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Michele Marie PR founders Sara Andréasson and Jill Cooper hadn't exactly planned on creating a clothing line when they started their full-service firm (which has offices both here and in NYC), but as their bi-coastal schedules got busier and busier, they began to notice a serious gap in the fashion market: a dress that travels well (no wrinkles, please) and transitions easily from day to night—making its wearer look effortlessly put-together throughout. Oh, and add locally-made to that list.
With those goals in mind the two started SHIFTS, a collection of figure-flattering, tailored shirtdresses which can be worn several different ways, won't get rumpled in-flight (thanks to lightweight viscose fabric), and manage to stay at the affordable price of just $165. The easy-to-wear garment caters to women who have a similarly busy lifestyle—whether that means dashing from a daycare drop-off to the office, or a power lunch to cocktails with the girls. We got a hold of one half of the duo, Sara Andréasson, to find out a little more about their new venture, including creative ways to wear their design and the fashion icon who served as inspiration.
Part of the appeal of a Shifts is its versatility. How did you settle on this dress?
Having fashion PR offices in NY and LA requires Jill and I to travel a lot. We realized what was missing from our wardrobes was a dress that was easy to pack and super comfortable but chic enough to impress a fashion editor or stylish celebrity stylist. These dresses are so easy to wear, they even double as our travel attire to and from LAX and JFK.
This concept feels like a modern version of Diane von Furstenberg's classic wrap dress. Was she an influence?
Isn't DVF an influence to everyone? The answer is yes! I remember my first fashion job at Bloomindale's in Beverly Hills, I spent my entire first paycheck on a DVF wrap dress. I have been hooked ever since. She inspires us tremendously.
How is Shifts able to keep costs low, while still manufacturing locally?
Jill and I do all the work! We source the fabric, we choose every single detail, we haul rolls of fabric to and from our dye house and then to our manufacturer, we are the fit models, we pack every single box and our company does the PR. It's exactly how we started Michele Marie nine years ago!
Any other colors/patterns in the near future?
Yes! We just went into production on a full rainbow of colors! Over 20 new colors and additional patterns coming soon!
You've probably seen the Shifts styled many ways already. Can you tell us any memorable ways someone styled theirs?
One of our employees actually wore it tucked into a flared skirt with the belt tied around her neck. it was adorable! Jill and I can't wait to wear ours as cover-ups on our trip to Italy this summer!