Things they like — Lionesses of Africa

by Brigette Mashile

One thing a client will let you have is their opinion. Whether you asked for it or not! In the years I have made dresses for many people, I have gathered a few things that people want which I still don’t have full understanding of. Some of them I have been told why, others it’s just as is. Here is the list:

1. Pockets

Everyone wants a pocket. Including me! My reasons are that I need a place to put my phone and lip moisturizer. My clients, they just want a pocket. With each order I have to make sure that we discuss the pocket, to avoid disappointments. There are some items where a pocket is impossible, but the client will insist. I then give them ideas on how to change the design to keep a pocket in. For you see, the pocket is first priority.

2. Volume, but not really

I love flared anything; first reason is it’s just gracious. And who doesn’t want to twirl and have their dress flair out. Also, it fits my body the best, and I can have a pocket in there. There was a time when we made these skirts with 5m pieces of fabric, so the skirt would be full. To my surprise, not all of us love them like that. There are people who want less volume. Like maybe just 3m instead of the 5m please Brigette. One of the major reasons I have heard for this choice is that the more volume the skirt has, the bigger they look. Technically, this is not true, because of the way a flair is cut. But the client is always right, so we let them have what they want.

3. Scuba the fabric

A lot of people don’t know what this is, they know it has the stretchy fabric. And that’s it.  For a person who was trained to do formal wear and tailoring, this is hell. Scuba is a stunning fabric, but its primary job is to go with the flow of your body. It will not tuck, pull, or smooth anything on you. It is not the best fabric for sizes above 38 on tight fitted clothing. My clients don’t hear me. I have had a client refuse a dress we made in stretch duchess because they wanted scuba. That day I learned a great lesson, save my opinions for God. Do what you are told and let it go, whether it’s up to ‘my’ par or not.

4. Zips on the side

Why why why? This is said to me vs the zip at the back. The reason is always that they cannot reach their back. I should find a way to make this easier. A side zip, just like the pockets depends on the technicality of the item. First of all, a side zip is in the way of the pocket…let that sink in. It is only easily possible if the bottom of the dress is flared. You see how the things I love come together LOL! I have been criticized by other designers for having a zip at the back on pants, I didn’t fold at all.  They just work. We have done side zips for a lot of clients who ask for it, as you have heard, the client is always….

It should be mentioned that each client wants what they want, and it is acceptable. This is the beauty of freedom, and sometimes the horror of most artists. Our main goal as creatives is to do what we have in mind without any limitations. We believe we are good at what we do and can deliver something absolutely stunning for our clients. And herein lies the risk, as we all know that creatives care less for what is socially acceptable! And clients just want to look good, not creative!

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