What's in a Name?!
Posted on April 17 2018
Fashion designers typically start with a range of related ideas to produce garments that work not only as a stand-alone piece but as a collection. They approach a collection considering prints, color, shape, pattern, and proportion to help create cohesion. We, of course, aren’t typical and like to do things backwards, most of the time. When Tammy and I decide on a style, we don’t have a collection or theme in mind beyond we are going to make a collection of “blank”. We like to pick 4-5 fabrics that feel like that particular style. They typically do not go together - or flow - not even a little bit. We joke about how much easier our lives would be if we picked fabrics based on a theme or idea from the starting gate.
Fabrics and prints always feel like a certain style to us - if we find something we love, we can usually say immediately “oh that’s a Maddox” or “definitely a Frankie”. What we end up with is a Collection of prints that have absolutely no cohesion or anything in common from one to the next. I will venture to say theming a collection and naming our dresses is the most challenging stage of the process for us, because we place a lot of importance on this piece of the puzzle. We essentially back our way into a theme that ties all of the different fabrics together, after the dresses are finished.
There’s usually one fabric in each collection that is a jumping point. Take Derby Dolls, for example, the skates dress was a really fun commissioned print, and an obvious starting point for a Roller Derby theme. We could easily come up with three other fun names that fit the prints and voila - we have a collection. Others are much more challenging.
Thinking back, I think the British Invasion Maverick Collection was one of our most difficult. We had fairytale critters in a meadow, Brazilian wish bracelets, Blue Lexington Floral, and bugs. Uhmmmmmm. Like zero in common. We all obsess over it, too. It’s like the crossword you can’t solve, or the thing you forgot you were trying to say. We ventured from Woodstock, to the supernatural, to groovy 70s slang. All we really had was the Beatles, I mean how could you name that dress anything but?! We throw ideas back and forth for days, via text. I will get a random text “I will Survive!” and then nothing else. Or “It’s really pretty, buy it” as a suggestion for a name. It really is one of my favorite phases in the launch. It requires a lot of brainstorming and thought, and thinking outside the box…and results in a lot of really funny - often inappropriate suggestions.
We can usually get 3 of the 4 to work together, fairly easily, then there’s that one. The bad kid. Everyone knows who I’m talking about. It just won’t fit or click with the others. We can’t squeeze even a “close enough” name out, or it’s really a stretch. At this point, we abandon the three names we love and start over with the challenging Kid. Who are the assholes? Lets see if I can name them from some collections… Do - Re -Mermaid (Von Trapp), Pandora (Mt. Olympus), Chelsea (Big Apple), These aren’t Roses (Wonderland), The Darlings (Hooked)… y’all get my drift. They are just a bit of a stretch, even when we call it good (enough).
When all of the prints and dresses click and come together… it’s really satisfying. The Hooked Collection was really diverse - mushrooms, a plaid, an animal print, a landscape and an eclectic novelty print with butterflies, mirrors and tiaras. It was really difficult to make them all jive together, and we struggled for quite a while on that one. With the help of some of our closest brain trusts, Peter Pan was born, and naming it Hooked was just so clever and Punny - I mean who isn’t hooked on Mav?!
Speaking of Punny - y’all have probably noticed we LOVE a good Pun or idiom for our dress names. It is a way for us to sometimes tie a collection together when we have nothing to really go on besides color, or complete randomness, and it's super fun to do. Mixology, Skyler, the oh so famous Frankie collection with “bot” names… all relied on a clever play on words to create cohesion. My favorite Collection theme to date was probably the Darcy Collection, Hopelessly Devoted, where we called on some of the most (in)famous couples from history and added some fun word play as well. Bon Bon & Clyde is one of my favorite dress names ever!
We also love when we get the customers involved in a friendly naming contest. How Fun was the 2016 Halloween Collection?! You guys are brilliant and often come up with names we never thought of or considered. A collection of pieces named for Fashion Icons with punny spooky twists - absolutely brilliant - and the Collection name, "Vanity Scare", icing on the cake! I am beyond excited to see what you guys come up with for the Next Reese Collection, "Pardon My French!"
Please join us on The Mane BST on Facebook for a chance to win the naming contest and recieve a Cart Pass for an upcoming Collection! Contest ends Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 8pm CST! Good Luck and Have Fun!