Dare to Design: Shabby Apple

When Shabby Apple announced a Dare to Design contest, I thought — Neat, tweeted about the contest, and indicated I'd be happy to feature the winner.  Done.

But then a tweet came back — ‘Why don't you enter?”

Surely they were talking smack.  But Miss Shabby Apple was serious: “You have a good sense of design, and you are darling, why wouldn't you?”

  1. Because I don't draw.  I. Really. Don't. Draw.
  2. Because “Designing clothes isn't my dream. It's for someone else to dare.  Why waste anyone's time, including mine?”
  3. Because Athelia Woolley, one of the owners, though not a judge, guest blogged here… and I'm so very cautious about conflicts of interest.

But after two weeks of unsuccessfully pushing the idea aside, I capitulated, and got to work.  As per the instructions, here are my dress designs (in collaboration with Leslie Graff) for Shabby Apple dresses.

Design 1:  Work
Though I usually wear pants to work, sometimes I want to punch things up.  This dress is meant to be professional, tailored, feminine, and worn with my Manolo Blahnik patent leather strappy shoes.

Here's what I've learned:

1) We don't dream in isolation

Had it not been for Miss Shabby Apple giving me a sincere compliment, I wouldn't have considered this contest as within the scope of possibilities for me.  Simple words from a relative stranger; she was an artist of encouragement.

Is there someone for whom we have or can with a few words help open up their world? 

2)  To get our dreams done, we will likely need to field dare to dream team

Only by asking for help from, and collaborating with Leslie Graff (thank you Aaron Hutchins for introducing us), was I able to enter this contest.  As an expert artist, Leslie was able to put what I envision on paper.  On the off chance that I win, I will split any royalties received with her. Incidentally, she has dared to design her own dresses. They are adorable — she should definitely have her own collection.

What would you like to try?  What kind of help would you need?  What can be your quid pro quo?  Who can use your help?  What's her/his quid pro quo?

Design 2:  Cocktail Party/Fundraiser Evening
This flowing, figure-flattering dress with trumpet sleeves and in colors reminiscent of my favorite Hermes scarf is to be worn with high-heeled slingbacks.

Party dress wjlg

The final thing I learned:

3) Sometimes it's about doing something, just because we want to…

Would I like to see one of these designs as part of Shabby Apple's Spring collection?  Yes.  But it was the process that made this contest worth entering.  Thinking through the occasions for which I'd need a dress — what neckline, sleeve length, skirt style, and colors would most flatter my figure.  It was so much fun!

What would be fun for you?  Just because?


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