Philosophy of Clothing Design in the Ivey Abitz Limited Edition 2016 Collection

Bespoke Clothier Ivey Abitz Designs Philosophy into Dresses and Frocks in Latest Collection

Look No. 1 from the Limited Edition Collection, 2016.
Look No. 1 from the Limited Edition Collection, 2016.

Clothing designer Ivey Abitz has introduced her 2016 Limited Edition Collection titled “Endless Bloom.” The title’s eternal implication makes this seem like an unlikely name for a short lived Limited Edition Collection. But the designer invokes the juxtaposition with purpose.

The latest Ivey Abitz collection title refers to the inspiring bloom of the hydrangea, a favourite of the designer that lasts all through summer and well into autumn.

The designer expands on the concept in her artist statement:

“Endless Bloom refers to our collective being. Despite our temporal humanness, we have something inside all of us that is in endless bloom. Our garment designs seek to embody a glimpse of this eternal flourishing and blooming.”

This begs the question: how does a clothing designer get a glimpse of the eternal – something many of us just ponder?

Quite simply, it is the artist’s connection to the inspiration of Beauty. Some call it religion, others call it self-knowledge. Ivey Abitz calls it “a connection to our Creator that manifests itself when design elements come together to satisfy the desire for Beauty.”

The Ivey Abitz Limited Edition look book is available at the designer’s website IveyAbitz.com. Garments are made as they are ordered after clients choose from over 100 designs and a palette of seasonable fabrics.

In its more than ten years of business, Ivey Abitz has established a reputation for high quality garment construction which is all done in the USA.

Ivey Abitz says that a successful combination of form and function in clothing brings an internal peace that is expressed outwardly on the body.

Ivey Abitz believes that when we can experience peace here on Earth, we gain perspective, and we can see beyond the pain and sorrow of this world into the hope of Eternity.

This collection is a microcosm of the larger Ivey Abitz philosophy, as described by the designer, Cynthia Ivey Abitz:

“Ivey Abitz designs serve our temporal selves, embracing us with substance whilst representing the mysterious – yet intuitively Beautiful – space beyond time.”

Through that search for substance beyond time, Ivey Abitz hopes to help wearers discover their “Endless Bloom.”

Find the latest collection of Ivey Abitz clothing at IveyAbitz.com.

Dressing as Well as the Settlers

Ivey Abitz and Summer 2009

by Eleni from Florida

It has been quite awhile since I have written a column (blog) about the Ivey Abitz Design House, a Design House in the best sense of the word.

This talented couple pulled up roots last year from Michigan and went to New York City.

Now as if this isn’t enough to manage, they have done numerous collections in-between (Fall 2008, Winter 2009, Spring Prelude 2009, Men’s Spring 2009, and the creme de la creme: Summer 2009). All the collections featured new design debuts and, as always, fabulous fabrics, and Summer 2009 is almost all new designs.  Now, if it were me, I would have taken a long break or… at least bowed out a season.  But oh no, the two artists that make up this brilliant team set out to work, not missing a beat or a season.  I would like to compliment them on that.  At this point you would not know that they weren’t natives of Manhattan.

They have never let this fan down – ever.  Their work ethic amazes me.  The quality of the work is superlative.

I could speculate and say that perhaps New York City and all of its action, art, and innovation immediately inspired them to work, but I think their momentum more likely comes from their natural talent and ability.  They can’t help it – they are natural talent and ability.  In short, I don’t think they would be any different in whatever cornfield or Big Apple they happen to land on at any given moment.

It’s not a secret that I am an admirer and a fan of Ivey Abitz designs.  I try to get a piece (or an assortment of many pieces) from every collection.  The gods will certainly smile on me if I am always this lucky.  I think that Ivey Abitz in any season is more than adornment.  I find them a necessity.  Like having a sofa to sit on or a bed to sleep in, I would feel very deprived indeed if I were to have to sit out a season.

Which brings me to Summer 2009.

If I wrote about every season since I last wrote about them I would have probably too much to say, so I will stick to the time at hand – Summer 2009. At the risk of repeating myself (and I probably am):

The new designs!!  The fabrics!!!  They are simply to swoon over!

How brilliant is it to turn the Bartholdi Overlay into the new Bartholdi Jacket?  The same for the Elliot Jacket!  The new Bonheur designs – the Bonheur Jacket and the Bonheur Frock…O Ma Lawd…..(I can say that, I’m southern) I was agog, moonstruck, and in awe!  I immediately knew what I must have!  I would like them all. (omg!) Those flowy lines and raw edges.  They are so obviously handmade!

How can one not admire this pure art and creativity?  These are how clothes are meant to be.  They are refined and altogether utilitarian, in both an everyday sort of way and in a special occasion sort of way.

At the same time, it is simple.  After all is said and done, I believe that all brilliant ideas are simple, then we build from that. Like the art school saying: all great art begins with great craftsmanship.

Cynthia Ivey Abitz and I write occasionally back and forth about art and design. I want to comment on something she noticed that I have had on my mind lately.  She mentioned old photographs of folks from the 1940’s… I will go back before this time and to the 1950’s as well.

