Category Archives: Creative Process

Looking Back at the Sakkara Skirt

The Sakkara Skirt.

One great thing about having been in this business for a while is sometimes customers send us pictures of “vintage” Sakkara. Recently we were reminded of our first skirt design, thanks to Lisa who found it while cleaning out her dance closet.

The Sakkara Skirt

Since this was the very first skirt design sold under Kim’s old label Kim Sakkara Clothing, she named it simply the “Sakkara Skirt”. This cute, versatile cinch skirt added some nice variety to a line that had previously focused on pants and custom work.

The original Kim Sakkara label.

When it debuted at Rakkasah West in 2007, it was available in copper, plum, brick-red, and black. Kim sold a ridiculous amount at that first show, which really felt like a “making it” moment.

The Sakkara Skirt was incredibly popular for several years for obvious reasons. Many dancers like a little extra layer over their leggings (and this one really hugs the curves!) Plus, the adjustable ties meant you could ruche it to the right length for your legs.

Over time, mermaid blue and sparkly camel joined the color selection. For a time Silk Road Tribal carried them, which helped them get on to even more dancers’ booties. Some famous fans of the skirt were Bevin Victoria and Gypsy Caravan.

Kim modeling The Sakkara Skirt back in the day.

Whatever Happened to the Sakkara Skirt?

As is often the case with popular designs, other designers came up with their own variation on the gathered tube skirt. Eventually the market was saturated with this and other cinch-y designs, so we’ve actively been moving away from them to explore in new directions. That said, if you still love the ruched look, we’ve got Cinch Pants and Cinch Tops in our Sale section. Give them a happy home!

It makes us happy to know that over ten years later, these skirts are still being worn in classrooms around the country. With the trend towards patterned leggings, a solid-colored accent skirt like this definitely makes a great accent to your outfit. To that end we’ve now got an adorable velvet ruffle mini skirt that was a big hit at shows in 2017 and will be on the website in the near future.

Sadly, these being the pre-smart phone days, we weren’t able to scare up many pictures of the Sakkara Skirt in the wild. But if you have pics of yourself rocking one, we’d love it if you’d drop by the new Sakkara Clothing & Costume Facebook Group to share it…especially if you’ve still got yours!

5 Reasons Why We Love Bamboo Fabric

You may have noticed that most of our garments are made with a blend of organic cotton and bamboo. The reason for the organic cotton is probably obvious (I mean, it’s the fabric of our lives…wait, is the author dating herself here?), but why bamboo?

We’re glad you asked! Let us tell you five reasons why we love bamboo fabric.

1. Bamboo is a hardy plant. If you’ve ever had bamboo in your yard, you know how persistent it is. Whether you tend to it or not, it just keeps growing. Not only does bamboo grow fast, but it’s drought-resistant and needs little to no fertilizer or pesticide. The qualities that make it a low-maintenance addition to your garden also make it a sustainable crop. Eartheasy has some great information about the environmental benefits of bamboo. For instance, did you know that bamboo forests are so dense, they return 30% more oxygen to the atmosphere than trees? Cool!

2. It has moisture-wicking properties. You’ll find bamboo in a lot of eco-friendly active wear because its unique structure breathes and keeps you from getting sticky. This also tends to make it feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, allowing you to wear your favorite yoga pants in comfort year-round. According to Textile Exchange’s Bamboo Fiber Analysis, bamboo  is 3-4 times more absorbent than cotton fabrics.

Organic Cotton and Bamboo Pants
Black organic cotton and bamboo cinch leg pants. ©2017 Sakkara Clothing & Costume, LLC.

3. Bamboo is anti-microbial. This is another great property for active wear, as it will keep your clothes smelling fresher longer. That’s why bamboo is especially popular for socks!

4. It’s just so soft. Bamboo lends a lot of silkiness to the cotton blend fabrics it’s added to. You may just find that you want to wear your Sakkara items all day every day; the fabric feels that nice. When we started making pants, only 100% cotton was available. It was the best we could get at the time, but cotton pills and tears faster and is not as soft. Bamboo is amazing because it essentially fixed all of those issues.

Cotton and Bamboo Pants
Charcoal and black striped cotton and bamboo pants. ©2017 Sakkara Clothing & Costume, LLC.

