This post got me thinking (generally hard to do in the a.m., but it is doable). If you read the article, you'll see that customers are encouraged to try on clothes and pose in front of an in-store camera. They leave and later receive a print of their modeling sessions, which are also automatically uploaded online, a natural boon for bloggers worldwide, of course. A new link for their readers! Now the shop mentioned in this Springwise story fervently hopes that the customers like the outfit they're wearing in the pictures so much that they buy it or their friends snap it up after admiring it on the Internet.
I'm just wondering how all this could be applied to the netherworlds of knitting and sewing. Both fabric and yarn stores are known for hanging handmade garments on the walls or dressing up mannequins. Now what if they encouraged shoppers to try on these same clothes and had a camera set up nearby so they could see how they look? I'll bet my well-worn U.S. dollar that these same folks are more likely to buy the pattern, and the fabric too. Knit Daily has regular folks trying on the actual sweaters, dresses, skirts, etc. modeled in the latest issue of Knitscene. Some of what I thought was ho-hum in the magazine actually looked spectacular on different shapes and figures. It was eye-opening in a way that sometimes my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee isn't.
I know there's a risk in letting people slip on one-of-a-kind garments. They can get ripped, stained or worst yet (but perhaps the ultimate compliment) stolen. But if you can deal with these kind of risks, the rewards can be great. For example, did you know that Vogue Patterns Magazine has an alliance with the Vogue Fabrics? Yes, some of the same fabric you can find in the store is used for the actual garments in the magazine! But the store doesn't promote this very well. There are some links online, but that's about it. Imagine if an in-store model wore the Vogue 1020 dress with the fabric featured on the pattern, perhaps while balancing a bolt of the fabric in one arm, with the pattern in her other hand? Not terribly graceful, but what a statement! If she did that a couple of times, the fabric would disappear in nanoseconds along with all pattern copies even though they're never on sale at Vogue. If customers could test out the dress (perhaps in a temporary exchange with their driver's licenses), I'd bet more even more sales could be rung up at the cash register.
While ready-to-wear shoppers have the advantage of actually testing out clothes they like in the store, sewers and knitters don't have that opportunity, making sales a little more difficult, especially for dress fabrics (in fabric shops) and yarns (knitting stores). Dress fabrics, even nice ones, are at least available in different price points; that's not the case in the stand-alone yarn shops. Nearly every skein (all of it generally great, I might add, which is not the case for the department-store variety).
Whatever yarn store owners can do to close the gap for knitters would be very helpful, especially when it comes to pricey, pricey fiber. These days it's a little difficult to buy $60 worth of Noro for a pretty (but untested) knitted skirt, especially when that same amount of money can buy a tank of gas. However, I'd might actually make the leap of faith (with my wallet) if I got to twirl around in the actual skirt I'm dying to make in front of a mirror and a camera. The camera set-up wouldn't be expensive either - just as an inexpensive tripod and digital camera in front of a blank wall works wonders. Upload the images to the store's blog later that day or week when time permits. Print up the picture for the store's mailers or postcards. Let people use 'em as Christmas cards, birthday cards, you-name-it cards!
Anyhow, I'm ready to get off my Cascade Soup box. Weigh in (or out) if you're so inclined.
* I have Vogue 1020, maybe I'll whip it up in time for the PatternReview invasion on Monday night.