Art. It was great to see a big mural welcoming me to New Zealand and to WOW. UK Sarah and I will fly to Wellington next week to have fun in NZ’s capital and to see WOW on Thursday night. What does one wear? If you are avant garde enough, you can go for something outrageous or high fashion. I decided to find a dress that I feel great in and buy a new pair of heels that rock the outfit. I found my dress in Portland at a shop called Folly.
In a Portland magazine I read about Sarah Bibb, a Portland designer who makes her clothes in a local factory and sells her designs and other “made in USA” designs in a shop a short bike ride from our hotel. As soon as it stopped raining, I hopped on my Brompton and raced to Folly to check out her clothes. The designer was in the shop and gave me her personal attention. At first I was looking for my daughter as many of the designs were more appealing to a twenty-something.
Then I told her that I was looking for a dress for WOW and she pulled a great looking knit dress that travels well off the rack. I tried it on and loved it enough to buy it.
I learned a lot from Sarah about the challenges of designing and manufacturing clothing in the United States. You cannot compete with Target by making disposable clothing, that is for sure. Sarah explained that the recession has taken a toll on manufacturing in the USA. Most of the remaining garment industry is in Los Angeles. In Folly, 20% of the clothing are her designs, and 80% are made in the USA.
Back to my episode of What to Wear to Wow… Finding the right shoes to go with the dress was a little more trial and error. After a pair that I found on DSW website did not fit, I went to my fail safe–Macy’s and Franco Sarto.
I had a dress rehearsal while in New York City. The dress does travel well and it feels great to wear. I could use more practice walking in the shoes!
Having seen the WOW dresses at the Nelson museum and at a special exhibit in Rotorua, I look forward to an exhilarating sensory experience.