Ones to Watch: Neutra, Made-to-Order Women’s Wear Breaking From Fashion’s Status Quo

How can an up-and-coming brand hope to not only launch, but thrive, in fashion’s uncertain future?

The creative minds behind women’s wear label Neutra have a novel solution: small-scale, handmade-to-measure production of seasonless pieces, with a byproduct of less waste and more personal connection between customer and brand.

Dubai-based artists Maryame Tmiri Rya and Ron John founded Neutra last April to show an alternative to the industry’s demanding seasonal model and excess issue. Early into this year’s lockdown, designers including Dries Van Noten and organizations including the CFDA and BFC understood the need to better align seasons with deliveries or scale back on production altogether so that designers are given a reprieve. The closures of fashion darlings Cushnie and Sies Marjan, and off-price leader Century 21, among others, is but a small glimpse at how the coronavirus can ravage both independent and corporate businesses alike.

“Fashion has become a very tiring and cyclical process and one of the reasons we’re doing this is to break away from the status quo and dissolve the idea of seasonal collections,” the founders said in a statement. “We are not claiming to be sustainable but rather are practicing it.”

Rya, whose parents were both fashion designers in Morocco and trained her at their home atelier, and John, an experimental visual artist, cut Neutra in a balance of sexy, comfortable and utilitarian clothes whose sensual cutouts and graphic lines are inspired by architecture, furniture and shapes.

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“We create based on feeling, rather than repetition. So all our products are created for the purpose of artistic development,” they said. “We do not follow the current pattern of fashion distribution but rather are trying to create a new methodology that we have come up with ourselves.”

Key pieces include a technical crop top priced at $70, pants with a thong-like side strap at $70 and a side cutout dress at $100, all cut in either wrinkle-free or stretchy fabrics to help transition from occasion to occasion. Soon to be released is a repurposed corset made from vintage leather jackets. “The ideal Neutra woman is ready for everything but still manages to look sexy at the same time. We want our price point to be accessible to everyone while maintaining a premium look and feel.”

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