I got to thinking: why should I be keeping the fun of designing clothes and having them made all to myself? So I am opening it up to you. You submit a design and I will post through the process. I know it would be much more fun if you could have something made for yourself, but sorry - that just isn't possible. You must come to the castle to do that.
You can come to the market to help choose the fabric: type (linen, cotton, wool blend, etc), and color. You can also come with me to the seamstress we choose to use, which will depend on what you design: if you want silk, which is what the dress to the left is made out of, we go to the silk dressmaker, if you want a suit or a more complex dress, we will go to my seamstress Tram at the Ben Thanh Market (at top, I took this picture and pattern to her and she made the exact dress out of material the color in the middle, on top). If you want something simple and don't mind waiting (and if Thuy and Thanh have the material you want so we don't have a Pineapple Lady type of stand-off), we will go next door to Sweet Seamstress. And you'll come to the fitting, and see the adjustments, and learn the pricing.
Just remember, it is a delicate loyalty dance between all of my neighborhood associates, so not all combinations of fabric and seamstresses works. We may have to be discreet. (pictured at right: Nam's family's Persian Blue material, dress made by Sweet Seamstress, Ms. Hao, from a magazine picture).
Most importantly, whoever submits the winning design...a prize will be sent to you directly from the Triple Hot Shower Country of Vietnam's biggest city, Saigon, District #1. We can negotiate a prize, but some ideas I have are 1) a box set of your favorite HBO series (Sopranos, Sex and the City, etc.) or TV Series (30 Rock or The Office) or a variety of music DVD's (Katherine and I know how to collect them) 2) a silk scarf 3) bamboo serving bowls 4) a t-shirt with Vietnam's flag, modeled by my nephews and brother-in-law below, or 5) I can have a sign made for you, like the one K had made for me (The Castle, from last weekend's post), saying whatever you want.
Oh- there is another popular t-shirt that says "Good Morning, Vietnam" with Ho Chi Minh on it, which my brother likes. Those are just some possibilities. (Pictured at left: brown dress bought at The Gap. Purple dress: material bought from Thuy and Thanh, copy dress made by Ms. Hao.)
Here's what you can do:
1) Draw your own original design, scan it or take a digital picture.
2) Find a picture in a magazine, take a digital picture of it.
3) Go shopping with this in mind and bring your camera. Take a picture of something you like. Or perhaps you have a favorite item in your own closet you think I may like...same same. (I haven't been clothes shopping since September, when I learned that was not an option for Amazons like me.)
4) Find something online - like from Gap Online or J Jill Online, etc, and send the link to me.
5) Look at Vogue Patterns online, or McCall's Patterns online. They are easy to find. Link the one you like.
The sky is the limit. I have done all of these things and have gotten near perfect results.
Of course, at the end, I will have Katherine take a picture of me in my new clothes and post it. Only because it would be weird if I didn't.
My email address is email@example.com
The deadline for this first designer contest submission will be a week from today: next Thursday, January 22nd. If I have a lot of submissions, we will vote. If not, then I will continue the fun alone.
I hope it's fun for you, because if it is, we'll do it again.