Swiftly Navigating Online Shopping
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
According to their kickstarter.com page, the design brand Bow and Drape claims that the average woman has 22 garments in her closet that she doesn’t wear. That is a lot of garments if you ask me, and a lot of wasted money and shopping hours too. But I know that I have them. That pair of jeans (or eight), that just don’t fit right, that dress I bought for an occasion at the last minute, but I actually hate, the ugly cardigan that goes with the lackluster dress—it’s all there, and bunches of other garments that lay perpetually untouched. Seeing this problem with women’s wardrobes and the utter lack of control we have, Bow and Drape, formerly Zoora, took to kickstarter.com to raise money to begin something new, right here in Boston.
According to one of their founders, Aubrie Pagano, they set out to “reinvent retail altogether.” Sounds like quite a challenge for a team of seven creative minds plus one designer, but after surpassing their monetary goal, their site opened this week and Bow and Drape is open for business. What makes them so different, you may ask? How is this any better than the hundreds, if not thousands, of online shopping outlets that already occupy so much of my time? I have one word for you: customization. I love anything custom. Yes, I can afford a monogrammed sticker for my laptop, but when it comes to custom outfits, they are often out of many people’s price range, mine for sure.
This is no longer the case. Bow and Drape seeks to bring freedom of choice and expression to their customers. Their basic collection is comprised of six pieces—doesn’t sound like much variety to you? There are, in fact, over 3,000 possible ways to customize these six pieces—that’s more than at any store I am perusing these days. The “Twiggy” is a shift dress, with a classic boat neck, that is available in two fabrics; the “Jackie” is a stretch cotton dress that can be customized by changing not only the length and the skirt itself, but the entire bodice; the “Diane,” naturally, is the iconic wrap-dress made famous by Diane von Furstenberg herself, but customizable beyond your wildest dreams; the “Gabrielle” is a full lined jacket, with a more feminine touch than a blazer, and available peplum addition; the “Marilyn” is the collection’s quintessential feminine skirt, cut to the knee and available in two different fabrics; and last but hardly least, the “Audrey” is a pencil skirt, available in three different lengths, perfect for any and every woman.
From color, to fabric, to sleeves, bodice, length, trim, and other details, each piece is uniquely yours. But the site does not stop there—you can customize scarves, in either a traditional or infinity silhouette, with different trims, from beading to leather—and the site hopes to continue expanding in variety. For every girl, there is an option, and all of these can be played and experimented with from the comfort of your own home, without the frustration of having to go shopping for hours and hours only to come home disappointed.
The site also offers a “Shape Profile” to get every woman started. User-friendly and super helpful, the profile does the work of a personal shopper slash super honest friend and helps you find the best shape that will actually flatter your body type. Can’t beat that! Also offered is an online consultation via chat with a site representative if you have more specific questions, or need help determining your shape for your profile. The site has all the perks of a personal shopper, without the expense. Bow and Drape allows every girl to feel special, and find a piece that she really likes. No more finding a piece and wishing it were in another color or fabric—the power is now in your hands. Bow and Drape will also send you, for free, a kit at home to see fabric and color samples—talk about customer service. The fall line is now ready to order, and the pieces take about two weeks to make, which is not a bad turnover time for a custom piece.
Not only are the pieces customizable, but they are also inherently cool. These are not the building blocks of a boring wardrobe. The in-house designer, Sarah Parrott, has her own impressive credentials that seriously shine through in this collection. A contestant on NBC’s Fashion Star, Parrott is hardly a design novice, and has sold her wares to fashion powerhouses such as H&M. She is a woman with experience who knows what women are looking for in their wardrobes.
I am excited that this element of custom design is being spread to the masses for a much more affordable price point. Although perhaps not as inexpensive as Forever 21, the pieces are not outrageous, and I hope to make one an addition to my own wardrobe (I definitely have my eye on that “Gabrielle” jacket … cough cough … Mom and Dad). Take a look at the site, and get inspired by all of the possibilities, and maybe consider donating some of those 22 pieces laying around that you don’t wear—you need to make room for your new custom pieces, obviously!