The Design Process: The crux

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The Design Process: The crux

The Crux has become a staple item for the Starkweather collection, but where did the idea come from? 

The inspiration

My design process for Starkweather has always started by looking at images of explorers, and rural portraits, where people weren't concerned about fashion – they were concerned primarily with function - yet they still would find ways to add character and identity through their clothes. This manifested in distinctive layering, embellishment, color, pattern, and modification. 

It fascinated me how across many cultures, the chest and neck area are like canvases for decoration. This happens in cold and hot climates, alike. And subconsciously those shapes, centered around the neck and torso, became a focal point of my creative development for Starkweather.

 Kicking Bear // Oglala Sioux

Kicking Bear // Oglala Sioux

 Slick Rick ca 1988

Slick Rick ca 1988

 A turkmen woman of the goklan tribe in jargalan, Bojnord // Nasrollah Kasraian

A turkmen woman of the goklan tribe in jargalan, Bojnord // Nasrollah Kasraian

 ca 1900 // Sarte Woman, Uzbekistan

ca 1900 // Sarte Woman, Uzbekistan

 Dogon Shaman, Mail

Dogon Shaman, Mail

 Norway, Hardangerjoklen, ca 1908. // Anders Beer Wilse

Norway, Hardangerjoklen, ca 1908. // Anders Beer Wilse

How would all of these colorful, textural, unique designs apply to an environment like the one pictured above? It is in the imagination and through design that these cultures can collide...

It seemed natural, after a point, that that part of the outfit should not only take on it's own identity, but that there were real functional benefits to developing it that way...

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Re-imagined as the Crux...in it's purest form

With so many more ideas for the future, it is always a huge challenge to pare an idea down to its simplest form. This is the T-Crux: Starkweather's most essential interpretation of the crux concept. Essential, because it becomes a blank canvas for so many future ideas, and because it represents the core concept of adaptability. On one hand, it offers adaptability for the wearer to make it their own, and on the other hand, it offers adaptability in its own design. 

 Fall I // Nude Cashmere Wool

Fall I // Nude Cashmere Wool

 Fall II // Burnt Ochre Bouclé Wool

Fall II // Burnt Ochre Bouclé Wool

The goal at this juncture, is to raise funds through the kickstarter platform that will allow for an initial production run for Fall/Winter 2018. 

If you would like to learn more about the Kickstarter, click here.

If you would like to learn more about the Starkweather layering system, click here.

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The Crux: upgrade your scarf

Starkweather Outerwear is purposeful outerwear for uncompromising women and men living in cities.

At the gap between activewear function and designer level prices, Starkweather blends style and function to create layering pieces that work for more weather, throughout more of the year.

While Starkweather is an outerwear brand with year-round offerings in the pipeline, we are going to market in Fall 2018 with the Liner, and the Crux, because they will help you get more out of the existing outerwear in your closets. 

By adding these strategic, and versatile layering pieces to your wardrobe, you'll multiply the looks and variety from the clothes you already own. That is value add!

This Kickstarter campaign is the catalyst that will allow us to meet minimum quantities from our suppliers, create inventory that will fulfill the pledge rewards, and provide inventory for sales events leading into the fall and holiday seasons. Our $50,000 goal will cover our materials and manufacturing expenses, shipping and fulfillment, and Kickstarter and credit card fees. Without reaching our $50,000 goal, we will not be able to reach our minimum quantities plus the other associated expenses, and that is why Kickstarter is set up as an all or nothing campaign. Your pledge is not processed until the campaign has been fully funded. And then we get to work making your products!

The pledge amounts for the liner and the crux are based on the actual retail value of the item, so by making a pledge of $395 you are essentially placing a pre-order for a crux that will be delivered this fall. 

The liner is exclusively 25 percent off for the duration of the kickstarter campaign. By pledging $295 or more, you are placing a pre-order for the felt liner. 

It is possible to make a pledge for ANY amount, starting at $1, and each and every pledge makes an impact on the positive outcome of the campaign.

Make your pledge on Kickstarter

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Starkweather at the Lost Labs Showcase

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Starkweather at the Lost Labs Showcase

On Friday, April 13, Starkweather, along with four other Chicago startups, presented to a room of 100+ individuals in an old warehouse building on Goose Island. The event was the culmination of three months of incubation through the first Lost Labs program. Run by Charles Adler, co-founder of Kickstarter and founder of Lost Arts, Lost Labs is an opportunity to "[apply] ambition, to explore the potential of curiosity," for "anyone with a tenacious creative spirit." 

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As part of the first cohort, there was a loose framework for us to structure our goals and a timeline to achieve it. I found myself motivated to challenge myself and reach higher than I had initially outlined. The result for Starkweather was a full-on new business plan and pitch that has been updated to reflect all the lessons learned, all the new resources that are available, and the forecast of where the industry and consumer behavior is going in the future. 

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The capstone event gave me a platform to share those organized thoughts to a group of intelligent, curious professionals who then had an opportunity to come speak with the founder (myself), see the products, try them on, and share their feedback. I walked away inspired with new ideas, and excited to get the product into waiting customers' hands. That excitement will serve me well, as motivation and foundation to overcome the challenges to come. Truth: the hard work begins now.

