Dimepiece returns with their newest collection for Spring ’11 entitled “Save No Prayer” which we recently dropped last month. Founders Ashley Jones and Laura Fama shared the inner dynamics of their growing business as well as the inspirations drawn from their most recent travels throughout cities in Europe and Tokyo. Infused with dramatic undertone of gothic rapture and street style, the new collection takes a paradoxical journey between polar opposites- light and dark, good and evil. Take a read of what these two ladies had to say and what they have in store next.
Since launching Dimepiece in 2007, your label has gone through a natural progression. Your early works featured luxury street wear with distinct graphic tees and separates that built a cult following among fashionistas as well as worn by some of todays most notable celebrity clientele such as Chole Sevigny, Katy Perry, Fergie, & Cassie. What do you feel was the initial catalyst that drew people to your brand, and how do you continue to maintain your unique independence?
Ashley: I think the energy of our brand was the initial catalyst. People (especially young women) saw the lifestyle we were portraying through our garments; they related to what we were representing and were drawn to it. Each season we have a theme of women and power, and how the two interconnect. It’s a strong message but we aren’t too serious about it. We keep it simple and fun, I think people are drawn to that aesthetic. We remain a brand that is one-hundred percent independent and domestically made in Los Angeles. There is a value to this that we hope our consumers and retailers do not forget or overlook. There is a stronger statement made here: there is more time, more effort and muscle put forth with this method of creation and it’s important to us to remain running business this way.
Laura: I think we stay true to ourselves, Los Angeles and the overall culture here. I think people can relate to our music tastes and fashion tastes, beliefs, and overall style. It’s what initially sparked the fuel to the fire for DimePiece and we hope our customers can grow with us. We have a vision for our brand and a unique flavor we offer organically to our consumers, I think they can see our vision.
Your new Spring 2011 collection entitled “Save No Prayer” showcases a more extensive array of designs, textiles, and religious connotations which also display an underlying theme of sexual innocence vs. tainted darkness. When we take a look at your look book, we can’t help but to think of Madonna (a la “Like A Prayer” era) and a bit of goth undertones. How did the title name come about, and what were the inspirations behind this collection?
Ashley: This season is about the world of polarity. Light and dark, maturity and innocence, pleasure and pain. With that concept in mind, we asked ourselves, what would a collection of these conflicting components look like? The result of that became Save No Prayer. We wanted to bring to light a darker side of the aesthetic fence and convey concepts that reflect the empowerment of women in a deliberately darker, tainted manner. We had a particular and uncompromising vision this season of translating a woman who is aggressive, yet feminine, angelic yet full of sin.
Laura: We took many of our inspirations from traveling through Europe and Japan this year. Ashley and I had the opportunity to travel to Rome, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo as well as other inspirational cities; we pulled a lot of the colors schemes and silhouettes from traveling through these different cities. Visiting numerous gaudy landmarks and cathedrals I think helped inspire us for the goth-like undertones. We checked out the styles and trends of the locals and took a lot of notes and images. Then we decided to include some of the inspirations in our Spring 2011 collection. We also added in our staple ‘pop theme’ graphics and motifs to the accessories and tees. But the overall look for Spring 11’ was a on a more focused & strong DimePiece woman.
How far in advance do you generally begin creating your seasonal collections such as “Save No Prayer”? Do you have a special team process that you like to use, such as maintaining an inspiration board of ideas or use of color swatches? How did you go about editing then formulating them into a cohesive collection?
Ashley: This process is by far the most time consuming thing we do in our brand. We’ll start it anywhere from 6 months to a year prior. First, we’ll begin with a board of everything and anything that we think is cool, fashion-forward, funny, aesthetically pleasing, powerful, etc. After a little while (actually a long while) we edit our selections down piece by piece until we feel that we’ve created our season’s collection with a cohesive style and message. Once we feel satisfied with the future season’s styles, we’ll begin sampling. Even during sampling though, there are styles that don’t come out the way we envisioned, or we change our mind about something. If that happens we’ll cancel the style and create something we feel is stronger…until we’re completely satisfied with everything.
