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An Interview with Hackwith Design House

(photo credit: Hackwith Design House)

I am so excited to bring you Plus One Woman’s first interview with a fashion line! Founded by Lisa Hackwith in 2013, Hackwith Design House is a leader in minimalist design and sustainable fashion. Best of all, they carry plus sizes!!!

Every piece is a limited edition, handmade at their studio in Minneapolis. I love their high-quality fabrics and durable wear. Each item really is a wearable work of art.

Enjoy the following interview with Erin Husted, their Director of Operations!

  1. What is your definition of slow fashion?

Slow fashion is about creating pieces that are meant to last and sustainable. At Hackwith Design House, we strive to use natural and sustainable fabrics as much as possible, and we make every single piece in our Minnesota studio. You can read about our whole team on our website, and you’ll know that one of those women made the clothing you buy from us.

  1. Many of us are on a budget but would love to embrace slow fashion. What would you suggest as one or two key pieces she should consider investing in for her capsule wardrobe?

We believe that women are as diverse as their skills, talents, and accomplishments, so what I might want as a key piece will be different than what someone else might want. But I’ll give my two cents, anyway J. Any piece from our HDH Basics line (which is sized through XL right now) is a great first start to a capsule wardrobe. We also have a beautiful Trench Coat that will work with anyone’s closet, and it is available in HDH Plus.

  1. What was the catalyst for launching HDH Plus?

Lisa and I both have friends who consider themselves plus-sized, and they are beautiful, fashionable women. It didn’t make sense to us that there weren’t more lines catering to these accomplished women who wanted to buy sustainable, well-designed clothes. As soon as we had room in our budget, we decided to launch HDH Plus. We hope to be able to expand the line over time as our budget allows.

Carmakorma: A Review of a Danish Plus-Size Retailer

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Plus-size shopping. Blech.

If you’re not confined to Lane Bryant, Avenue, Torrid, or the hidden plus-size section of major department stores, you have to go online to find gems that you want to wear. (Please note I am not knocking the above-mentioned retailers, but let’s face it…our straight-sized sisters have it a lot easier!).

Being your crash-test dummy, sit back, relax, and let me tell you the story of one e-tailer I found and my opinions of their clothes.

I was reading a recent article of Glamour magazine online. It’s not a magazine I habitually read, but it was really well done article entitled “Finally, There’s Good Fashion for Everyone! Here’s How to Master Plus-Size Style.” I read about a Danish retailer named Carmakoma, who the article called, “cool, of-the-moment pieces.”

I was game to try. After all, I am a sucker for all things European and I wanted to try a new brand. Carmakoma brands itself as “Luxury Fashion for Curvy Women.” Armed with a 15% coupon for signing up for their mailing list, I ordered two black-and-white tops for about $120, which included taxes. They offer free shipping and handling from Denmark for orders over $100.

I was pleasantly surprised that the shirts got here in less than a week from Denmark. I wish I could say I was just as excited about the shirts.

The first was their Gemma top. I am looking for a summer-weight Breton t-shirt, and the website branded it as “…a summer top in a soft and heavy jersey fabric. The fabric is very flattering because it shows the curves, but without revealing too much. The top has a ‘tight fit’, without being uncomfortable. The short sleeves are flattering and the top can be styled in many ways…”

Well, here it is:

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Unfortunately, this top did not live up to the stellar write-up. I did like the color and the interesting way the material met at the neckline for a twist on a classic silhouette. However:

  • The fabric is 87% viscose, 10% polyester and 3% elastane. It was hot, heavy, and it clung mercilessly to my spare tire.
  • I think the worst thing about it is that it is unforgivingly boxy. I can’t stand boxy clothes, and there is no way I would feel confident wearing it. So up on eBay it goes.

Next shirt was called their Avi top, which is, “…a flattering sleeveless top featuring a V-neck at front and back, and a button closure along back. The top has vertical stripes. Its a soft fabric with a little bit of stretch and a perfect top for springtime use under a blazer.”