5. Finally, because it’s a natural fiber, bamboo is biodegradable. We’re dedicated to sustainable fashion here. We make every garment to withstand years of wear, but nothing lasts forever.  When your favorite pants finally go to the great laundry basket in the sky, they won’t leave behind a synthetic mess in the landfill.

Now do you understand why bamboo is so popular for slow fashion designers? It’s one of our favorite materials to work with and we look forward to producing ethical active wear from it for years to come.

Slow Fashion vs Fast Fashion

Depending on what corners of the internet you hang out in, you may have heard the terms “slow fashion” and “fast fashion”. If you have any lingering questions about what these terms mean and why they matter, read on.

Slow Fashion vs Fast Fashion

What Is Fast Fashion?

If “fast fashion” makes you think “fast food”, you’re on the right track. Fast fashion is to clothing what fast food is to cuisine. Both are mass produced to be quick, cheap, and convenient. Neither are particularly good for you.

Where fast food tempts us with the idea of a meal and a drink for under $10, fast fashion offers us the allure of a new Fall wardrobe for $200. While fast food taps into our cravings for salt, fat, and sugar, fast fashion taps into our craving to have something new and to feel cute, on trend, or stylish.

Beyond that, fast fashion also taps into our fears of being the opposite: ugly, frumpy or out of style. The constantly changing landscape of the fast fashion market means that what you purchased is unfashionable almost as soon as you walk out of the store.

Worried about being left behind, you keep returning to the store for new clothes. This creates an unending cycle of filling and purging your closet. It seems easy to justify: with how cheap the clothes are,  what does it matter if you only wear them a few times?

This leads us to our next point: even if you’re not a slave to style trends, fast fashion is not a good investment. Because you’re expected to replace them every few weeks, the garments in these trendy stores are not made to last. Crafted hastily and poorly out of shoddy materials, they often fall apart or fade in the wash.

Thanks to this cheap construction, fast fashion not only wastes your money, it’s also bad for the environment. An alarming amount of textile waste ends up in our landfills. According to Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, America ‘generates 30.6 billion pounds of textile waste per year’, more than any other nation in the world.

Finally, fast fashion is often created in unethical and unsafe sweatshops in developing countries. These factories pay pitifully low wages, insist on long hours,  sometimes even employing child labor.  Earlier this year, an NGO (non-governmental organization) set up a show in Amsterdam that allowed shoppers to experience what it’s like to work in a sweat shop, as reported by Fashion United.

What Is Slow Fashion?

Just like its counterpart “slow food”, the “slow fashion” movement is the antithesis to everything we discussed above.

Slow fashion could more accurately be called…fashion. It’s the way things were done. Rather than a constant churn of new styles, slow fashion houses do only one or two new collections a year (either one annual collection, or a Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collection).

One of the hallmarks of slow fashion is that it’s created conscientiously. Mindful of the sins of fast fashion, slow fashion designers strive to source sustainable fabrics and are ethical in their hiring.

Slow fashion businesses are a single person operation. They may work with contractors here in the US, or they may have a Fair Trade workshop overseas. For a more in-depth analysis of the benefits of slow fashion, see what Trusted Clothes has to say on the matter.

Flats. #velvetminiskirt #newstuff #velvetruffle #production #candycolors

A post shared by Sakkara Clothing & Costume (@sakkaraclothing) on

Many slow fashion designers also decrease textile waste in different ways. This includes efficient pattern layout, creating accessories out of scraps, and donating scrap fabric to schools and charities.

Slow fashion lasts. Fleeting trends are ignored in favor of timeless basics that are worn year after year. Many slow fashion designers gravitate towards solid colors or classic patterns such as stripes. The goal is to create a versatile line of clothing that are mixed, matched, and easily accessorized to express your own sense of style.

Why Sakkara Clothing & Costume Embraces Slow Fashion

At Sakkara Clothing & Costume, we create slow fashion for the street and festival wear market. Because we vend in person at many festivals and dance events in the Pacific Northwest, we see our customers year after year. We build a relationship with the people who love our work. We want them to be happy!

We design the sort of clothing we want to wear — yoga pants that last for years, shrugs and skirts that layer well for that unpredictable Pacific Northwest weather, and clothes that pack well for travel.

