Monday, November 2, 2009

CounterCouture preview

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride? That means you probably have tons of bridesmaid dresses gathering dust in the back of your closet that you'll never wear again. But Minneapolis-based eco-friendly clothing company Counter Couture was started to create a solution to that problem in a stylish way. It launches next week online at

[A look by Je Ne Regrette Rien / Image by Werthless Photography]

Here's the concept: The company has gathered a collection of donated dresses, from which different independent designers select to work from. From there, they create a totally new yet eco-friendly look to be sold. (It's like the recent challenge on Project Runway in which designers had to create a new look for a divorcee out of their wedding dress.) I got the scoop from founder Angie Arner on the design process, where the line will be sold, and a preview of the designers involved so far.

Can you tell me about the design process?

The design process is simply this - I have a collection of donated dresses that the designer can pick from. I also have a scrap fabric "bank" (all from previous garments to keep in line with branding) that they have access to when forming the look for the dress. Designers have creative freedom in their execution as long as it fits with the CounterCouture brand image I've created. In other words, it has to be drastic enough of a transformation where it is unrecognizable as a bridesmaid dress. In the following weeks, the designer keeps me updated on how the dress is taking shape and I give my art direction input. Emphasis here is on collaboration in every phase. Once the design is complete to my standards (both visual and technical), I'll get it photographed and prepped for retail.

[A look by Je Ne Regrette Rien / Image by Werthless Photography]

Where will the line be sold?

So far, the MNfashion boutique is the only place they will be sold, only because I want to have more product before selling in multiple places. I plan to have some in local boutiques as well as on

What are your future plans for CounterCouture?

In the short term, we're planning a few events to get the buzz going. By Spring MNfashion Week, I will have a full line to present at an event CounterCouture is hosting at the Harrington Mansion. For the long term, we are looking to grow our creative collective and product offerings, as well as explore licensing opportunities. I am quite excited about what this could potentially do for Minneapolis fashion and beyond.

[A look by Mitsurugi / Image by Werthless Photography]

What designers are involved so far?

As far as the designers, the red/black dress as well as the black/tan dress were designed by Kristy Janigo. She sells at Design Collective and her brand is Je Ne Regrette Rien. The other designer goes by Mitsurugi, she is an up and comer from Texas pursuing her masters degree in Apparel Design from the U this spring. I have full bios on the website which will be launching within two days.

[A look by Mitsurugi / Image by Werthless Photography]

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