Have you ever noticed how people dressed?  Of course you have, but have you ever noticed how workmen dressed? Not necessarily professionals, but tradesmen and workers as well, even going all the way back to the time of the building of railroads in America and the rebuilding in Europe.  Going all the way back to when photography was relatively young, you will see men at work in a shirt and tie — sometimes jackets!  I don’t think that back then any working man, no matter what his work or trade at that time, would go to work in anything less than trousers, shirt, and tie.  Going even further back – looking at photos of men and women on the frontier trail making the long trek out west after the Civil War, traveling by horse and covered wagon on the well-doumented Oregon Trail. Women traveled in, cooked in, gave birth in, and raised children in what we would call today (if we had anything to compare it to) formal attire — no matter how rough the fabric. And I may be wrong, but I think the roughest fabric back then was probably quite fine.

I think about that and compare it to now. I don’t mean jeans (jeans are a staple and go with all, says the humble queen of jeans and a self-proclaimed expert on the subject). I mean dress in general.  Everyday dress.  Enough said.  Those who know will know.  Those who don’t are probably not reading this.

I don’t blame this problem with the way people dress every day on finances (It doesn’t matter what your financial situation is. Just look at many of the settlers’ financials).  I also don’t think it is a matter of formal or casual, because you don’t have to be dressed up per se to be presentable. It is the fact that everyday people should know better than to run out to anywhere in workout clothes or beach wear.

I live in Florida. I grew up here in the 1970’s. The most casual dress items I own are probably my $1 rubber flip-flops. You know, the ones with the little designs on the thong?  They remind me of my grandmother, a true beachcomber if there ever was one.  Somewhere in the Smithsonian Museum in one of millions of collections there is a shell discovered by my grandfather, a deep sea diver, in the 1930’s or 40’s which he named for her. My grandmother was a conchologist, and I don’t think you can get any more beachy than that. Anyway, I grew up running around Florida beaches in my bathing suit and $1 rubber flip-flops, but not since 10 years of age.

I am the last person to be formal, but you won’t catch me dead in workout clothes or – what do you call them? track suits? – in public. I own a shop in Florida now and I see people decades older than 10 years of age running around in beachwear. Bathing suits as well! This makes me want to scream “ahhhhhhhhhhhhghhhh” (not a shriek of excitement)!

I think this is what I find meaningful about Ivey-Abitz: You can go back to a time when dressing was special, an event in itself. Turning your very best self to the outside world reflects who you are inside. While our culture may not be as formal as those adventurers who settled frontiers, we can still make clothing special. Yes, even when times are difficult, and especially when life is full of adventure.

What is more important than how you present yourself to the world?

i have already decided that people who wear art are smart, strong, unique women & men, proud of their individuality. in adopting a  handmade identity wouldn’t that by its very nature be the case? 

my favorite thing that maeve from minnesota wrote is: the bad news is, identity is fluid.  the good news is identity is fluid.

i love that! 

i guess i should at this point id myself. i was born & raised an artist. a lot of my family are in the arts, and i grew up surrounded by art. i decided very early on that i would be a painter mostly, but painting branches out to other art forms, too. 

my husband & i own a soap company called get a guru. people often ask what this means…to me it means so many things, it can mean believe in something spiritual or believe in what you do, whatever it may be or have a philosophy-any philosophy it is a personal kind of statement that can be interpreted in many ways, kind of like interpreting a work of art. 

i think cynthia ivey abitz gets it. i think her entire philosophy gets it – that she loves and believes in what she is doing is reflected in her nature and in her designs – which brings me to what i love about Ivey Abitz designs, what they are to me, and why they are important in the larger scheme of things. 

i had a friend who i worked with & was a clothing designer. unfortunately, he passed away at a young age – he was 36. 

i guess i thought of his designs as couture – not as art to wear & not as being the same thing. Ivey Abitz designs, to me, characterize that term. art to wear it is. it allows one to appreciate art in a very basic way. it allows one to include art and to be creative in everyday life. what can be more basic than dressing for your day? 

in a way, what is more important than how you present yourself to the world? this says who we are before we do. i guess i’m the type that won’t go out in sweats, etc. i have one friend who even goes out in her pajamas!  this to me is really hilarious….& good for her, whatever. i just couldn’t do it. 

this same friend, who is really as close to me as a sister–we grew up together like family–anyway, one time after a particularly bodacious evening out she got up to go in her nightgown, high heels & pearls! on the other hand i sometimes change 5 times while dressing for the day. i mean from top to bottom. entire outfits. 

yes, i’m late to work every day. i am late to every event & my friends just expect it at this point. i have so many of cynthia’s clothes that i don’t know what to wear first! i love them all so much that i change & change again and again, deciding what to wear. so many options! they are made to work together so the possibilities are endless. i have so much fun that dressing has almost become one of my hobbies. in terms of collecting beautiful handmade designs, with gorgeous fabrics, this certainly has become a hobby. i seriously cannot get enough of them. i love them so much that i won’t wear anything else. if Ivey Abitz made underwear i would have them, too.