Meet the Designer: JackWrapIt

This is the first in a series of posts focusing on the featured designers in the Fall Fashion Expo, happening Nov 16, 2013, at the Durham Armory. We can’t wait to see their great creations on the runway!

As happens with many great ideas, Elizabeth Field and Michelle Pare’s company developed from a simple but important need - a stylish outerwear piece that is a mix of a jacket and a wrap. This fall, Redress Raleigh is very excited to introduce you to JackWrapIt: The Jacket that Wraps you in Style! JackWrapIt creations are made from high-quality domestic material sources, including Polartec fleece composed of 89% recycled content, with manufacturing done entirely in the United States. Elizabeth and Michelle will be showing a combination of sporty and classic looks for men and women - a fresh take on traditional colors embellished with vintage fur trim to vivid brights perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Below they explain more about who they are and what you can expect to see in November!

Photo credit: JackWrapIt

Photo credit: JackWrapIt

Redress: Describe the moment you realized you wanted to design or start your own vintage business?

JackWrapIt: Michelle and I were putting the finishing touches on a jacket to go over a strapless evening gown for me to wear for a concert.  We wanted it to be much more stylish than the typical shrug or shawl that we saw in every store.  As we finished it, we came up with a name to describe that it was neither really a jacket, or a wrap  – JackWrapIt.  As I wore it for a number of performances, every woman that saw it wanted one…that got us to thinking…we could sell these.  After doing some serious thinking, we realized that to start a new company with a piece of evening wear as the flagship product would be almost impossible.   We loved that all body types and ages seemed to like the piece – so we got thinking about an “every woman” piece of outerwear and started designing the first fleece JackWrapIt.

Redress: How do you hope individuals connect with your products? 

JackWrapIt: We hope that our products will appeal to all ages, lifestyles and body types.  We want everyone to experience the comfort, coziness and style of our products.  The feel of the fabric, the ease of wear and care and the conscience behind the manufacturing, we hope add up to people being thrilled to wear our products.

Redress: What current event, music, artist, etc. is fueling your creativity and direction of your upcoming collection? 

JackWrapIt: The current fashion trends are influencing us to push the envelope for what can be done with fleece.  

Redress: How do you use sustainable practices as inspiration in your work?

JackWrapIt: Michelle had just completed a degree in Architectural Tech when we began our company.  During that degree she studied green building practices and brought that interest to the table.  Recycling and reusing things have always been a passion of Elizabeth’s as well as a focus on reviving manufacturing in healthy ways in the US.  

Redress: What can we expect to see on the runway?

JackWrapIt: You can expect to see something never seen before on any runway – High Fashion Fleece!  We have been inspired by the show to push fleece to do things never seen before.  Also, we will be premiering a new design – Jack’s WrapIt – our men’s fleece jacket.  It will be featured at Redress before it even makes it into cyberspace!

Redress: What is your go-to quote when you need to get your head back in the game?

JackWrapIt: Our mantra from the beginning has been, “Why not us?”.  This is great at conquering all the doubts induced by the obstacles we come up against.

Redress: How do you reward yourself after a long day of work? 

JackWrapIt: Michelle and I have to work on our company around the hours we spend at our “day” jobs, so we often feel frustrated at the end of a day at not being able to devote more time to our company.  Our reward is often a meeting at Port City Java where we caffeinate and re-inspire each other.

Redress: What are your thoughts about the current fashion scene in the Triangle / South? 

JackWrapIt: I think the South is becoming more of a force in fashion than it has been in the past.  We are starting to realize that lifestyles here call for a different twist on business and casual fashion and are embracing that.

Redress: Which of your personal idols would you like to see in your clothes and why?

JackWrapIt: Personally, I would be insanely thrilled to see one of the opera stars I admire wearing a JackWrapIt – Renee Fleming or Anna Netrebko come to mind.  These two women have worked hard to make family and career co-exist and are known for wearing famous designers.

Michelle has been working on wardrobe for the new television series, Sleepy Hollow, and it would be mind-blowing to see the stars from that show wear our clothes!

Redress: Looking at the global fashion industry, what is one aspect you would like to see improved? 

JackWrapIt: We would love to see clothing manufacturing return to the US, specifically to North Carolina, with an eco-responsible focus.  We truly believe that profit and sustainability are not mutually exclusive and that our country could and should become the leader at combining the two.

Elizabeth and Michelle are passionate and energetic about what they do, which makes them a great fit for the high-energy shows Redress Raleigh is known for. They also share the values of creating a more responsible fashion and textiles industry. Their company is a great example of continuously innovating and striving for improvement - starting with a great product and always looking for ways to be even better. We can’t wait to wrap ourselves in their luxurious yet practical creations!