Clotheslines by Marylou Luther

                          Jason Alkire bird dress 



Q Dear Marylou:  Art and fashion have long been entwined.  What do you see as the big art inspiration in spring fashion? __ J.J., Cleveland, OH.


   Dear J.J.:   As print direction, flowers are big.  So are stripes, logos, messages, plaids and graphics.  But the one art association I find most directional is the use of bird motifs.  Artist/designer Jason Alkire of Haus Alkire scanned his watercolor paintings of tropical birds so they could be digitally printed on fabrics.  For the dress illustrated here, he used a transparent toucan on organza over a flamingo on silk faille.  The result:  A high-flying example of fashion with wings that soar high—you could say over the rainbow.  The dress is available to pre-order for $l,697 at  Click on pre-order:  Malin dress-flamingo-toucan for delivery in April and May.



illustration by Jason Alkire                                                          






   Q Dear Marylou:  I recently saw a person wearing a sweatshirt printed completely over with personal photos arranged in a giant collage.  It seemed well outside the normal boardwalk print shop capabilities of printing a single centered image on a T-shirt.  Unfortunately, the wearer got away before I had a chance to ask her where she was able to get her garment made.  Maybe you have an idea of where I could get something printed that would let me determine the content and design? __ K.D., New York, NY.


      Dear K.D.: Go to PAOM (Print All Over Me).  As the person who led me there said, “Their website is a little crazy”.  (It is.)  But here’s what I learned: Every three months, the site—which is created for people like designers, would-be designers or those who want to individualize their clothes--releases a series of silhouettes like T-shirts, backpacks, jockstraps, etc.  You can upload your own artwork to each silhouette and then offer your design for sale.  Every time someone purchases your design you will receive at least 20% of the sale.  According to a spokesperson for the site, “Every piece on PAOM is custom made.  We print the fabric first and then cut and sew.  We believe that by taking fashion slowly we can offer high quality items produced in an environmentally sustainable way and, most importantly, offer our studio employees a living wage and health benefits.  Our office and collab (cq) studio is based in New York at New Inc., the New Museum’s incubator. Our main production studio is outside Shanghai, and we have a satellite studio outside of Savannah, GA.”  (With main production in China, I would question their sustainability claims.)
   I was unable to ascertain a price for the service, but somewhere on the site it says Paom Pro is a $75 setup fee and $20 a month.  “You pay for your shopify store separately.”  Whatever that means.



     Q  Dear Marylou:  What is the difference between bespoke and made-to-measure?  I noted that in a recent story about Tom Ford’s men’s store in Manhattan the two words were used interchangeably. __ P.A., Boston, MA.


     Dear P.A.:   According to a Ford spokesman, the store offers only made-to-measure suits, which are defined as suits that are often based on existing patterns.  The customer chooses from a varied but limited array of suit styles, which are then altered to his liking.  The customer then selects fabrics, pocket details, trouser length, etc.  
   Conversely, bespoke is made from scratch and based entirely on the wearer’s preferences and measurements.  As you note, the two terms are often used interchangeably.
   There is also a third term in common use:  Custom-made.  This also is used to signify clothes made to the customer’s specifications—but not from scratch—as contrasted with those ready-made.  The word bespoke comes from Savile Row in London, where clothes are hand-made to a customer’s measurements and preferences.  For purists, it’s all about bespoke.



   Q  Dear Marylou:  You’ve told us how to get red wine spots off washable clothes, but how do I get them off a wool sweater? __ T.M., Luthersville, GA.


    Dear T.M.:   By the time you read this, your stains may not be removable, but for the next time … The experts at Woolmark say to apply absorbent powder or salt to the spots as soon as possible, then brush off.  Next:  “Dab with mineral water or cool tap water.”  Finish by rinsing with white vinegar.

  (Marylou welcomes questions for use in this column, but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.  Send your questions to


 ©2017, International Fashion Syndicate


      Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate, writes the  award-winning Clotheslines column, a question-and-answer fashion advice feature read weekly by more than 5 million.

   In addition to her syndicated newspaper column, Luther is the creative director of The Fashion Group International, a non-profit organization for the dissemination of information on fashion, beauty and related fields.  Her twice-yearly audio-visual overviews of the New York, London, Milan and Paris ready-to-wear shows are must-seeing/reading for industry leaders. Her coverage of the European collections appears in newspapers throughout the U.S.

   The former fashion editor of The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and Des Moines Register is biographied in “Who’s Who in America.”  She won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s coveted Eugenia Sheppard  award for fashion journalism, the Women in Communications award and, in 2004, the Accessories Council’s Marylou Luther Award for Fashion Journalism, which will be given every year in her name.

  Her essays have appeared in “The Rudi Gernreich Book”, “Thierry Mugler: Fashion, Fetish, Fantasy”, “The Color of Fashion”, “Todd Oldham Without Boundaries” and “Yeohlee: Work.” A book with Geoffrey Beene was published in September, 2005. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she received the prestigious Alumni Achievement award, Luther is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, Theta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta.