The February Skirt
Remember Weather Appropriate Footwear Week? This is the skirt the winner, Tonya, picked.
At 5'3", Tonya wanted her skirt the Ultra Mini length. At 5'10", I prefer slightly longer. That's why I decided to make 2 lengths.
The hem drops 2" in back, for a little extra coverage, and a great profile.
The rayon blend knit is squishy soft and washable. The color is fresh, with the shorter length making it easy to keep clean. The pockets remind me of the earliest green-things poking through the frozen tundra here in the midwest.
Why a Mini?
In summer, wearing a super short skirt means I'm always thinking about my thighs and if I can safely bend over. In winter, we have leggings! (My fave of course, the faux leather by Spanx.) Leggings mean I can wear a shorter hemline and also do cartwheels if necessary (sadly, I don't think I've ever had a situation that necessitated a cartwheel).
The hemline is clear of parking lot muck and salted cars. Oversized layers are balanced by expanse of leg. I'm able to dress more comfortably (fuzzy sweaters; oversized dusters; tall rain boots) while still feeling cute and put together.
Erica styled her skirt with mauve, which was so good! At 5', she preferred the Ultra Mini. Divine.
Sarah styled hers over skirts, dresses, jeans. Absolutely inspiring. At 5'4" she preferred the Short Mini.
I took my skirt to the consignment store to style it and was surprised at what I found. It's fabulous as a layering piece over dresses and tunics.
Sizing and Details
You'll notice sizing is a little different, as I tinker with the simplest way to list things. All you'll need is your waist measurement. When choosing a length, note Erica is 5' and I'm 5'10". If you're in between those heights, then either will work for you.
The end goal of tinkering with sizing is producing larger quantities at a factory, and it's happening! I'm beginning work on my first small run of skirts, manufactured in India.
Handmade, block printed textiles sewn by hands paid a fair wage, in safe working conditions. All of this is because of the team at Ziyada. Along with producing their own line, they offer small batch manufacturing for designers like myself. I read one of their employee's story this week, and wanted to include it here, because it so clearly represents why I've waited for the right opportunity to move into larger quantities. The clothes (including sizing!) have to be right. But the way things are manufactured also has to be right. Manufacturing is about relationships, and those have to be right as well.
Around age 10, Vinod went to Delhi where he worked in a factory producing jeans for big name brands. Vinod laughingly tells stories about overcrowded conditions and how he and the other boys he worked with had to scramble through tiny holes in the back wall of the factory when police showed up on raids. They’d spend the night on the streets and wait to return to work the next day after the police had cleared out...
After 10 years, Vinod managed to leave Delhi, eventually making his way back home. After his return, he started working at Ziyada where he has access to fair wages, health care, a pension plan, a standard 40 hour work week, and a free lunch. Since joining our team, Vinod built his own home, and uses a bit of his land for farming.
Read the rest of Vinod's story on Ziyada's blog.
When signing off in December, I cryptically wrote about being burnt out, and potentially stepping away from the business for a season. A month away from social media gave me opportunity to take care of my home, celebrate accomplishments, enjoy my family.
Since the Fall, I've been talking with Jarrett, my therapist, family, friends and mentors, trying to figure out how to move forward. My business is growing, and it's really difficult. I show up each January more burnt out than the last. I seem to struggle through the year, collapse in December, and not be ready to start it all again come January.
Even the week I was cutting The February Skirt, I was thinking "I many not make these", almost coaching myself to just take the next step.
Jarrett and I have a couple of phrases rattling around in our hearts for 2023: pull the trigger and stay the course.
I'm both taking one day at a time, and moving forward with things that will bring relief. I'm pursuing manufacturing in India, hiring here, and possibly teaching at our local community college.
I'm coming to the conclusion that it's time to scale. It's time for me not to do all the work. It's time to make actual dollars for the family budget. It's time to manufacture enough skirts to go around. Scaling seems like more work, but I believe it's what I've been preparing for for the past few years as I custom make skirt after skirt, whittling my patterns and sizing system into the shape I want.
You are directly responsible for this growth. As you build your closet, confidence, you are building far reaching systems helping people in Bangladesh, India. I do not take for granted, every $6 tee purchase, and $200 skirt purchase. There is no business without you, and I am so grateful for the honor of being a part of your story.