Writing this on a 30º day in mid-April, I know even as I wait for the warm weather to come, that getting cold-weather product to market for fall 2018 will keep me occupied until the weather turns cold again. 

Over the next several months, I will be getting the word out, taking lots of meetings and copious notes, and building out the resources to make the Fall's launch a catalyst for Starkweather's future success. 

Thank you to Charles and Elizabeth @LostArts, and to the rest of the cohort founders.

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2018/1 Cohort Companies:

CoLab
Founded by Louis Vowell, CoLab is an online collaboration platform that connects artists and alumni from different art universities across the country. CoLab was created to alleviate post-graduation isolation, with the aim of facilitating cross-campus communication and producing collaborative artworks.

Fertile Design
Fertile Design is a biodegradable plastic, partially made of food waste, that is chemically balanced to feed the soil when it is discarded in the ground. This product, which can replace traditional plastics, is the creation of Jessica Gorse.

Fossick
For the artistically inspired, Fossick is a homewares and accessories company with an ethical and sustainable twist. Cate Breasley started the company to a range of uniquely designed, one-off pieces in vibrant colors and patterns that celebrate individuality, creativity, and hidden potential. 

Sojourn Fare
Roman Titus founded Sojourn Fare to make the mushrooms (and their medicinal and culinary potential) more prevalent in the world. The company builds farm-tech software that empowers growers to control, monitor and optimize mushroom cultivation.

Starkweather
Starkweather creates outerwear for urban environments, combining low and high-tech solutions to design products that marry technology, function and aesthetics. Lee Anderson created Starkweather to provide an alternative for people who wish to wear something other than the ubiquitous black puffy jacket all winter, while maintaining warmth and functionality.

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Starkweather Founder Talks Fashion and Space with Chicago Tribune Business

Starkweather founder, Lee Anderson, was featured in this Sunday's Chicago Tribune, discussing the commercial space industry in Chicago. Here are some highlights from the story, reported by the Tribune's Ally Marroti:

 Jose M. Osorio for the Chicago Tribune

Jose M. Osorio for the Chicago Tribune

" Picture people living in outer space, breathing inside helmets, going about their daily activities. What are they wearing? At a cosmic cocktail party, are they drinking champagne? Lee Anderson needed to know.
The Chicago-based fashion designer keeps a sketch pad full of fashion astronauts, as she calls them, in which she explores the idea of what an average person would wear in an otherworldly atmosphere.
It’s the intersection of fashion and space — something the founder of outerwear design company Starkweather has thought about a lot. As the space industry develops, Anderson wants her company to link the creative and scientific sides.
Anderson’s not the only entrepreneur looking toward the stars. From one- to two-person startups to Fortune 500 companies, firms throughout the Chicago area are eyeing outer space as their next market. The city may not end up with a rocket launching pad, for example, but Chicago has a role to play in the uncharted industry, some business leaders say, and companies are eager to start braving the final frontier.
Some have already begun.
Space program veterans Boeing and Caterpillar are continuing work to get their technology into the cosmos. There’s a startup looking to elevate planes into orbit, another company that’s aiming to build infrastructure in space, and at least one local law firm that wants to represent companies like them.
To be sure, the capital-intensive industry is still niche, one expert said, and expectations continue to outpace reality. So far, it has been a playground for billionaires like tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, who recently announced that Virgin Galactic plans to take tourists into space by the end of next year.
But overall, the economy of space isn’t science fiction anymore.
The global space economy totaled $329 billion in 2016, up from $323 billion the year prior, according to a report from the Space Foundation, a Colorado-based advocacy organization. That includes NASA and military space spending, hardware manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting, and other industries.
“There are people interested in space in all of the industries, like myself in fashion,” said Anderson, who also founded FAAR, short for Fashion + Aerospace, an organization focused on education and building a network between the fashion and aerospace industries. “Even if just those people start to become aware of how they might get their foot in the door, we’ll all be better off.” "
 Jose M. Osorio for the Chicago Tribune

Jose M. Osorio for the Chicago Tribune

Anderson’s Starkweather is another example. The fashion company, which sells most of its products through trunk shows and custom orders, focuses on outerwear for urban environments. But Anderson and her New York-based partner’s approach is one that could apply to space-wear design.
“You design for what you want it to look like, then you find the technology and functional components to make it possible,” she said.
A long-term personal goal is designing spacesuits, Anderson said. Hence the sketch pad, full of far-flung musings.
There’s the Blackhawks fan in space, foam finger and all; the cocktail party attendee with a straw leading from her champagne flute up into her spherical helmet; and the fashionista in a gown, her bracelet shining through the protective sheer membrane that envelops her.
“It’s kind of ridiculous to be making these drawings,” Anderson said, sorting through the sketches. “(But) we have no idea what it’s going to be like, so why not?” "
 Page 1 of the business section on Sunday, October 15

Page 1 of the business section on Sunday, October 15

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Research Library: Celebrating Denim

Here are some of the highlights from our August reference library theme: Denim. 

 

If you don't already follow our Instagram account, you can find us @starkweatherouterwear

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