With only a very few designers and manufactures willing to make 1920’s reproduction dresses, I get super excited when a new company joins the mix. When Kim, with Wear Dreams are Made, contacted me and told me about the beaded flapper dresses she designs, I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when I saw just how gorgeous these dresses are. I immediately asked her to share her story with us so that you can get an insider’s look at what it takes to design ’20s style dresses and be a new internet entrepreneur all at once.
My love of vintage fashion and old Hollywood glamour begun at a very early age. This fascination started while listening to stories told by my grandfather who was a set and prop builder for 20th Century Fox studios back in the early 1940’s and 50’s. I would sit for hours while he talked about his encounters with Shirley Temple, Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe and showing us movie props from old westerns or The Sound of Music. I remember seeing an old yearbook from the studio of past actresses from the 1920’s and 30’s including actresses from silent films and I immediately felt transported back in time. In addition, one of my favorite pictures of my grandmother was in her biased cut, silk 1920’s wedding dress with her finger wave hair. I loved the simple beauty, grace and elegance of the period.
So, then back in 2000, being a busy wife and mother, I decided to start my own business selling vintage and used items on Ebay to make some extra money for my family and so that I could stay at home with my children. Then it expanded to selling only new items from many various companies and designers and then eventually building my own website. I always specialized in carrying only vintage style clothing from many different eras such as the Victorian era, the Medieval period, Renaissance, 1920s, and also 1940’s and 50’s.
I have always been involved in the arts in some form whether it be music, dance or theatre, but I kind of fell into designing by accident. Having never had any formal design training, it never even occurred to me that it was something that I could do. Then I started seeing a little resurgence of 1920’s fashion starting to come back while browsing on the internet and I fell in love with the style and exuberance of the period. I loved the intricate deco patterns and extraordinary intricate beadwork of the flapper styles. I started looking at old photographs of the day and got inspired that maybe I could try to create something similar. So I got my sketch pad out and started drawing and realized that it was something that came fairly easy to me.
Designing Flapper Dresses
With drawings in hand, I needed to figure out a way that I could produce them, and I knew I couldn’t do it myself, so I started exploring options and put out inquires on various media/business sites stating that I was looking for a producer of women’s beaded evening dresses. I was then quickly in contact with a dress maker/manufacturer in India that agreed to produce my new line of 1920s beaded styles. I like the dresses to be fairly authentic, and I have been told by museum curators that some of my dresses look almost exactly like the ones they have had on display from that time period. However, I also like them to have a modern flair. Most of them I design with the hanging panels or flaps of fabric at the bottom that was characteristic of that day in when the women wanted to be daring and show as much leg as they could get away with, especially while dancing. My dresses tend to be a bit longer and a little more modest. I also love the beaded fringe that creates so much movement and sparkle when a woman walks. My dresses are made for comfort and have the straight, loose style that was popular in the day, however, I design the bead patterns in a way as to make the waist appear smaller. Most of my dresses are made with an attached satin lining with a chiffon layer on top, but I am also going to start producing some on lycra mesh fabric.
Designing for All Sizes
I am constantly thinking of and designing new styles, and of course any style that I currently have can be produced in any color combination that a customer requests. I carry standard sizes of Small to Extra Large and Plus sizes, however, I can also custom make a dress to accommodate people that are in between sizes or need a special fit. I am still a small company but hoping to someday expand. I stay very busy as I am currently the only one who manages and implements every aspect of my company; from designing dresses, working on the website, answering e-mails, photographing dresses, finding suppliers, ordering inventory, packing and sending out my shipments, promoting and marketing, and also running the photo shoots which includes taking some of the pictures and sometimes modeling too! But I love every minute of it and feel very blessed to be able to make run a business I enjoy.
Besides the dresses Kim designs she also has a large selection of Nataya brand dresses on her website. I LOVE Nataya dresses for that early 1900s to 1920s romantic dress look. Check out the, site, say hello to Kim, and support a fabulous vintage loving entrepreneur!