Stunning. That’s the word that most skaters want people to be saying and thinking about their dress, as they take their opening pose. Multiply the effect by 16 and you have the costuming goal for any synchronized skating team.
Dress Wright Synchro owner and head designer Deanna Wright is intent on understanding the picture that any synchronized skating team wants to paint in the first competition impression. “We are good listeners and are looking for the team to share their vision. We want to listen to their music and hear about the program and story that the team wants to portray.”
If there are men on the team, the design needs to take that into consideration, but for the purposes of this blog entry, I am focusing on the dresses.
To start with, team representatives need to meet with their dress designer to kick ideas around. Head Coach Carrie Brown of Allegro! Synchronized Skating Teams in Livonia, Michigan talks about the process: “We share our team’s music, program theme and competitive level, as well as our vision for the skaters look on the ice. Deanna puts pencil to paper to create a draft dress design that aligns with this vision and theme.”
Understanding how the team sees the finished product in their mind’s eye is accomplished by: “Listening. Not just to what is said, but what is said between the lines,” said Dress Wright Synchro owner and head designer Deanna Wright.
Once the sketch is approved then comes the sample. A sample gives the team the chance to tweak any design aspects before the dress goes into production. Carrie Brown commented: “Sometimes it takes a few iterations back and forth between us to land on a solid design; sometimes the initial drawing hits a home run. Either way it’s very collaborative between our coaching staff and her (Deanna’s) design team. “
The intensive design process is ongoing. “We are able to work from pictures, sketches and fabric ideas that the team brings to us or inspire them with ideas of our own.” Deanna continued, “We are able to combine or change ideas and make tweaks to the sample in order for the team to get the look they want.”
Once a sample is approved, the next step is to send in accurate measurements. This step cannot be underestimated in terms of importance. Based on these measurements, the pattern will be made that is needed for all of the sizes in the order. Fabric needs to be sourced and ordered and the pattern pieces laid out and cut. The dress is sewn together and then the skirts are levelled to give the team that unified look on the ice regardless of the height differences in the skaters. The final steps in finishing the dresses include applying any kind of embellishments like crystals, beads and appliques and the dresses are ready to package and ship.
Start to finish, the whole process takes six to eight weeks for the teams who are ready to go at the start of the season. Those synchronized skating teams will start the process in mid-August if they want their dresses delivered in mid-October. The later in the season that a dress request comes in, the longer it takes to do because of other projects that have landed in the meantime.
The next time you’re watching a synchro skating competition and admiring the beautiful dresses, take a moment to consider the journey that dress has taken from start to finish.
SYNCHRONIZE YOUR WATCH
Finding that perfect dress to complement the concept and choreography is the result of careful planning an design. I fell in love with this dress from Marigold Ice Unity. It is for an ocean-based theme and it was skated at the Shanghai Trophy in 2017.
TEAM UP! WITH DRESS WRIGHT SYNCHRO
Deanna says that the right shade for tights is very important to unifying the look for the team. Beige tights are very forgiving in terms of hiding inconsistencies in leg extension and line. Black tights are also an option if your team has excellent unison and DressWright Synchro has a great line of black opaque legging tights that go over the boot to optimize that look for your synchronized skating team. Check out the catalogue for anything else you are looking for to outfit your synchro skating team.
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