13 July 08

Trashy Diva now Ripped Off Diva

Trashy Diva is my favorite clothing boutique. It’s unfortunately, for me anyway, in New Orleans so I can’t visit in person very often. But every time I have gone I’ve purchased something. I own a dress, two blouses, and two skirts from here. The clothing is designed in a way that fits me well. The first time I went, it was at the suggestion of Chronic Babe. I normaly abhor clothing shopping because it is stressful, depressing and I often leave with nothing.

The first time I visited the boutique on Magazine St. was just a few days after Andrew and I had gotten married. The week before we’d gotten married I’d gone to no fewer than 5 stores and tried on dozens and dozens of dresses looking to find something I could wear for the wedding. It was depresing, exhausting, and the dress I ended up choosing was okay, but nothing that seemed as special as I was hoping it would be. I’d even pulled on a $600 dress that I loved and adored and could see myself wearing several times and begged and pleaded with the tailor on staff to make it fit me. And when she told me she couldn’t, I came very close to crying and using the dress as a hankie.

So imagine my amazement when I walked into Trashy Diva and grudgingly picked out two dresses and walked into a dressing room. I mean, I was scarred still and convinced that this was going to be another horrible experience. I decided I would do my diligence, try on the two dresses and then leave before I could have a breakdown. But I put on the first dress and decided to take a look at myself from farther away in a full mirror so I walked out of the dressing room Candace Gwinn, the owner and designer, walked in the door looking magni-freaking-fabulous and stopped to look at me admiring myself in the dress and looking shocked. “You should try the next size smaller. It’s too loose around your hips and your waist and if the smaller dress fits it will probably accentuate your bust better, too.” She then called for the sales clerk to get me the same dress in a smaller size. I tried it on, and she was right. The dress fit, and I looked good, great in fact. And that dress is still my favorite. I felt so good, even after plunking down more on a dress than I had ever spent before, that I began looking at the skirts and blouses that were available. And I bought a skirt and a blouse as well!

Clothes in boutiques rarely fit me without alteration, and I’ll rarely decide that a piece of clothing is worth paying to have altered, especially if I know that I could make it myself. But as I stood staring at the blouse and realizing how all the seam finishing created a smooth line at the waist and how the snaps hidden behind the buttons kept embarrassing gaps from appearing, and I realized what high quality the silk was, I was delighted. I asked the sales clerk who designed and made the clothes.

“Oh! Candace designs them and we have several women who do the sewing for us. She’s worked hard to find sewers who are skilled and fast and consistent. The clothes are great aren’t they? I only started working here because I loved her line so much.”

So, imagine my surprise when I read that
one of her wholesale clients
has ripped her off. They took her dress, with all of its details, and copied it overseas and sold it alongside her better-made and more expensive dresses. And when questioned about why, they didn’t deny it.

So Candace, in all of her fabulousness, has decided to only sell her signature piece at her own boutiques and for a limited time you can buy this dress for 50% off, which makes it $34!!. I mean, that’s mass-crap-produced price points, not handmade, by skilled hands, in the USA, price points.

I can’t decide whether I want the Trixie2 dress in red or in white with black polka dots, so I might get both. I’ve tried this dress on in silk in person. And I liked it, but I’ve never worn a halter dress before. I’m not comfortable with the way my back looks so I prefer to keep it covered. But if there is any designer I know who can make me want to get over that bit of self-awareness, its this one. And if I can support a woman and a business and a city that I believe in while doing so, then yes, I think I’ll take both.


  1. DAMN! Well, if the red still had a large, I would have bought one. The fuller skirt hides my hips well. And you’d look super cute in any of them, so get one. :)

    Veronica on Jul 14, 09:48 am

  2. As a consumer and someone who works in retail where we custom build computes, I am offended and outraged for Candace. This is an awful lesson for her to learn. Really, no crafts person should be ripped off so blatantly and unapologicially. That vendor should be ashamed of themselves and shamed publicly. It’s not ok, nor it is right. And it should be illegal if Candace owns the copyright to the dress pattern, no?

    Stacey on Jul 21, 09:59 am

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