For many years, I have had trouble finding clothing that fits me properly in the shoulders. This is a common issue for female swimmers, as many of my friends have shared this same problem. I decided to make a clothing collection called "Breathing Room" designed specifically to address this issue. I chose the title "Breathing Room" because the collection focuses on clothing that is comfortable for wearing. Also, breathing is a very important element in swimming, due to the hypoxic nature of the sport and intention required to breathe. Swimmers have to hold their breath during training, but should not have constricting clothing that restricts their breathing. These clothes are made with plenty of room to move and breathe.
In order to find fancy dresses that fit, many have to opt for strapless or sleeveless gowns. I am making this collection to give sleeve options for this target audience. The sleeves are not designed to hide the muscles, but rather to show them in a way that highlights both strength and femininity.
Phase 1: sketches, mood board, and fabric samples
I made a mood board of strong swimmers (target audience), watery imagery (textile inspiration), and images of fancy dresses (target style).
I went to JoAnn's to look at fabric as inspiration. I am looking for fabric that catches light in a way that the fabric changes color when it moves. This is inspired by the way water refracts and reflects light, distorting reflections and changing appearance based on its surrounding environment. I am hoping to use flowy layers of sheer and shiny fabrics for long dresses or skirts. I do not want the fabrics extremely shiny, but I want them to have subtle metallic qualities so they move well in light. For coats, I am looking for heavier, textural fabrics. I am considering either a navy/silvery metallic color palette or a dark teal/green and gold palette.
Phase 2: mock-ups
I made mock-ups with muslin fabric to test the size, shape, and fit before using the more expensive fabric.
Phase 3: final dresses
Here are some of the first dresses that I made for this collection
Phase 4: photo shoot on female swimmers
These dresses were photographed on female swimmers, the target audience of the collection.
Phase 5: expand collection to other styles of clothing (business/professional clothing)
It is also very hard to find business clothing that fits well in the shoulders. When shopping for blazers and button-up shirts, if I find clothing that is big enough to fit my shoulders, it is too baggy elsewhere.