Manufacturing Cavortress?

There are many designers who sew their own products which is extremely time consuming and laborious.  Last year I designed and produced 3 different collections in-house to test the market with the intention of outsourcing manufacturing on the most successful styles in 2011.  The first collection was specifically designed for Las Vegas’s VIVA LAS VEGAS event which was in it’s 13th year and first year featuring a fashion showcase.  I also shared this Cavortress collection at a Pre-Fashion Week Party (check out the video) at Aloft Hotel in North Charleston, SC during a collaborative event coordinated by Eyelevel Art with help from inventivENVIRONMENTS . Another was featured at St. Louis Fashion Week where Cavortress was chosen to participate via online voting and the only designer from outside the St. Louis metro area selected. The St. Louis collection was also shared at the annual Dockside Fashion Show that benefits Charleston Water Keeper

Dockside Fashion Show featuring Molly O’Connell of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 16, and Ashley Marie of Tout Talent.  Photos courtesy of Tripp Livingston.

Finally, I did a collection that was strictly swimwear and featured locally in Charleston.  It sold out and I had orders. The market had spoken.

Cavortress Swim 2010, market test. Photo courtesy of Cyle Suesz.

This is the first year that Cavortress Design is being manufactured.  Based on last year’s feedback we decided to stick with swimwear and expand the line with a few key summer pieces that can translate from cover-ups to clothing. The process for the 2011 Cavortress collection started back in October 2010 when I took my first trip to California to meet with a production team and get the process underway.  The team I am working with manufactures clothing carried by both Neiman Marcus and Anthropologie.  I am fortunate to find such talent here in the States and to contribute to the fashion industry offering a product that is made in the USA. 

I make many of my own patterns and source my own fabric.  This has been extremely helpful to the team as we work through the entire manufacturing process.  Throughout the winter I have been making decisions about what thread to use, tension, width, pattern grading approaches, finishing techniques, tags, and findings to use for the finished product in addition to visiting Los Angeles to oversee production. Luckily, my husband is a professional quality assurance engineer and quick to rule out anything that 1.  Isn’t quality, or  2.  Won’t look good on the majority of girls. My interns from College of Charleston have been instrumental serving as fit models and helping me coordinate feedback for the manufacturer. I anxiously await a March delivery date!  For the 2011 collection there will only be a small run of 50 pieces of each garment to start.  Fashions will be available online at, at House of Sage in Charleston, and at Style X in Austin, TX.  In the mean time I am sourcing fabric, developing patterns, and planning a trip to Los Angeles in April to work on the 2012 collection that will be ready this July. 

Cavortress Quality Assurance Engineer hard at work.

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