custom work

Fashion School feels like it was about a zillion years ago now, but I’m blessed to have some friends on the inside. One of them is Sidney Holloway. I love going out for lattes with Sid. Even though we have almost completely opposing aesthetics (he loves maximalism and artifice – I prefer mimimalism and functionality), we are united in our curiousity about the why and how of fashion – fashion nerd friends. We don’t often agree what makes a good design but we always get along and have a great time talking fashion.

I’m so proud of Sidney – he placed second in a fashion design contest! You can read the coverage on

For the competition, contestants were given a bag of fabric with which they had to create their final piece. Given these limited parameters, the entries were diverse in style. Even though the fabrics are the same, the creative freedom allowed really gives us a chance to see the designers express their personalities.

Sidney designed an appliqued kimono. He also chose the makeup and styling for his model. The geisha-girl is a recurring theme I’ve seen often in Sidney’s work.
Sidney's Kimono

Sidney is interested in creating custom kimonos for clients in the Toronto area. I think every fashion student tries their hand at custom work at least once – for some, it is the beginning of their future businesses. One of those designers who got into fashion through custom work is Paul Hardy, who Sidney interned with. Sidney is a wonderfully genuine, engaging person – I think personality wise he is well cut out for the social nature of custom work. Sidney’s rate for a custom kimono is very reasonable. If you are interested or know someone who is, email me at and I will connect you to Sidney.

I did some custom work when I was in school. Some projects were very successful and others, not so much. People often think that by hiring a student to do their custom design project, they will save money. This type of client often has no understanding of what they are asking for or what the student is capable of achieving. Often, inexperience on behalf of both student and client leads to irregular results at inconsistent prices.

Sometimes a custom project is a great opportunity for student and client. As long as communication is honest, expectations are clearly laid out and written down, and both parties are flexible and reliable – the custom project can be a catalyst for something beautiful and unique. There’s a lot of talented upstarts out there who need chances and challenges – and people with wild ideas who need something unlike anything commercially available who can’t afford to pay professional fees. Definitely a recipe for some wild stuff.

Does anyone have any weird custom project stories?

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4 thoughts on “custom work”

  1. I’ll go first…
    One of my first-ever custom projects, I made a pair of stripper pants with 2-way zippers down the side seams. It was out of this sequinned fabric and it was a near-disaster because I sewed it too small and had to let it out.

    My greatest custom project mistake was to attempt to sew a chiffon blouse. I should have known better than to agree to that.

    One of my proudest creations was a bias silk satin wedding gown – I made a special slip to go under it and the slip strap busted! Luckily after the wedding ceremony… yikes.

    How about your custom work stories?

  2. My weirdest custom job was sewing a one-of-a-kind barbie gown for the convention I just went to. It was one of the most difficult projects I have ever done because trying to get great fit on Barbie is ridiculous. In the end, after hours and hours of beading and resewing, it all worked out great! I was pretty proud as I have never really considered myself a strong sewer.

    On the night of the big gala, there was a auction for Breast Cancer Research, and I was so excited to have my doll auction off for $650! Woohoo…

    ps. I really do not want to sew for Barbie again.

  3. Danielle–do you want another custom job? I’ll give you free rein. You design and sew something that you think will work on me, we’ll talk about it, and we can discuss the price.

    Not joking. I want to see what you come up with, and I want a Danielle Meder original!

    Send me an e-mail if you’re interested, and we’ll chat.

    (P.S. I’m working for now, and it’s all thanks to your brunch!)

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