Owning a custom, one-of-a-kind dress is something I’ve always dreamed about. Nay, fantasized about. How extravagant would it be to roll-up to an event, and when someone asks where your outfit is from, you can reply “Oh, it’s custom”. OK maybe I’ve been watching too much Real Housewives (there’s no such thing as too much), but you get the idea. I have a bit of a flair for the dramatics, especially when it comes to fashun. The bolder, the better. I think my Lustful Fashion Pinterest board gives an accurate depiction of my fashion and style tastes. So you could imagine my excitement in sharing that I will be working with Michelle Fite, designer and founder of Fite Fashion (!) on a collaboration.
Michelle and I are teaming up for a three-part series, chronicling the process of purchasing and designing an outfit from her brand Fite Fashion. This first post will discuss the fitting process, the second will delve into Michelle’s design process, and the third and final post will be the grand reveal in March! This is the first time I’ve been involved in a project like this, and I’m pretty darn giddy about it.
Michelle and I first met at Tinto in Rittenhouse over tapas and wine to discuss the outline of the collaboration. We ended up chatting for nearly two hours, learning about each others backgrounds and favorite Philadelphia restaurants and bars. I knew pretty quickly that I’d be having fun with Michelle on this series.
Meet Michelle Fite
For well over a decade, Michelle has been honing her design, patterning and sewing skills to fulfill her dream of launching a clothing line that does not compromise sustainable and ethical practices for design. Her work has been featured in British Vogue and has been seen in Philadelphia fashion shows. Her clothes are custom couture, and every garment sold is made to order in the Northeastern United States, by people who are paid fairly. Fite Fashion sources the most sustainable fabrics available, and focus on fabrics that are produced with clean dyeing techniques and non-exploitative labor. Fite Fashion custom designs range from $250-$1,500, and includes everything from gowns, cocktail dresses and even bodysuits and shorts.
Sustainability and slow fashion are two of the biggest missions behind the designs of Fite Fashion, and everything you see styled on the Fite Fashion website is either vintage, or was made by other sustainable designers. Her commitment to sustainable, body-positive approach to fashion made me all the more excited to work with her.
I mentioned to Michelle that her designs really did speak with me, as they were minimalistic, yet dramatic at the same time, with hints of femininity. A beautiful blending. It’s truly wearable art.
For this collab, Michelle came over to my apartment to begin, and we were soon surrounded in a sea of emerald, shades of magenta and white – her signature colors. She gave me a lesson in fabrics, Pantone colors and dress design (I have a lot too learn). She also took the time to explain sizim in the fashion industry to me, as I confessed to her I hadn’t been feeling the best about my body.
“What does that say to the millions of us who don’t look like models?” Michelle asked me.
She explained to me how important it is to her to have her work worn by people of every size, shape, and color. She also emphasized that her idea of femininity does not conform to the traditional idea. When wearing her designs, one should feel confident, sexy, strong and empowered.
Beginning Your Custom Outfit at Home
Step 1: Know your size
Michelle has a size chart on the website. She recommends starting on size chart on her website when preparing to order their dress. If you don’t know your sizes, Michelle recommends heading to a dry cleaner or tailor, or tuxedo shop, as they’ll all size it. If you have any edits – for example, I’m in between sizes – you can talk through it. Michelle is in the process of setting up a mock up muslin, which will be applied to your purchase. She’ll send you the muslin which you can mark up, and then send back.
“Everyone should measure themselves, it makes online shopping so much for everyone. Plus, return culture is not sustainable. A lot of clothing that gets returned from online sites often ends up in landfills, because they don’t have the capacity or infrastructure to re-sell.”
Step 2: Let’s get personal
You can select the colors and fabric you’d like, and she will send you swatches if you’d like.
Step 3: Wait for your gorgeous custom outfit to arrive from the comfort of your own home.
We ended our meeting with Michelle fitting me for the dress:
I left the question open on my Instagram story as to which color I should pick for the dress. Although a shade of pink was the winner, I’m just a sucker for emerald… 😉
I’m excited for the second part of this series, and if you have any questions about a custom dress, feel free to contact Michelle Fite here. For real, Michelle is an incredibly lovely and talented person, and I’m really excited about this.
Disclaimer: In exchange for this series, I will be receiving a Fite Fashion dress.