Textile career-wise, I’ve often observed myself as a “tweener,” but without the benefit of getting to the fun part promised at the next stage. Let me explain. When I proudly earned my BS in Textiles & Clothing, Fashion Merchandising and started working at the popular Buttons ‘n’ Trims boutique in Denver, I was introduced to very successful men and women who were making a solid living in the fashion fabric industry. Fabric stores were common in nearly every major shopping center across all US cities, and one or two would thrive even in the smallest of towns nationwide. Chain stores were abounding with new concepts in merchandising and market saturation. I was so excited to begin making my mark in the business of my most treasured past time!
Little did I know the industry was about to shift big time. I was just old enough and young enough to get caught in between. Fast forward a couple decades and we are down to maybe one good fashion sewing shop in a region.
The consumer Tweens also have a lot to be proud of and a lot to be missing. We’ve been watching it disappear, and grieving. But we know the joy of shopping for the pieces and the parts, the touching and the imagining , the expertise of fabrics and prices, the skill of cutting and tailoring and stitching and pressing. We know the lingo! sa, wso, rst, when to clip and when to grade, easing and interfacing, understitching and the turn of the cloth. We remember that many “always dreamed of owning a fabric store,” a foreign concept today. We miss the personalities of icon store owners in industry history like Richard Brooks and Eunice Farmer. They are our profiles in courage! Even the term Sewing has been replaced by Quilting and Crafting.
Tweeners know who they are. Passionate followers of Vogue Patterns’ Individualist designers of the past and Sewing Workshop looks of today. Our leaders, Marcy Tilton, Sandra Betzina and Diane Ericson as designers and teachers continue to lead us through the between…..keeping our art alive!
Calling all Tweeners to come together; first for creative support and second to mentor those searching for that joy we know from our unique expertise. The fashion industry needs a wiser consumer of fabrics, quality, and construction. Our culture needs us to serve!
The bad news today is “nobody cares.” And to some, the good news is “nobody cares!” Perhaps, as a society we live more easily now when it comes to clothing ourselves. However, I’m curious what can replace the creative tactile expression of fashion know-how that we tweeners enjoyed with such satisfaction.