Starkweather is a purposeful brand for uncompromising women
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The Crux has become a staple item for the Starkweather collection, but where did the idea come from?
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.
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...
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.
If you would like to learn more about the Starkweather layering system, click here.
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."
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.
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.
2018/1 Cohort Companies:
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 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.
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.
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 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.
For any Chicagoans who missed our July 20 event, or anyone else curious about what we talked about: enjoy!
It's a wrap!
Thanks to everyone who came out to hear the presentation and panel discussion and ask your great questions. It was a thrilling evening, with new ideas and wild examples coming from all directions. ( Read about it here.) Looking forward to the upcoming events, that promise to expand on this discussion through different lenses of professional and personal experience. Each city has a unique culture, and heritage, and our goal is to reflect that through the panel members and the conversation.
Up next: Boston!
Save the date: November 2, 2017 at the Boston Design Center.
Until then, keep exploring!
connect the dots between technologies & mindsets currently being developed in both fashion & aerospace
Due to the format, this event will be invitation only. There will be a follow up event for general interest that will involve a Q&A with leaders of this converging space. If that's you: Please also register below to get a priority invitation to the upcoming Q&A