Sunday, April 09, 2006

Brand review: wait, Built By who? Do I know her?

There are quite a few indie designers that I love. I, personally, believe that their lack of corporate financing gives them more creative freedom, since their only obligations to sell are to themselves. The downside, however, is that their lack of corporate financing often means a lack of financing, and clothing by independent designers is difficult to get, and not widely distributed. To be an independent designer with some recognition is to be one hell of a hard worker, not to mention a good designer to boot.

One such designer that meets all above criteria is Wendy Mullen, behind the delightfully chic brand Built By Wendy. I, personally, manically check her website every month or so to see if she has new clothes up, and I must say, she has yet to put out a season that's disappointed me. She's an independent designer in terms of financing, but she's indepedent in her aesthetic, too--although she takes inspiration from everything from other cultures to American pop culture (see her t-shirts), her look is really, really unique. Her spring look is especially great, springy as one would hope, but without pandering to any stereotypes of what spring clothes should look like.

I don't (yet) own any of her spring line, but I do have three tops that are Built By Wendy from other seasons, and every time that I wear any one of them, I get compliments. Random girls that I hardly know will stop me--that's right, stop me, not just say in passing--to exclaim, "Oh wow, you look so cute." One of my good friends who knows my wardrobe took one look at the Wendy cami I was wearing the other day and said "You're wearing my favorite shirt again." I told her that she could borrow it whenever she wants, but I do hope that she treats it well. In other words, 100% of her clothes maintain an above-average performance rating in my wardrobe. They're all flattering, fun, original, and CUTE!

Now, I have no beef with the Gucci Group, or any other corporate fashion house, or the designers that have contracts with them (Marc, I love you no matter what), but Built By Wendy's got something good here, and I really hope she doesn't change. The fashion world needs independent thinkers.


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