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meet Amanda (and happy Fashion Revolution Week)

I wanted to take the opportunity during this very special week, also known as Fashion Revolution Week, to tell you more about what goes on behind the scenes at Eli & Barry. What's Fashion Revolution Week, you ask? Well, the movement known as  Fashion Revolution (or Fash Rev) was born after the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza housed five buildings that were manufacturing clothing for major brands. An estimated 1,138 people were killed and many more were injured. The Fashion Revolution movement encourages consumers to ask brands the question, "who made my clothes?" While also sparking dialogue about the ethics of fashion. Eli & Barry would love to participate in this conversation.

So, with all that being said, I'd like to introduce you to Amanda, seamstress extraordinaire. She is the one responsible for sewing most of Eli & Barry's online orders these days. I asked Amanda few questions about her sewing journey. Read on below. 

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Eli & Barry: Where did you learn to sew?

Amanda: My mom taught me at our kitchen table. I was fascinated with the process. In general, I think I love knowing how things are made. I made my first dress from a pattern in 10th grade. I've done every craft since then including ceramics, beading, stained glass, quilting, and crochet, but sewing always felt right for me. And lately, it serves to keep me sane, provides a creative outlet and allows me to give back to myself.

E&B: I know that you make clothes a lot outside of our work together! What is your favorite thing about clothing making?

A: For me, sewing is the perfect blend of art and science, utility and magic. It requires both sides of the brain and challenges me to be in the moment, sometimes to just watch my hands do their work. I love that it's practical; to use something I've made is deeply fulfilling. Also, garment sewing is my favorite and only post-zombie apocalypse survival skill. 

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E&B: Is there a garment you’re striving to make one day? A sewing pipe dream?

A: My next set of goals involve outerwear (anorak, trench, jean jacket, wool coat). Maybe I'll tackle one of them this fall? I sewed my first pair of jeans recently and I'm still riding that high!

E&B: What do you do when you’re not working?

A: I have three young kiddos who keep me quite busy, but my favorite ways to relax include sewing (of course!), hiking, tending my garden, playing in creeks, weekend thrifting, dog snuggles and porch sitting. 

E&B: Do you have specific inspiration you look to when creating clothing for yourself? Other clothing makers in the community or brands you love? How do you choose what to make?

A: I'm inspired very much by indie sewing pattern designers including True Bias, Grainline Studio, Hey June Handmade and Closet Case Patterns. I try to do a good bit of seasonal planning, as well, to keep things as cohesive and intentional as possible. Learning what I like and what I'll wear has been a long process.

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Be sure to follow along on Amanda's self-made wardrobe journey on her instagram, @ac_makes. Also, follow the Fashion Revolution movement here. I'll be posting more Fashion Revolution related content this week on my Instagram

a shift

I don't know about you all, but my own personal wardrobe is pretty season-less. Meaning, most of what I have in my closet is worn year-round. I tend to layer things up in the winter and keep things linen-filled in the summer. Realizing this about my own wardrobe has had me thinking about a change I want to make with Eli & Barry. I will no longer be offering seasonal collections. I want the pieces that I've worked so hard on, the pieces that I wear deep in winter with a hand-knit sweater or alone in summer, to stay. I don't want to let styles go that are working just for the sake of adding something new and "exciting" to the shop. I want Eli & Barry to exist much like an old friend: there for you consistently no matter what stage of life you're in. 

But that doesn't mean that things won't continue to evolve! I have a launch planned in the next three weeks that will include a few things: current styles in new fabrics, returning styles and a few new styles. Moving forward, I'm looking to add tighter collections of 2-3 pieces when the time is right. That might be as a season transitions or it might be when a piece has been perfected and is ready to be out in the world.

There's a couple of reasons for this change. For one, I'm just one person. And while I have help with sewing online orders these days, I'm still the only one in charge of moving this business forward. I feel like it's a real stretch for me emotionally and physically to push myself to keep up with the traditional fashion calendar. A recent overuse injury in my right wrist has further validated this choice. I also feel like this will promote a slower model of consumption. Meaning you don't have to rush to buy something in case it goes away, but you can really take your time before you make a purchase. Less noise, less clutter. 

Let me know what you guys think and thank you for your love and support! 

dress 1, a style I had available last spring, will be coming back in an organic linen cotton

dress 1, a style I had available last spring, will be coming back in an organic linen cotton