MULTI-TALENTED ANDREA SCHEWE
PART XVI / CONTINUED
Goose Mother: Halloween is over and done with for another year, yet costume sales continue all year long.
Andrea Schewe: I must tell you that I never thought much about Halloween having trends. In my mind you could be a witch or a ballerina or a hobo. When I started making patterns in the 1980s, it seemed the choices of costumes were pretty similar to the ones I had as a kid.
But when you look past those traditional Halloween themes, things get interesting. The latest movie or television show has always been a source of inspiration. And, ever since movies were put on video tape, a movie has an infinite life, especially movies that are one of a series such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.
Lord of the Rings was the first of those movies that I made two “looks like” patterns in 2001. One design was merely a variation on capes that could be used for a variety of characters (Simplicity 9887). There was also a dress pattern that utilizes the basic shape for many of the dresses in this particular movie (Simplicity 9891). The cape is a very versatile pattern and is still in the catalog ten years later.
Goose Mother: That’s actually a very good run for a pattern!
Andrea Schewe: I refer to these specific patterns as “looks like” patterns because they are my version of movie costumes. I want them to be easy to make, comfortable to wear, but still clearly recognizable.
Since the Lord of the Rings pattern had done well and we knew the second movie of the three-part Star Wars movies was in the works, I made a very simple pattern for a Jedi Knight and cape (Simplicity 5840) and a pattern of dresses (Simplicity 5843) in 2002. This particular cape pattern also is still in the catalog.
The following year when the next Lord of the Rings movie came out, I made two more elaborate patterns; one for men and one for women. (Simplicity 4942 and 4940). Both of these were used for the single pattern competition at the Costume Con I attended in Utah in 2005. (See part XI of this blog published in September)
So, we were on a roll! Another hot new movie was coming out; Pirates of the Caribbean. I was learning how to find preview photos on the internet and I made a men’s 18th century suit pattern with a good pirate variation. The art department did a great job with the photography and this pattern is still in the catalog. (Simplicity 4923) Shortly thereafter,I made an 18th century ladies dress pattern with one view that looked like one of the dresses from the movie. (Simplicity 4092)
Movie patterns were doing great, so when the last of Star Wars movies debuted, Simplicity issued three patterns with very specific costumes. (Simplicity 4443, 4433, and 4450) These were instantly popular, but had a short life. The movie studio saw them and felt they were too similar to the actual costumes so Simplicity was obliged to remove them from the catalog … rats!
We still keep our eyes on the movies, but there are other trends that drive people’s choice of dress up costume. The people at Simplicity are aware that a large proportion of their customers are religious and, in all likelihood, do not wish to wear costumes that are too revealing. In light of this, a few years ago I designed a set of glamorous, long dress costumes for misses and girls which are more conservative. (Simplicity 2864 and 2861)
Then, swinging the totally opposite way, we noticed on all the ready-to-wear costume sites, many of the best sellers were REALLY skimpy, almost indecent really, but the customer is always right … right?? So, two years ago I designed some sexy, sexy costumes. (Simplicity 2072 and 2067)
Betsy Burger noticed also that tutus, made by tying hundreds of strips of tulle to an elastic waist band, were all over the internet, so I designed a girls’ pattern that included a simple dress to wear the tutu over and a misses’ pattern that had a tutu for dogs! (Simplicity 2071 and 2074)
Goose Mother: Amazing! I would assume that you are in the catbird seat for observing trends at their very beginnings.
Andrea Schewe: Sometimes. I’ve only been discussing trends that I have worked on. Simplicity has designers who work on Goth styles (Simplicity 2757 and 2777) and Steam Punk has become very popular and trendy. (Simplicity 1819 and 2172)
However, I do have four movie influenced patterns out this year; Simplicity 1728, 1737, 1771 and 1773. Can you figure out what movies these are?
It’s difficult to stay on top of the popular trends as they change so quickly and Simplicity must work six months to a year ahead. Often, I begin making Halloween costumes in November with the majority of the work completed somewhere between January through March. The projects need to be completed by then in order to appear in the Fall catalogues that will come out in the Summer.
Goose Mother: Virtually, you’re a year ahead of us. Can you give us any insight on what we might be looking at for the year ahead?
Andrea Schewe: Hmmm, let’s see … Well, I’m not at liberty to tell you about patterns that Simplicity will be issuing next year. However, I can tell you that Simplicity holds a license for Disney movies. There will be a dress pattern (soon to be released) which is based on the Pixar Animated film, Brave. I did the pattern and sample work for Simplicity, however only the Disney logo will appear on the pattern.
To be continued ….