Sunday, August 31, 2008

stupid tie-tle

A couple weeks ago, I was in NYC for a recording session and planned to get together with
Jes Switaj, the incredible designer who's creating bridesmaids' shawls (I let cat out of the bag as far as their getting shawls is concerned :-( , but I'll be more careful when I post pictures), groomsmen's ties, and a jacket for me. Jes had already purchased fabric for the shawls and some of the ties, but the teal that's in my dress is a little different from what I'd wanted for Tim's tie, and I've had a really hard time finding complementary colors. Jes suggested that we go to the Garment District to pick out fabric for his tie and for my jacket. (It'll be a very simple, open jacket made of sheer ivory organza, with 3/4-length sleeves and a little bit of champagne velvet trim on the front.) 

This was the initial inspiration. I thought about ordering it, but things that are supposed to be somewhat short/cropped always come up to my boobs. Also, the pleats are very cool but might compete with the embroidery on the dress - so basically, I'm not sure why I'm showing you this picture. Filler?

Jes is new in NYC (she and her boyfriend just moved from Arizona), and she's already really busy. She already has a 9-to-5 internship with a women's clothing designer and texted me today to tell me she thinks she has a paid job starting this week. That's pretty amazing to find a job in your field in NYC right after moving there. But, as you can see from looking at her Etsy site and her blog, her designs and her work are creative and impeccable. 

She's also frickin' gorgeous. (Wearing one of her own designs.)

So back to that suggestion that we go to the Garment District. My rehearsal went longer than I anticipated, and I didn't get to her apartment until about 5. We took the subway to the very top of the district at 42nd street, where fabric store after fabric store lie in the filthy shadow of Penn Station. Holy shit, these fabric stores are CRAZY! Most of them were immigrant-owned/operated (or at least people whose first language isn't English), and although I don't want to presume to guess exactly which countries they were from, we visited stores run by people from at least three non-North-American continents. Pretty awesome.

This store looks a lot bigger and more spacious than the ones we were in, but the caption on the source says it all.

When I walked into these places, I kind of didn't know where to start. Jes was totally patient with me, but I was sort of overwhelmed and wandered around in a bit of a daze for a couple hours. I knew exactly what colors and fabrics I had in mind, but I've never been in a fabric store like that before: every last inch from front to back, floor to ceiling, is covered in bolts of wildly different fabrics, from white lace to wool tweeds to Pucci-esque prints on polyester to holographic lame (sorry, can't figure out the accent mark). The setup varies ever-so-slightly from store to store, but not enough to catch your breath in between. And nothing is labeled (as in, no "silks" or "poly blends" or "jersey" signs). It looks so beautiful and wonderful, but when you're with someone you don't know very well (who I did get to know that day, and she's RAD - yes, I said "rad") and you're on a specific mission, it's stressful. I think I handled it all right, but it was a tiring expedition.

It was really easy to find stuff I knew wasn't right, and for a while Jes and I joked around holding up stupid fabrics and saying, "This is perfect!" But I think that got old for both of us pretty fast. It was just...... SO MUCH! After going through about 6 stores without much luck (a lot of things were close but not quite right, like the ivory with a lemony-yellow-tinge chiffon? organza? that the store owner just handed to us for free, trying to convince me there was no yellow in it), we finally found a tie fabric and a jacket fabric I'm happy with. I'm sure **both** Jes and I are happy there were only two choices to make. :-)

On our way back to Brooklyn to do some fitting, we stopped at the Italian bakery Jes's boyfriend works at around Chelsea (?), and got some much-needed coffee and H2O. It was a really fun day, and as Amy said, I'm "so lucky to get to hang out all day with someone from Etsy!" I know that might sound silly, but it's true. Jes is a really awesome person and so sweet, and it's great to become friends with someone you're working with. Actually, it's great to have a new friend, period!

In case you're wondering, we didn't go to Mood (where the Project Runway designers go on the show) - Jes said it's really expensive. HOWEVER. She did text me the day after we went shopping, and she had just seen Suede at one of the stores we'd been at! She thought he was probably shopping for his Fashion Week collection but couldn't talk to him because he was on the phone. I wonder if he was talking in third person.

And speaking of Jes texting me, she just sent this pic.... yay!!! I love it. This one will be Tim's, and the groomsmen will wear either red or purple (to complement the two red/two purple bridesmaids' dresses). I think it matches the teal on my dress pretty well, don't you?  :-D  

Thanks, Jes!!!

1 comment:

Jes said...

Hey! Sorry I didn't get a chance to read this until just now. You are so sweet! That fabric store in the photo is right around the corner from where we were. Want to go next time ;-) We can go to Mood too, if you want. I'll be much more fun without the pressure. Can't wait til you are in town again! Thanks for all your kind compliments, I really appreciate it!