We also have our eye to the future, which is why we work with environmentally friendly fibers like organic cotton and bamboo, and upcycled textiles. Fibre2Fashion does a great job of explaining why bamboo is great for clothing, especially active wear.

Everything we design is sewn in the USA.

Slow fashion is about knowing what you’re buying and what sort of culture you’re supporting. We stand for handmade, ethical, long-lasting fashion. You can call that “slow fashion” for short.

Why Local and Handmade Matter

Shop local. Buy handmade. The rallying cries of the small business. You see these phrases as memes on social media, as stickers in the window of your favorite independent book store. But sometimes, you may question why you should spend a little more, and go out of your way, when the local big box store is just so convenient.

Today I’d like to argue that buying local and handmade not only benefit your community, but in the long run it will often save you time and money. Additionally, working with a small business or artist is usually just more enjoyable than dealing with a big corporation.

Shop Local

If you want to see your neighborhood and city thrive, shop local. Multiple studies have shown that when you support local small businesses, more of your money stays in your own community. The most commonly quoted numbers are that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in your local economy. On the other hand, if you spend $100 at a non-local business, only $43 dollars stay in your local economy. And that’s for businesses that have a store front in your community. How much more of your money is leaving your city if you’re purchasing from an on-line only company?

Economic impact of shopping local

To see the full-size graphic and read more statistics, check out Why Shop Local? on SuperSavings.com

But the benefits of shopping local go beyond just the economic impact. Local vendors better understand local needs.

Have you ever had to buy a jacket in the Spring? Often it’s still a little cold here in the PNW as late as May, especially at night. Maybe something happened to your favorite jacket and you suddenly need a new one, or a visiting friend didn’t pack one and is freezing. So you head down to the local big box store to pick up a cheap jacket, only to find out that the clothing department is a sea of swim suits and short-shorts, because as far as the retail world is concerned, it’s summer and everyone is having fun in the sun.

Of course if you pop into a local clothing store, they probably have hoodies and scarves displayed year-round. They know that sometimes you need a little extra layer at night, especially if it rains, even in the middle of summer.

Buy Handmade

If you want to take it a step further, don’t just support a local business, support a local artist. Handmade goods are made with love, and they’re made to last. When I spend hours cutting out and sewing a garment, I don’t want it to be worn-out and unfashionable in three months. I want it to be something you’ll treasure for years.

An artist or craftsperson’s reputation is entwined with their work. As such, we strive to design things that look good, work well, and stand the test of time.  We pay close attention to materials and construction, to make sure that they are up to our standards of quality.

This dedication to quality shows in the longevity of handmade goods. To use my own work as an example, I have customers who are still wearing pants they bought from me seven years ago. And even with daily wear, a pair of my cinch pants lasts for an average of about three years.

Black Organic Cotton Pants, made to last

One thing that local business owners and artists have in common is that we’re tuned in to what our customers really want. A large business takes a macro view of things — they analyze trends, look at sales numbers from stores, maybe do some focus groups.

I talk to my customers.

I listen when you say “I love these pants, I just wish they came in green” or “This is my favorite skirt for the summer, have you considered making a heavier one for winter?”

Of course I can’t fulfill every customer request, but I can pay attention to themes. If I’m hearing the same ideas over and over again, I know they’re worth exploring. And if I’m hearing the same complaints, I also know that it may be time to retire or redesign a product.

Artists and craftspeople pay attention to how our products are integrated into your life, and we plan accordingly. We make yoga pants that aren’t see-through, shirts that don’t disintegrate after three washes, skirts that can go from work to happy hour.

The Human Connection

What local businesses and artists have in common is that you develop a real, human connection with them. Even if your favorite local boutique has several employees, you probably still run into the owner from time to time. Even if you buy from your favorite artists on Etsy instead of face-to-face at a craft show, they’re still the one answering your messages and hand-writing a note to go along with your purchase.

By contrast, big business often feels faceless and soulless. Even if you have a great conversation with your cashier at the big box, there’s no guarantee you’ll see them next week. Big business is driven by profit and share holders, not by meeting the needs of customers and communities.