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I liked this one better. It had dart seams that ran across the bust for a more tailored look but it didn’t cling. The vertical stripes were very cute and I loved the cream color. However:

  • I didn’t like the 92% polyester, 8% elastane material. It was a heavier, stretchier, and cheaper version of a crêpe de chine.
  • The material is doubled up over the neckline and it doesn’t sit very well. I kept having to adjust it to make it sit flat.
  • The neckline was too plunging and the armholes too low to wear without a cami.
  • I know buttons on the back are “in” right now, but it just looked weird on this shirt.

So, it’s a nice enough top, but I don’t adore it enough to keep. Up on eBay this goes, too. Why eBay? Because the returns form is in Danish, I am not paying to ship them back to Denmark, and there are a lot of horror stories I read on their Facebook page about trying to get refunds or exchanges from America and Canada. At least on eBay I can recoup a little of the money I spent.

I don’t think I will buy from Carmakoma again. They do have nice things, fast shipping, and the prices are mid-range. But the bottom line is that they are simply not my taste. The material is too heavy, the clothes sit funny on me, and I wasn’t impressed enough to want to make their items part of my capsule wardrobe.

Have you ever ordered from a new brand and been disappointed? Comment below and share your story!

8 Key Pieces for Your Spring Capsule Wardrobe

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WINTER IS OVER. I’m done scraping my windshield, I can actually turn off the damn heat, shaving above the knee is a reality, and I can finally open the windows to let some fresh air in!

With the change of season goes a change of clothes. Bulky sweaters, knits, jackets, and boots give way to t-shirts, pastels, shorter skirts, and sandals.

It’s high time to go through your closet and rotate in clothes for the warmer weather and longer days. As you go through your closet and get rid of old items that either don’t fit or you no longer love, think about what you can do to cultivate a capsule wardrobe and keep only the pieces you really, really love.

I’ve opened my closet doors to give you a sneak peak of what I am rocking this spring to inspire you to examine what would work best for you.

Keep in mind I work full-time in an office, and what I like may not be your style. Feel free to use this as a guideline or template as you decide what you will wear this spring:

  1. Two dresses. I have two dresses for spring—one is all black and the other is this delicious Eliza J shift dress I purchased from Nordstrom’s.

Shift

  1. Skinny jeans. I have worn everything from mom jeans to flares and everything in-between. Nothing fits me so well as my Silver Suki skinny jeans. The 2% stretch is just enough. And being apple-shaped, it sits on my stomach well while showing off my comparably thinner legs.
  1. Two pairs of trousers. I have one pair of long black trousers and a pair of navy cropped pants to wear at work. My blouses and the Breton shirt are neutral enough they look great with both pairs of trousers.
  1. Two pencil skirts. I confess to having no less than four pencil skirts because I like the way I look in them, but for the spring, I prefer my grey and khaki-colored ones.
  1. A blazer. I am utterly besotted with this piece I picked up at Lane Bryant in February. It will be light enough to carry me through June and a colorful cami underneath just makes it pop.

Blazer

  1. A Breton nautical t-shirt. These are fun shirts, usually cream-colored with navy or black stripes and a bateau neckline. They are an iconic piece to most Frenchwomen’s wardrobes. They can be worn under a blazer or paired with jeans for the weekend. I dare you to find a chic-er, more versatile top for your wardrobe.
  1. Two blouses. One of my spring blouses is from Igigi, which is a favorite label of mine for both dresses and tops. After years of searching for The Perfect White Button-down Blouse, I actually found it at CJ Banks, of all places! I just love it.

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  1. Two light cardigans. The ones I am rocking this spring are both from Lane Bryant. I usually wear camis underneath, but I also do wear them with t-shirts.

Of course there are other things I have that I rotate into my capsule wardrobe: camisoles (I have a serious cami addiction), t-shirts, colorful flats, and scarves.

Even if you don’t buy into the idea of a capsule wardrobe, it is definitely empowering to go through your wardrobe and take stock of what you own. If you can edit your wardrobe to a few key pieces that you love, I guarantee you will never play the “I have nothing to wear” game this spring.

What’s in your closet this spring? Have you purchased anything new this year? Let me know by commenting below!

Title image credit: Aussiegall @ Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lots_of_Blossoms_(6021502431).jpg.