Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a trunk show that Hilary hosted at Arthur & Daughter’s! (If you aren’t familiar with her yet, she is the mastermind behind the amazing plexi/brass cuff belt-seen here and here.)
These trunk shows that Hilary hosts are hosted by some pretty fabulous local or Made in the USA designers- all of which she carries in her store! Rachel Godwin, the designer behind the line Imbue (pronounced im-byoo) was able to attend her trunk show, where she featured her most recent collection. It was such a pleasure to chat with her, as she is so down to earth and kind! Plus, I was able to snatch up one of her maxi dresses– now if the weather were just nice enough to actually wear it!
What I love about Imbue, is that they provide everyday wear to career wear for women. The best part is every single piece is machine washable (amen to not having to make a trip to the dry cleaner), and 100% of their collection is produced in the USA! I love being able to support anything Made in the USA. Plus, I don’t have the time or the money to get all of my clothes dry cleaned. As a mommy of two, it is so much easier to be able to toss all of my clothes in the washer!
I am always intrigued by these local designers, as to how they made it, how they got their start, where they got their start, and what sort of gave them the push to start! Rachel was kind enough to take some time out of her busy production schedule to answer a few of my questions! Take note, ladies- any of you out there who have the dream of starting your own line could learn some tips from her!
Is this something you have always wanted to do?
I had no idea what I wanted to do. I sewed a lot in 6th grade (she made a tote bag in home economics-lucky her….I got to make a pig pillow!) then moved onto pajama pants. It was my mom who encouraged me to make it a profession!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I do research to see what women are wearing. I like to have basic, classic pieces. I am also inspired by fabric, which is what we were told not to do in school! I base a sketch off of fabric I like then build off of each sketch to make a collection!
Why ‘machine wash’ items only in your collections?
When I moved to New York City (to work in the bridal industry) I needed a professional wardrobe, but I couldn’t afford nice, dry clean only clothes. I noticed there was a need for affordable, timeless, classic pieces that could be machine washable. There was a niche that needed to be met! I think it is an added bonus to ourselves that we are machine washable, but we are more than just that though! I also like to wash everything first to make sure it is machine washable!
What is the process like from start to finish?
I design, then source and work with a pattern maker, followed by fittings with models, and then send out samples with sales reps to boutiques and stores!
What I loved about Rachel was how easy she was to talk to. She was honest, she was open, and I personally learned a lot about her side of the fashion industry! I love that she applies what she learned in school, as well as what she learned working in the bridal industry in NYC to her own company. What is also refreshing is that she realizes that what worked last season may not work this season. She recognizes a need or a niche, and she markets herself and her designs to that. She attributes her success to the old fashioned ‘pounding the pavement.’
I also think its kind of cool how she goes against the grain, so to speak, when designing her clothes. I think it is important to focus on what works best for you, and Rachel seems to do just that! Being a new Mommy herself, she knows what women want and what women look for in their clothes, affordability, classic pieces that can be carried from year to year, and convenience!