Ali Eagen / Made By Anatomy
How did you become a Sewist / designer / master tailor?
After attending FIT, I designed for a corporate fashion brand for a few years, but I knew that I wanted to have my own business and move back home to Buffalo. Buffalo has come a long way in the last 20 years, and I’m so thrilled to have been a part of my hometown revival.
After I opened my first location in 2010, it only took 2 years to realize that my talents were needed in the local wedding industry. We now work with brides to create custom wedding gowns, reconstructed wedding gowns and creative solutions. Other than my training in college, I have learned everything on my own. Each new client and design is an opportunity to learn something new! In the last 10 years, we have established ourselves as the premier destination for women’s custom special occasion wear in Western New York.
How did you become interested in the industry?
The interest in sewing and fashion came up around age 14, and when I was 16 I spent the summer attending classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. It was really that summer that cemented my desire to become a designer. I had always known that I would end up doing something in the arts and design world, and fabric became the most natural medium for me.
How long have you been in the industry?
I have been working as a fashion designer for 14 years.
Do you have a back story about your business? How many years?
I left Ambercrombie and Fitch, where I was a sweater designer after a few years because I knew that I wanted to start my own business. After I moved back home, I planned, developed and created for 2 years. The original vision was something of a local foundry of artisanal, handmade goods that fit into a lifestyle. I curated other local artists’ items in the shop ranging from antiques to accessories, and debuted my ready-to-wear and made-to-measure collections! “Anatomy” became the name of the brand because everything we offered, especially the made-to-measure garments were literally made for you!
What Makes your business different than others? How do you stand out?
Firstly, my background in fashion design allows me to see potential where other tailors cannot. This means that a lot of women who are looking for something truly unique, complicated or reconstructed come to work with me. I can redesign a vintage wedding gown into something totally new, fresh and modern! It’s actually one of the most special aspects of our business. It’s so sentimental to work with a woman’s lineage to keep the family history alive.
Anatomy also stands out because rather than trying to fit into something off the rack, both physically and aesthetically, we create garments for women that are true to them. The wedding gowns we make really do exemplify each brides’ personality.
What was one of the most challenging / creative jobs you have ever done?
I was asked by a local celebrity, Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls to create a show-stopping fashion-masterpiece for the finale of his annual music festival fundraiser. The model was lifted on a crane above the stage – so I had to use a lot of fabric and it had to be dynamic.
I ended up using inexpensive cotton muslin for the bulk of skirt of the dress, then cut the hemline in all curved angles. After it was pleated with deep pin tucks across the entire waistline of the front and back, I added strips of horsehair covered in various fabrics and lengths along the curved hemline. The bodice was a strapless, boned bodice that utilized the same varied fabrics along with roping and cording. I created a textural pattern with those corded trims and strips of fabric that matched the movement of the hemline.
This project definitely took the most time to create and was unlike anything I’ve ever made!
What Do you do to keep up with the industry?
I teach at Buffalo State in the fashion department, so I’m lucky to have memberships to resources like trend forecasting services and other educational opportunities. I travel to big cities to shop and buy fabrics. I’m conveniently located between NYC and Toronto, so it’s easy for me to hop in the car or on a train when I want.
I really love the fashion and wedding industry, so I’m pretty entrenched in it.
What is new and exciting for 2021?
Our brand new semi-custom collection is a bridge between our custom wedding dress services with an off-the-rack price point. It’s been something I’ve been working on for over 6 years, and I’m excited to finally be ready to launch it!
What do you like best about WAWAK?
I love how easy it is to shop on the website. For being as busy as I am, knowing that I can hop online and get what I need in a matter of minutes is everything. I don’t know how you guys ship everything as quickly as you do – but it’s truly a life saver at times!
When it comes to your company, what are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of our ability to cultivate authentic relationships with our clients and provide them with the high end experience and one-of-a-kind product they are looking for. We work so closely with our clients that we really do tend to become friends with them. We’ve been invited to plenty of weddings – not to work! Just to celebrate! It means the world to me. My clients are everything to me.
What advice do you give to the next generation of designers?
Find your niche and do it better than anyone around you.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop?
I listen to my customers and am always willing to adapt and change. I actually thrive on change and get really restless when things are too habitual. I’m always looking ahead, but focused on the moment I’m in.
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