As a Freelance Fashion Designer, I often take on requests from clients to create custom garments. My client may be a bridesmaid in a wedding that is looking for a custom fitted gown to match the wedding party specification. My client may be a clothing size that is not commonly found in the style outfit she may need for an upcoming event. My client may have an article of clothing that she would like re-created into something else completely. All of these are fairly common in my line of work, but once in a while, a client will contact me asking for something completely out of my realm of experience...
"Can you make me a Parrot Costume?"
While studying Fashion Design in college, a professor once told those of us who were hoping to pursue design and creative sewing as a future means of income, to not turn down requests, even if it is something we have never done before. Even if it is something that sounds mundane, or uninteresting. The reason? First, saying no to projects will lead to less people asking. Over time, no one will ask for your participation in projects, because they know you will say no. Secondly, the more you say yes, the more experience you gain, and more opportunities are presented. So, when a referred client called me up asking if I could create a Parrot Costume for her, my response was a firm, "Yes!". Even though I had never before made a costume at that point in my career, let alone a Parrot Costume!
From Concept to Creation...
As a trained Dress-Maker and Fashion Designer, my immediate idea was to create a Parrot Dress, with a caped hood mimicking the Parrot's head and wings. I wanted to approach this project as High Fashion as possible, to stay true to my design aesthetic. I drew out the above conceptual illustration to show my client at our first meeting. I also went to my fabric supplier to obtain fabric swatches and pricing for the materials that I would use to make my sketch a reality.
This photo includes four fabrics that I used to create the Parrot Costume for my client. The Green, Blue, and Yellow textiles were used as feathers, and the Red Velvet was used for the bodice of the dress. I used a Red Cotton fabric as the base of the skirt for more structure, it was lined and completely covered in hand-cut feathers.
I met with my client, with my illustration, fabric swatches, and price estimate in hand. When I presented my idea to her, she was thrilled! She loved the concept that I had come up with. Her only change was the hood in the sketch. My client wanted a Headpiece or Fascinator instead. She was also planning on full professional Special Effect Parrot Make-Up, from local Make-Up Artist, Paula Serrano. I took her measurements, and deposit, then I was off to the sewing work room to get this dress completed!
Progress in the Designer Workroom!
A Photo Shoot with my Client...
After one fitting, and much work, the Parrot Dress, and Headpiece I created was finished! I also created a clutch for my client by creating a velvet pouch that I placed in a hand-held bird cage! The skirt was underlined with layers of Tule to create more volume in the silhouette.
My client had a very specific idea for the completion of her look, and wanted realistic Parrot Special Effect Make-Up to transform herself into as close to an actual Parrot as humanly possible! She hired professional MUA, Paula Serrano to create the Special Effect Make-Up. This was my client's vision. With the help of myself and Mrs. Serrano, her vision was achieved!
After my client was dressed and ready to go, I took her to the local park to take a few photos of the costume! Check out the completed look!
As you can see, my client really enjoyed herself. The project was a success!
As a designer, having a happy client is by far the biggest reward!
If you have a costume idea that you would like to have custom made, contact me! I would love to create more interesting costumes! As always, feel free to contact me for all you Custom Clothing needs!
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Let me know what you think of my take on a Parrot Costume, by leaving me a comment below!
Hello Readers! Welcome to my Blog! I am Roxanne Rodriguez Rangel, a Fashion Designer from Northern California. I love all things Fashion, particularly historical fashion! Join me, as I take you around Northern California, covering fashion events and related topics!