Anyone plugged into Indy’s fashion community over the last decade, is likely also aware of Dlang Ferguson, the founder of UnZip the Runway and Dlang Designs. Thirty-five year old Ferguson has been sewing since she was a teenager, producing the first UnZip the Runway when she was 16. Like many fashion designers who call Indianapolis home, Ferguson has been pursuing her passion for fashion as a side-hustle, producing fashion shows, publishing a fashion magazine, and creating her own designs while taking care of her family and working a full-time job. When she had her son three years ago, Ferguson had to hit the pause button on her design business, but now she’s back! Launching a Kickstarter campaign around her Iconic “V” Dress, Ferguson is building brand awareness and trying to tap into a market she believes is underserved – size 6-18 women with curves who are looking for versatile and classic clothing to have in their closet.
The campaign ends in just a few days, and I got to sit down with Ferguson to talk about the dress as well as what’s in store for her brand. Read on to find out more, and support her Kickstarter here!
What makes the Iconic “V” Dress truly unique?
One of the things that makes the Iconic “V” Dress unique is that it really focuses on body curves. I designed the dress with versatility and longevity in mind. In the current market, if you’re curvy, often the garments do not fit well, so you have to size up. It may be your hips, or your bust, so your blouse doesn’t button up all the way, but everything else fits. So when I size the garments I’m thinking about how to create a bit more room for the curves so that my customer don’t have to size up and everything fits as it should. The fashion industry right now sizes for a very generic body type. But we all know that real women tend to be more curvy in the bust and hips, so I focus on adding extra comfort in those areas. The great thing about the dress is that the fit also works if you are not super curvy. The fabric has a great stretch to it that tends to settle in on your body as needed. For example if you’re pregnant, the dress will stretch with you.
What kinds of designs can customers expect beyond the Iconic “V” Dress?
The dress is just one piece of the collection to introduce it. The collection features basic pieces that are still sophisticated and with a bit of an edge. I like the idea of creating clothing that’s timeless. With the Iconic “V” Dress, it has a V cut in the front, but can be worn long or short, dressed up or down, which means that it can be worn multiple times. My plan is to come out with a new design every two months.
Can you speak to how sustainability plays into the Iconic “V” Dress?
The fashion industry produces a lot of waste. What I try to do is either work with fabric designers’ end of bolt fabric, where I’m getting fabric that’s already produced and used instead of producing my own and making more. I also focus on using fabrics like tencel. Tencel is made out of recycled materials. For myself, I shop Goodwill and repurpose fabrics and clothing.
How do you see yourself impacting the fashion industry in Indianapolis and beyond?
Having produced fashion shows for many years, I’ve been helping bring more awareness to Indianapolis as well as creating opportunities for other designers. I hope with me releasing my own line, and doing the Kickstarter that other designers here will know that they are able to go for it if they really want to. A lot of them are working full-time jobs, sometimes two jobs, or they have school or are a caregiver for a family member and they just can’t imagine launching their own line with everything they have going on. So I hope to set a good example and give them hope and inspiration. I want them to know that you don’t have to move to New York or go to a big fashion house in order to be successful. If you want to live here, and design, you can do that!
As far as the rest of the world, I believe that we just need to bring more awareness to outsiders about the Midwest so they realize there’s all this potential here. I want to continue connecting with people outside of the Midwest and even outside of US and telling them about our city. Just letting everyone know the kind of talent that’s here in Indianapolis. When I bring UnZip The Runway back next year, I would love to see some of the people who go to the New York or London shows, come here and be excited about it knowing that there’s going to be a great show here.
What’s next for the Dlang Designs brand?
Right now, we’re focusing on increasing brand awareness. The next step would be offering the dress in all different sizes 2 up to 28, and not just 6-18. Concurrently, I also have a teaching platform to help other fashion entrepreneurs learn how to build their collections, as well as learn how to use other crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. I want to keep growing that side of my business as well.