A new way to get your new dream dress!

by Sylvia

Custom dresses
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A while ago I got contacted by Amanda Frenz, a fashion designer who has just started her own business: Error Guided. She has a unique concept and was keen to make something for me as she liked my style and the message of this blog.

Amanda Designs customized fashion that celebrates the individuality of customers. Customers can tell her exactly what kind of garment they would want and Amanda will then create some designs and send her initial sketches to you.

Eco friendly concept

Dresses by errorguided

However, the creation process comes with a twist. Rather than buying new fabrics from a shop Amanda re-purposes fabric and materials that are found in your area. She creates new garments from pieces of fabric that are either going to waste or have been discarded. Designs are agreed online and then made up and sourced in the locality of the buyer, i.e. so that business is added to the local economy where items are sold and the final garments reflect the community where they’re created.

It’s a very unique concept and I’m all for it, but I think it can be challenging. I think the concept can involve a lot of time and finding the disposed fabrics in the materials and colours that you like may be a challenge. But if you like a unique design created in an ec0-friendly way, then Amanda seems to be the girl to do it for you.

Design sketches

Create your own dress

Since I’m time-poor and not in need for a custom designed garment at the moment, I decided not to go ahead with contracting Amanda, but instead invited her to submit some designs for me so I could give her business some exposure on this blog. Amanda was interested to see if she could ‘get’ my style from all the articles and outfits posts I have on the blog. Sketches of her ideas can be found above and below.

Designer dresses from recycled fabrics

Are you curious or interested to see what Amanda can do for you? She is currently offering a free consultation after which she will send you some sketches of possible designs. It’s all about you feeling great with your outfit and yourself.  Amanda can be contacted through her website Errorguided.com.

Custom designed dresses

What do you think? Did Amanda ‘get’ my style? Which is your favorite? Would you consider getting a custom designed garment made in this way?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Tangobabe

Great concept and ideas, that’s for sure. But like you, I would also expect it to be time consuming and therefor expensive. Is it?

Yes, I think Amanda ‘got’ your style or at least important elements of that style.

The design I find the most ‘you’ is the Overlay Dress, but at least half of the others designs I could see you wear too. E.g. the red/pink one next to the Blue Moon Dress, and the Gathers and Buttons as well as the Red Hot Dress.

The design I like the most is the Party Dress with Sash. And the one I could see myself wearing is the Button Down Business Dress.

Would I have something custom-made for me in general? I would love to, but I don’t have the money for that, so it’s cheap H&M clothes for me…..and that’s fine, so far;-).

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Sylvia

Thanks for your feedback Anja! I think you are right that overlay dress is probably the most ‘me’ and my favorite. I can see you in quite a few of these as well.
I think Amanda’s rates are very affordable right now as she is just starting out.

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Amanda Frenz

Thanks Anja for the compliments. It’s great hearing how there’s some consensus about what capture’s Sylvia’s style, and hearing Sylvia agree with that. If Sylvia were my client we’d probably focus on what makes the overlay dress really stand out and that would affect a lot of the decision making moving forward. I also like hearing which of Sylvia’s designs speak to you personally. Anja, I’ve got a questionnaire on my site at http://errorguided.com/q where I can learn more about you and turn that knowledge into sketches if you’re interested in auditioning what I can do to capture your unique style? I love focusing in on what people really like and reflecting that in my work. If I can do that for you, let me know.

As far as the question of affordability goes it really varies quite a lot depending on what design you’d want made, where the upcycable fabric would come from, and who would make up the garment, and how involved I have to be in that process. I’d have to look into a particular scenario to give you a quote. If you’re curious about the costs and would be interested in contrasting the benefits to your normal clothing purchases feel free to try out the questionnaire on my website or to send me an email at the contact details on my site and we’ll go into the realities in more depth. There’s no cost to have that discussion or to research a quote, so curiousity is definitely encouraged.

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Greetje

I can only repeat what TangobBe said. The overlay dress was my pick for you as well. And the button down business dress is me. I was quite surprised Tangobabe chose this one as well. Has that got anything to do with the dress having sleeves Anja?
As far as custom-made, I don’t do that much anymore.
I know somebody in Amsterdam who can copy pieces perfectly. And that is OK.
Usually when I have something specially made, it is just not 100% right. I used to experience the same thing when I was a child and my mother made me clothes. Apparently I do not have an average figure.
I wonder how Amanda “makes” the clothes when her clients and therefore the material can be anywhere in the world. Or does she only design and you have to search not only for the material but also for a seemstress yourself?

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Tangobabe

As far as my choice for myself: yes, that has all and only to do with the sleeves;-). But actually, I really think it’s a nice design as well.

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Sylvia

I believe that Amanda will be very actively involved in the whole process, but yes there will be quite a bit of involvement for the customer as well.

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Amanda Frenz

Hi Greetje

It’s great to see more consensus on the Overlay Dress for Sylvia and that you and Anja like the Button Down Business Dress.

