Retail Therapy Guest Blogger: Designer Lara Presber says fashion is ‘making it your own’

The National Post, Posted: January 28, 2010, 9:30 AM by Karen Hawthorne

Lara Presber, Calgary architect and fashion designer, begins a two-week guest spot, blogging about her “sustainable” approach to her women’s wear line: designing for a sustained period of use, not a throwaway one-season garment. Her collection is available in stores across Canada and next month at her Flagship Store and Studio space in downtown Calgary.

Lara Presber for National Post

When I first started working in the fashion industry, one of the most exciting parts was participating in fashion shows each season. That was actually how I got started was by participating in regional and national competitions that culminated in final runway shows. It was always incredibly stressful as they were always in other cities which meant organizing from afar and dragging 30-35 pieces across country, but the exposure and exhilaration of having 4-5 minutes that were devoted to seeing my collection come to life is indescribable.

Runway shows are still very exciting, but once I started to realize that this is actually a ‘business’ it really changed my perspective on how and where to allocate funds. A friend of mine who at one time had her own line told me that her partner always said to her after a show “yes, it was a great show, but where’s the financial return on your investment of both time and capital?”. This brings us to a very common point in the fashion industry these days, to show or not to show?

I’ve taken the route of participating in more intimate events where I can show my pieces to a smaller group of people who are my exact target market. This season I’ve done a smaller fashion show at a local wine store, which is nice because I get a chance to talk to everyone and have complete control over what the show looks like (and of course the ability to have a glass of wine!) and then just last week I showed my current collection at a Women’s Networking Spa event for a local law firm.

Typically at a show, there’s a bit of fanfare and they turn the music up loud and the models all file out one by one, but I decided to try something different this time based on one of the most important feedbacks I’ve had from my clients;  many of them are unsure of how to break up their suits and maximizing the versatility of their current wardrobe so I ended choosing pieces from my current collection and showing how to wear the same thing 3 different ways; office, evening and weekend.

Making it your own whether that means deviating from the norm for the designer when it comes to presenting a collection or if you’re an individual taking ownership of the way that we express ourselves though clothes.

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