It’s safe to say the past three months have been a bit of a whirlwind for Wilmington fashion boutique entreDonovan.
In January, the shop, which uses 3D scanning to create custom clothes for business women, acquired its own body scanner and bought helpful intellectual property from another 3D fashion company. Then the company hired a new design team in February.
This month has been about putting all of those elements together to make entreDonovan the business founder Linda Farquhar has always envisioned.
First, let’s talk about the body scanner.
Back when entreDonovan was testing its business model in 2013, the boutique had been beta-testing a 3D scanner. Since then, they’ve done plenty of research on different brands and makes. In October, entreDonovan raised more than $25,000 through crowdfunding to purchase one, but Farquhar declined to say which model the company has chosen. Now the scanner is in-store at 222 Delaware Ave.
Then Farquhar bought most of the intellectual property of Tinker Tailor, Inc. The fashion company, also touting customizable clothes, launched in July 2014 but shuttered business the next summer after the inability to secure needed funding. The company put its assets up for auction, and Farquhar said she was excited to snag the IP, particularly the software Tinker Tailor had developed for private-label daywear patterns.
“There were patterns for blouses, dresses, skirts, and a lot of them were modular, so you could pick a certain bodice and certain sleeves and a certain skirt bottom and configure to make a dress,” she said. “That was something already on our drawing board, to have a configurable dress, so this was perfect for us.”
entreDonovan also bought Tinker Tailor’s website and mobile app, which reportedly was a million-dollar investment to build, and entreDonovan is currently figuring out how to adapt it to its unique workflow.
The big idea is for sales people, called wardrobe concierges, to meet with clients, take a woman’s measurements with a 3D body scan, and consult at any location to choose the style and fabrics for selections, Farquhar said. In that consultation, an avatar is built of the woman based on her 3D scan, so the clothing options can be previewed virtually. The key with the Tinker Tailor software is to manipulate it so that adjustments can be made on the avatar before flattening the garment into a 2D pattern to send to be sewn.
Farquhar said entreDonovan already has all of those elements in place for clients, but that the company is working to get full control of the tailoring and pattern-making process, something she expects to establish in a matter of months.
And, to make all of that happen, Farquhar has hired three people as a design team. Fangfang Zhang leads the team, and she has a Ph.D. in 3D garment design from North Carolina State University. She also has a Ph.D. minor in statistics, a master’s in apparel-making and a bachelor’s in fashion design.
Next up is Mariana Girio Aller, who has a bachelor’s degree in fashion design from the State University of Maringa in Brazil, with continuing studies at Moore College of Art and Design.
Finally, there’s Kazim Bayturk, a Turkish master tailor, who has an associate’s degree in textile engineering from the University of Istanbul and who has previously been responsible for men’s and women’s alterations at Nordstrom and Nieman Marcus.
Farquhar said new technology that will make adjustments on avatars will cut down on alterations, but entreDonovan will also be offering tailoring services for non-custom clothing.
Furthermore, Farquhar has decided that because master tailoring is a dying art, she is in talks to train people with Bayturk to grow the industry.
“This is another whole issue, so many master tailors are in their seventies and retiring, and they have no one to hand it off to,” she said. “I think it would be doing a good for the community to help train people who could make a living doing alterations. There’s certainly a demand for it.”