As corporations grow bigger and bigger in an endless series of mergers, that human connection gets harder to find. But it’s right there if you look for it, in your own community. Take the time to find that local business or independent artist who really speaks to your style and ideals. I promise it’s worth it.

Flame & Ocean

Teal and orange make interesting friends, don’t you think? 🙂

After a fantastic event like JamBallahNW wraps up, the best place for a designer to go (mentally) is a mood board. Every designer/artist has their creative process, and for me sometimes it is to create colorful fantasy lands that I’d love to live in.

I look for vivid, impactful images in colors that don’t represent the palate of what you might have seen in the #Sakkara booth, and then I happily geek out by arranging them just so. The benefit to playing with different color combos, and imagining life in the Flame & Ocean world, is that sparks will ignite towards new designs.

Want to be the first to know when the new stuff drops? 😉 Sign up for our newsletter!

-Kim

#Etsy #Summer #Inspiration #newstuff #creativeprocess

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A lovely passage

From The Witching Hour by Anne Rice, a favorite book:

“…I soon realized I was gazing directly at Stella–far more dramatic than any picture of her could possibly be. She was clad in gold silk–a skimpy little dress, no more than a remnant of a chemise layered with fringe, it seemed, and barely covering her shapely knees. Tiny gold sequins covered her gossamer stockings, and indeed the dress itself, and there was a gold satin band of yellow flowers in her short wavy black hair. Around her wrists were delicate glittering gold bracelets, and at her throat the Mayfair emerald, looking quite absurdly old-fashioned, yet stunning in its old filigree, as it rested against her naked flesh.

“A child-woman, she appeared, slim, breastless, yet entirely feminine, her lips brazenly rouged, and her enormous black eyes literally flashing like gems as she took in the crowd gazing at her in adoration, without ever missing a beat of dance. Her little feet in their flimsy high-heel shoes came down mercilessly on the polished floor, and throwing back her head, she laughed delightedly as she made a little circle, swishing her tiny hips, her arms flung out.

“That’s it, Stella!’ someone roared, and yet another, ‘Yeeeah Stella!’ and all of this with the rhythm, if you can imagine, and Stella managing somehow to be lovingly responsive to her worshipers, while at the same time giving herself over, limply and exquisitely, to the dance.

“If I have ever seen a person enjoy music and attention with such innocent abandon, I did not recall it then and I do not recall now…”

Perhaps Stella would have been wearing these fabulous shoes?

Giving thanks

Hi all!

I am wanting to express my gratitude to all of our fans, customers, friends and supporters. Creating our clothing business has been fun and rewarding yet we marvel at how unpredictable and hungry it is. Our “baby” is only half a year old and growing quickly, which is so thrilling to experience. In celebration of Thanksgiving, I want to tell you how important you are (yes, you!) and how grateful we are for your support, humor, patience, Facebook comments, emails and all the good energy sent our way. A business doesn’t just run itself: it takes the input of many to make it happen. If you’re reading this, we thank you.

We’ve got a lot of cool stuff comin’ around the corner and look forward to telling you all about it. In the meantime, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Safe travels and be well!

Kim (and Brian)

 

 

 

 

 

Staying connected (and entertained)

Whew. I’m tired but happy. It’s been a busy, exciting and productive month in SCC land. There are piles of patterns and fabrics on every surface in the studio, with tax documents also commanding attention from their prime spot on my desk. Recently, my models for Bridgetown Fashion Revue came over for a fitting. I think we all had an enjoyable time amidst playful cats attempting to steal the measuring tape.

And hey, guess what! While we’re on the subject of the BFR show, Brandy of Vauntville will be making some special pretties for our show. If you haven’t seen any of Brandy’s gorgeous creations yet, make haste and follow the link. Welcome to the team, Brandy!

So, even though life and business couldn’t be more chock-full of awesomeness, oftentimes I am feeling a little starved for well, belly dance. Working 12 hour days as a one woman operation, I find it incredibly challenging to make it to a dance class or performance. In honor of all workaholics out there, I thought I would share a couple of sources for staying connected (and entertained) while plugging away at your dreams.

What? A belly dance reality show? Yep.

Especially good for a kick in the ass, while in the privacy of your own home

Tempest tells it like it is, with very pretty pictures

Princess Farhana’s awesome blog