It's safe to say that customistable fashion has, until now, been relatively limited. Sure, you can get T-shirts personalised or your initials monogrammed onto almost anything and everything, but what if you really wanted to get stuck into the design process without needing the kind of budget required for a bespoke Hermès bag? What if you wanted to create something that's always been missing from your wardrobe and have next to no skills as a designer? In steps Frilly—the first digital luxury e-commerce site for customisable clothing.
Based out of Los Angeles and home to designers who have cut their teeth at the likes of Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein, this is no half-arsed attempt at flogging you all the same boring dress in just a few colourways. We're talking about on-trend options that you can literally piece together from head to toe, zip to hemline, grommets to buttons, twills to crepes. In an era where many Millennials and Gen Z are striving to be unique, the potential for more than 400,000 luxe made-to-order options is too tempting to not try out—so I did, and here's what happened.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Alongside of-the-moment design ideas that you can use as your initial templates, it's the responsive, realistic, fast tech that really separates Frilly from competitors. The process is clear-cut enough to keep things simple but complex and multifaceted enough to make you feel like you're really crafting your own piece from top to bottom. The brand's 3D rendering software really does bring a garment to life on your screen, and it's easy to amend and keep changing your mind as you go along.
You can start one of a few ways: Either go shopping by category (e.g., dress, top, etc.) or get inspired by the trends on the homepage or the items girls are creating and sharing already on Instagram.
You can—should you chicken out halfway—just buy some pre-made concoctions, but I'd urge you to experiment.
HOW MUCH CAN YOU DESIGN YOURSELF?
Whilst you can't just dream up something entirely mad, there are some brilliant ways to add your own spin to a garment—whether that's choosing an off-beat colour you haven't been able to find anywhere else (a particularly great idea for brides looking to keep all of their bridesmaids happy) or adding an unexpected belt to a plain shift, you are most definitely the maker.
For someone like me—short!—being able to adapt hem length is a particular godsend. I'd love to see this apply to the arm length also, as this is often another sewing task for me at home.
Cost-wise, you're looking at anywhere between £100 to £250 for most of the dress styles, depending on the fabric and hemlines and extra details chosen. Separates are of course cheaper (tops come in at around £75), and coats are understandably more costly (think £400-ish).
WHO ELSE IS USING IT?
So far Frilly has been rather popular with influencers—Chriselle Lim has created backless tops and Beetlejuice-style striped trousers, while other girls have zeroed in on wrap skirts or tailored suits. As you can imagine, there's no one item, colour or look ruling here, but the brand has reportedly been receiving great feedback for its outwear and robe dresses.
Jenny Tsang wearing a skirt she customised on Frilly.
Megan Adelaide chose to create a brown trouser suit.
Chriselle Lim wearing trousers created on Frilly.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ARRIVE?
For me, and I realise this will vary for everyone, the time it took from ordering my piece to delivery was just eight days. For something that has been specifically made to my desired specs, that's pretty impressive. What also adds to the experience is that Frilly's packaging emphasises the fact that you're investing in a special piece—a sturdy branded box and handy garment bag make sure the item reaches you in excellent condition.
The communication process is thorough: You'll receive an email to confirm your order and updates on when it's being made along the way. Many of the items do include some hand-sewn detailing, so you'll never be getting a custom piece arriving on your doorstep the next day, but a little (reasonable) waiting adds to the excitement, right?
And what's more, if you don't like the piece you've created, you can actually send it back with their pre-paid labels and packaging—you will get charged for any unreturned items seven days after delivery. So just remember that you don't have a huge window of time to make up your mind.
THE RESULT AND THE FINAL VERDICT
So me being me, I went all-out designing something that I'd usually never find somewhere else: a pink, square-necked, culottes-style jumpsuit of course! This ice-cream shade was starting to trend when I created this all-in-one and now that spring's around the corner, it feels like a very handy item to have for parties and events. Usually jumpsuits are always dragging along the floor thanks to my 5'1" stature, but this one actually stopped at the right place.
The pros: This really is a beautifully made item—fully lined, created from a quality crepe fabric and very true to the visuals I essentially "bought" into online. The piece steams really well, so any little creases that have occurred whilst hung up in my busy wardrobe can easily come out in time for a party. I would never have been able to find this piece anywhere else, so I feel lucky to have something unique that was created in next to no time!
The cons: Because I'm petite, the jumpsuit is a little long in the body and sleeves, but that's not unusual for me to experience. I did, after all, choose one of the most challenging items to test the website. As I'm normally between a UK size 10 and 12, I ordered a UK size 12 (U.S. 8) and found the silhouette a bit snug around my thighs, so if you have a similar figure to me, you might want to consider going up a size. The differences between our body shapes will always be the trickiest part of this bespoke service—but that is also the case for off-the-rack, so I can't really complain.