Laura: We love to pull our color stories from vintage 90’s magazines, graphic design books from the L.A. library, vintage photo collections and tons of random places. We like to tear images and trim ideas from things we pick up or sampling fabrics from our local garment district. Prototyping a garment is really the longest process when designing the collection. Then we chose the styles we love the most and cut and trim down the collection to achieve our overall looks. A lot of arguing and pushing of individual ideas come out of our DimePiece office but always ends up a positive creative thought process with the team.
“Save No Prayer” continues the Dimepiece tradition providing women with effortless chic looks that are versatile from day to night with a quick accessory or shoe change! Some of our favorite must have pieces include the signature Mr. Mademe Button Up available in both lace and fringe, as well as the Aggy Asseymetrical Split Dress. How important is it for you to provide options like this to your clients? How close do your designs mirror your own individual style?
Ashley: People want options, so it’s important that we offer an array of styles to choose from each season. I feel that our current collection mirrors our personal styles more strongly than any previous season. We’ve felt more recently that we want to show people who WE are, but still give the consumer what they want. This season is a balancing act of the two.
Laura: Our clients are an array of the casual younger dressed woman who likes to throw on a basic tee, to a woman who is a flashier fashionista who wants to make a statement. I think our garments totally reflect our lifestyle here in L.A. It never gets too cold during the winter so DimePiece reflects our light weight, laid back lifestyle. For example you can wear our Aggy Asseymetrical Split Dress to an art opening or fashion show and look effortlessly stylish. So over the past three and a half years we’ve realized whom we cater to and want to offer simpler items to other show-stopping garments & accessories (Bitches be trippin’ collar and the X-ray Mickey silk skirt).
On a more serious note, with the economic crunch that the industry has felt this past year, how has this affected the way that you choose to market your brand and work with retailers?
Ashley: We’ve had to be more forth-right and market harder, sell harder. Business is business. That’s kind of the attitude we have to have these days. My heart goes out to our retailers, many of our accounts have had to close their doors due to the recession. A lot of them we’ve become close with, gotten to know them and how hard they tried to remain afloat in this economy. Overall we’ve had to just try even harder than before, make more sales, market our brand through as many avenues as possible.
Laura: The economy has definitely changed the whole game of the fashion industry. We’ve decided to focus more on online sales and viral marketing through our fashion films, advertisements, and a more helpful customer service for the brand. I think with tough times comes new and refreshing ideas and ingenious ways to deal with the recession. I see people creating more artistic ways of expressing themselves in the fashion industry, like us. But still, we’re continually grinding, grinding, grinding.
Lastly, what trends do you forecast for the future and what type of direction will you be taking with Dimepiece for 2011? We can’t wait to see what you have planned next!
Ashley: I see fashion being more free and expressive. I hope to see brands offering more creative styles to the masses. Fashion has been really cookie-cutter and trendy the past few years and I can see it transforming into a more self-expressional phase with less creative restriction. I hope it gets to a place where I can walk down the street and see a person’s personal style. Fashion is a form of self-expression, you’re letting the world know a little of who you are without saying a word, as so to see people expressing themselves more through their dress is awesome. For the future I want to just focus on growth, with what we offer the public and in sales. I want to take it to a level where everyone knows who we are, what we are about and see value in what we’re doing…without question.
Laura: DimePiece will be offering more items and accessories to the line, offering a wider arrangement for our customers. We’re planning our Holiday 2011 collection and look book story, plus we will be releasing a range of fashion films with music artists like Rye Rye (Neet Records/Interscope Records) & Katerina Graham (actress on the CW). We’ll also be focusing on fashion/art events, DimePiece pop-up shops around the country, and exciting trunk shows. Definitely more exclusive music mixes that we hope to develop into a DimePiece podcast on Itunes. The future is bright!
Thank you ladies! To get your hands on this must-have collection be sure to visit the Dimpiece shop online.