I do know what you mean about finding a good tailor or seamster. In my experience, the key to reducing the chances of a bad experience is to go with those tailors or seamsters that meet all the checkpoints: great reputation and recommendations, a communicative person who asks all the right questions and has high standards, a person who won’t dictate their sense of style over what’s clearly been designed just for your aesthetic, someone who encourages multiple fittings (or is willing to learn from the structure of perfect fit clothes you already own), and someone who’s final work looks and feels great and that you can tell is well constructed. Once you find a great clothier, the joy of having an ongoing reliable relationship for having clothes (existing or new) fit perfectly (and be re-fit or re-designed as one’s needs change) can be an exquisite experience.

When it comes to my involvement in eco couture, my main priority is making sure whoever, and however, a design is made up it meets 3 main criteria: the final garments are unique to the individual they were designed for, they’re produced locally from local upcycled material, and that contracting the local tailor and seamster to source the fabric / make up the garment is done under fair labor practices. In that sense I do have to be a part of the process to ensure a garment can be classified as an Error Guided Design, but I definitely would encourage clients who have existing fabric or existing relationships with clothiers to bring those options to the table so we can discuss the best path forward.

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Jean at Dross into Gold

Wow. Beautiful ideas for designs!! As a committed upcycler myself, I know how hard it can be to find specific materials that way. I commend her vision and wish her HUGE success!!

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Amanda Frenz

Thanks for the enouragement Jean. I love your commitment to upcycling – and hope this movement catches on!

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Frances Grimble

As someone who sews and makes patterns, I think the designs shown above are interesting and I think the concept is interesting. I also think it’s not very workable. The average person who does not sew, usually only knows what they want when they see the actual garment or a picture. People are used to picking from racks, catalogs, and websites that show what the garments look like already made up. And, most people who don’t sew don’t understand how to choose an appropriate fabric for the design, even when the fabric is right in front of them. Then, they usually want at least a price range before they have something made. So I don’t see this concept working because most people won’t know what to do with it.

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Sylvia

Hi Frances, You are making some very valid points. I too think it will be hard to pull off this concept, but it would be great to see Amanda succeed with this!

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Amanda Frenz

Frances,

Thanks for showing an interest and appreciation for my work. I’d like to clarify that working with me is both accessible and workable because, after I work out a design that suits a client’s aesthetic, we then work together, with their local tailor / seamster, to reclaim fabric from various sources (the client’s own wardrobe, thrift stores, remnant suppliers, clothing/textile recycling programs) to either a) find fabric to match the design or b) tweak the design to work with available fabric.

The name of my company is Error Guided Designs because I create masterpieces from other people’s mistakes or misjudgments of what’s valuable or usable. There is limitless potential for reclaiming discarded fabric and my goal is to educate and help consumers realize and actualize the potential in what amazing fabrics are already available, without having to rely on newly produce material at all. Because I design specifically for the client and with upcycling options in mind my whole job description is to make this an easy process for consumers, both for the benefit of the client and for the benefit of the environment.

As far as price goes, we work with your budget. Give me a budget for what you’re prepared to spend to create truly unique bespoke eco friendly clothing and I’ll see if that’s possible. Or I can research the costs for a project and give a quote. Either way the goal is to find what works best for each client and their situation and the initial sketches are free so there’s no cost to be curious. I only charge for licensing the use my designs (no charge to audition them privately) and for specific additional design / research / overseer activities the client agrees to commission me for. Most of the expense goes toward paying the tailor / seamster / pattern maker for their expertise and/or time which is a price range the client can see for themselves since they’ll be paying them directly anyway. Upcycable fabric costs vary because we’re using what would otherwise go to waste. In some cases you can find such fabric for free (especially if we’re breathing new life into a client’s existing wardrobe) or at very low prices. Some thrift stores might charge a lot for gently used clothing if there’s a mark-up for fundraising needs, but for the most part, upcycling fabric is a competitive option against buying new, especially for the added benefit of reducing harm to the environment.

As far as people knowing how to use my services goes, I’ve created a new portal on my site to demonstrate a customer situation centered approach to streamlining the design vs upcycling and creation resources we would call on to make eco couture an accessible reality. You’re invited to take the “demo portfolio” service for a spin at http://errorguided.com/demo (works best on Chrome or Safari browsers) and if you’d like to try one made just for yourself, contact me on the quote or questionnaire links included within the demo.

Ultimately, how workable my business is depends on a cultural shift toward more customized and eco conscious consumerism. The following market report shows this is happening (http://virou.gr/MhAVK9) and while it’s great to be challenged on the concept of my business, the proof really comes from customer testimonials. If you’ve had a successful eco couture experience with me, I’ve set up a testomnial space at http://plumpl.com/errorguided where you can leave your review.

Thanks for your input.

Amanda Frenz

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