Update on the Riding Jacket

Dear wonderful supporter of our made to measure womenswear campaign,

I am writing (at long last) with an update on the made to measure Riding Jacket testing.

A recap of where we’ve been over so many months together…

Over the past several years of building an apparel line I’ve become passionate about three problems: 1) The sizing system we have does not work for the majority of women and contributes to negative feelings about our bodies. 2) There is huge waste in current apparel production and a disregard for people and the resources involved in producing apparel. 3) Nearly 1 million apparel and textile jobs were sent over seas over the past two decades. There are many U.S. communities that need jobs. A quality sewing job provides a great way to make a living in these communities.

So I thought, why not make clothing to measure for women, use some technology to make it more efficient, and to allow us to support U.S. sewing jobs where they are needed? I did research and talked with a bunch of manufactures and apparel experts. I identified partners in the Southeast, the region most affected by the loss of apparel jobs.  

In the Fall of 2017 you generously donated to our crowd-funding platform iFundWomen to begin testing a U.S.-based production model to custom make a Riding Jacket to individual women’s measurements using digital pattern adaptation and computerized cutting to achieve the sort of efficiencies that would allow us to pay fair wages for quality, U.S.-based sewing.

We made Riding Jackets for 5 women with completely different measurement profiles to test out our production process. The first made to measure versions had a lot of fit problems. The group that had been adapting the pattern to individual measurements updated their pattern adaptation algorithm and made an additional garment to see if they could do a better job altering the pattern to women’s measurements. Though it was much better, it was not good enough to proceed with making the Riding Jacket for clients given our emphasis on quality. If we are going to get you to invest in a blazer that you will hold onto for life, it has to fit well.

Though this is disappointing I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to try this out, and learn what it will take to make it a success the next time. Your generous support to help me test out a solution to this problem, means the world to me.

For those of you who donated because you really wanted a Riding Jacket, I want to be honest here and let you know that it could be quite a while before we are able to make the Riding Jacket to measure. I now know first-hand that this work will require full-time, in-house assistance with the pattern adaptation piece. Until I have the right partner in place for this, we will have to pause with the made-to-measure work. It is, however, achievable. Though we seemed to have learned every lesson the hard way we are committed to the dream of making women’s clothing to measure and using it to bring jobs to a community that needs them. The time for this solution has well past arrived, yet it still may take years to get the right partners in place to make it a success.

I will be continuing with the Weekly Letter because even though our goal is much further out, I am committed to sharing the process and hopefully inspiring a woman or two to follow through with their dreams no matter how long or difficult the path may be. I plan to add more interviews with inspiring women over the coming months so stay tuned!

If you would like to subscribe to the Weekly Letter and have not done so already, you can do so here.

Or you can follow the above link to select an option to sign up to be contacted ONLY when we are ready to take orders for the Riding Jacket.

Lastly, the postcards are the only remaining gifts left to ship so please email me at reidmillerapparel@gmail.com if you ordered a t-shirt or bandana and did not get one.

Thank you very much for your support and believing in our work. In time we will get there, it will just require a lot more patience, continued diligence, cooperation and faith.

I hope you have a lovely last couple of weeks of summer.

Sincerely,

Reid