Ever wonder how great clothing brands get beautiful garments into your closet? The actual process of turning an idea into a tangible, tailored, just-for-you frock you’ll fall for?
Longtime Middy N’ Me fans know what makes this couture brand so fun and special (unique and original fabrics! Custom, hand-cut patterns!). But that output would be nothing without the input of company founder and designer Kimberly Barratt…who since the inception of this brand has been a one-woman show.
“I get inspired by the craziest things. It’s true!” says Kim, who’s responsible for every item in the brand she launched in 2011. From the simplicity of a bowl of citrus fruit on someone’s gorgeous kitchen isle (hello Lemon Tunic!) to a wallpaper she thinks would look better as a dress than in a dining room, if a color or design resonates with Kim, she believes it’ll tickle her beloved customers.
“The Pantone® color of the year influences me. What’s trending in the art world influences me. I keep folders on my laptop that are just bursting with photos and screenshots…literally, pictures and pictures of pictures for inspo,” adds Kim. “And that’s how design works. If you’re enough of a sponge, the ideas come faster than you’re able to design them. But what drives everything I create for Middy is the answer to one question: Will my customers be moved? Is it elegant enough, playful enough and special enough for them to want it in their closet?”
Using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for her designing, when finished, Kim emails a digital file to her fabric maker. “Truth? I have an innate ability, in my head, to picture exactly what I want an item or outfit to look like,” she says humbly…but she still orders a few sample yards to prove to herself that her vision looks just as good in person.
(Spoiler: It always does.)
Next? Building a new corner of the brand. “If I’m designing new skirts, I always do a coordinating shirt,” says Kim, “because while we have staples like black tops and pretty much every item in our White Collection—things that go with everything—I like making sure each skirt has an exact matching top for a full-outfit effect. Wearing coordinating Middy N’ Me desings head-to-toe can be a real show stopper!” She sends her pattern ideas to her head seamstress in the South Carolina factory; fresh patterns are cut by hand; and items go into production.
It takes about the same amount of time for Kim to get her samples as it does for you to get your custom orders…and when Kim’s new designs land at her door, “I’m just like any other woman who’s opening up a box of pretty clothes,” she says. “It’s almost like I’m detached from the fact that I was the one who actually designed them.” She presses them to perfection, dresses her mannequins and then the fun begins: Styling the photoshoot and working with Middy’s beautiful and talented models.
“They make it all look so pretty,” says Kim. “Choosing a location, a theme, who will wear what, etcetera….It’s all part of what makes each shoot so special.”
With a Facebook following north of 20,000 and a growing Instagram audience, fans have embraced Kim’s way with a lens. With her photos laid out at MiddyNMe.com; amid our social media feeds; and flashed across the eblasts we send to your inboxes across the land, from inception to creation, Kim has her hand in every nook and cranny of bringing you new additions to her American, couture, made-to-order brand.
With Kim’s ability to translate the beauty in her world from eye to fabric, you never know where her next great collection will come from. (Isn’t that exciting?!) Wanna keep on top of all-things Middy? Sign up for our eblasts right here from the blog or over at MiddyNMe.com.
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