Tee Skirt Dresses
Tee Skirt Dresses
We add skirts (made from clean industry left-overs and over-runs) to tee shirts (Tees + Skirts = Tee Skirt Dresses) which are made for the events to AMPLIFY the fun, comfort, and "cool" factor for event tees!
- Background: Women care about fashion while playing sports.
- Issue: Pants are not stylish and skirts are tight.
- Idea: Tee Skirt Dresses add our favorite skirts to tee shirts (by sewing).
- Contribution: Tee Skirt Dresses make women stylish and comfortable while playing sports.
Birth Story of Tee Skirt DressesHow the Tee Skirt Dress came to be
For three years in a row, when I would drive to the beach, which took about three hours, each time I got there I would be sick. I had to call the G.I. Medicine doctor and get on prednisone because I was overheating and my gut was inflamed.
I couldn’t figure out what was going on, because I had stayed hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and not gone off of my special diet (I have Ulcerative Colitis, a condition that causes the gut to react to certain foods and basically get inflammation and irritation and attack itself). Anyway, as I was trying to figure out what had caused the U.C. flare up just by driving to the beach, my mother’s words (from when I was a teen) came to mind. “Mariangela, never wear polyester, it overheats the body.” That was it! I had on the same grab-and-go dress that I wore each time on the drive to the beach! It was a really cute, simple dress from a popular women’s store. It was 100% polyester!
I hurriedly took the off the dress and started feeling better instantly. But then when I looked through my clothing I couldn’t find anything that was made with natural fibers. All of those cute (and expensive!) boutique dresses had blends of polyester or other materials like it.
The only thing I could think of wearing was a tee shirt. But even then, you have to layer on pants or skirts or shorts, with zippers, snaps, elastic waistbands or drawstrings. And so I didn’t know what to do. I basically wore tee shirts and underwear around the house for three days until the idea came to me in my sleep in the middle of the night. I woke up, drew a picture of it on the paper on my nightstand, and went back to sleep. Next morning, I woke up, saw the drawing, and remembered the concept. Add soft skirts to tee shirts to make a cute dress! One which could let my body breathe!
The first one was made using a friend’s sewing machine. She wanted one too. I wore my newly made dress home, happy as could be with the sheer comfort of this new and playful garment. My brother-in-law was visiting. He’s a Southern gentleman who does not throw his words around. He looked at me and said, “cute dress!” I smiled and said, “Thanks. Just made it.” He said, “ I believe you could sell those!” At the time, I was very much enjoying teaching a three generation (grandmother, her daughter, and two grand children) art camp for oil painting classes, kinda just thanked him for the compliments and laughed it off.
But then I saw my neighbor wearing the Tee Skirt Dress I’d made for her, three days in a row walking her dog in the morning. She’s pretty well off so I knew it wasn’t because she had nothing else to wear. Then her 30-year-old daughter wanted one, so I happily made one for her too. And then every time she saw me she went on and on about how she loved it so much, wore it all the time, got compliments on it, and really thought I should take them to market. I made one for her daughter, 11 years old, and she wore it to the pool. All of her friends were asking where they could get one.
After a few weeks of her relentlessly encouraging me, I made a bunch and did a test market.
The first person up to the table at our booth was actually a man! He said he’d like these made for his bar on Martha’s Vineyard.
The second person to my booth that first day was a woman who said she was the “Incidental Baker” who had gotten her line of specialty baked crackers into Whole Foods, and said they would probably love to sell these comfortable, attractive and distinctive dresses, would I like help making connections.
The same day, our first day on the market, a woman came walking up all wet, with her boyfriend. “I’m so glad someone is selling clothing here today, she said, “I got soaking wet from canoeing on the river!”
Meanwhile her boyfriend was looking through the dresses already. “Try this on, try that one too....”.
She chose one, purchased it, then got changed into it.
About 45 minutes later she came running back to my booth. I was pretty sure she was going to have me call for emergency services, saying something like a heart attack or bee sting allergy. “What’s wrong?!”
“The dress is so comfortable I couldn’t barely listen to the music,” she said, “All I kept thinking was get back there and get another one before they close their booth for the day!”
As a creative, it’s the best feeling in the world when someone genuinely appreciates and enjoys what I’ve created. It inspires me to create more! And these dresses do fill a need. So at that point I was kinda hooked.
With a background including retail, at that point I decided to seek patents. I wanted to be sure to do what I could to place my personal stamp on these. I always wanted to work in fashion, and I knew this was my chance.
My chance to tell others. Never give up on your dreams. You never know how or when, but things may happen beyond your control (yep even an un-fun illness), and your opportunity to contribute will hopefully present itself.
Mariangela C. Walker