By MIKE CHAIKEN
Kristen O’Connell noticed a problem she and other women have when shopping for clothes. As good as the pieces looked on the rack, and in fashion magazine and catalogues, the fit just wasn’t right for them. And if the garments fit, they didn’t come in a fabric print or color they liked.
Rather than suck it up, deal with the ill-fit and the wrong color palette, or take the clothes to a tailor to retool them or even to custom-make one, she created her own solution and her own company, No. 2 Skirts (www.no2skirts.com).
No. 2 Skirts allows women to design a skirt for their measurements and color and silhouette preferences via www.no2skirts.com.
We caught up with The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising-trained O’Connell via email to talk to her about No. 2 Skirts and the process to “Design It Yourself.”
Observer: How did the idea come about for this?
Kristen O’Connell: I was working in sales at a department store while putting myself through design school when I noticed a constant problem: Women couldn’t find what they were shopping for, and when they did, nine times out of 10 it didn’t fit. I saw many women walk away discouraged, “almost” finding the right skirt, but either it wasn’t the right color or it was the wrong size. I thought why not allow women to get what they want by letting them design it themselves. I took it a step further allowing them to submit their measurements so that their design is created in their exact size. I like to call it “ending dressing room disappointment.”
O: Why is this an option that would appeal to most women?
K: Shopping is a challenge for nearly every woman. In fact only 4 percent of woman always find clothes that fit. That means 96 percent of us are out there having a difficult time when it comes to finding clothes that fit. All of us are expected to fit into the same rack of sizes 2 to 12, yet each body is different and this size model just doesn’t work for us anymore.
O: Other than fit, why is this an advantageous way to buy a skirt?
K: Through our website, we give every customer the opportunity to design their own skirt. To be your own fashion designer means you are in control of your style, you can build around items that already exist in your closet, or design the perfect skirt around an occasion or theme. When a woman decides they need a red skirt, traditionally they have to hunt through multiple stores hoping to find one, or scour online resources and order in multiples hoping one will fit. With No.2 Skirts, they can just design the skirt to their specifications and know they will get a great fit.
O: I went through the website (www.no2skirts.com), picked some options, once you’ve picked the options, and inputted measurements, how are the skirts made?
K: The first step is creating the custom pattern for each customer’s skirt. We take the customer’s design direction and create a pattern based on their design and their personal measurements. From there, the pattern is cut from their chosen fabric, delivered to the sewing studio, where it is crafted together with utmost attention, finally there is a one last review to ensure all measurements are accurate and our couture-quality standards have been met.
O: How did you develop the base designs of the skirts? And how about the prints/ and colors available?
K: The basic skirt designs are based on the most timeless skirt styles. We offer the classics that are always on trend year after year, and also the option to play on the classics with the addition of front full-length zippers or a gathered seam to modernize the look and make it very unique and fashion forward.
O: Is your plan to evolve the designs… roll out new ones for different seasons?
K: Our plan is to always give the customer the chance to evolve and add to their skirt designs. So, whether it’s new silhouettes or new skirt detail/trim options the Design Studio will continue to grow and be the place to service all your skirt needs.
O: Will (No. 2 Skirts) roll (its line) out to blouses, coats, etc. in time?
K: At the moment we are very focused on skirts. We have an extremely high commitment to being the best at creating unique and perfect-fitting skirts. I can’t say that we won’t ever expand to other custom items, but for now we are focused on doing one area of clothing the absolute best.
For more information and to order your own custom-made skirt, go to www.no2skirts.com.
Comments? mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.