Sheri Turnbow of Bespoke SoutherlyOur latest brand to launch is blowing in from Maryland with classic silk dresses made just for you in the USA. Get to know owner and head designer Sheri Turnbow and what inspired her chic pieces that never go out of style.

How and why did you start designing?

As a lover of entertaining and parties, I have always struggled to find the perfect dress for every event. Who hasn’t shopped for hours in search of just the right dress, only to come up empty? I realized there was a lack of beautifully-made, quality items created with fine fabrics like silk, that were meant to be worn more than once. Imagine that! So, having spent the early part of my career working in the fashion and retail industry, I decided I could help fill this niche by designing what was missing in stores. I’m using my past experience and my love of beautiful clothing to create dresses of the highest quality right here in the USA. For our pre-sale on Nineteenth Amendment, I am offering the most popular styles and colors for the holiday season at reduced pre-sale prices.

What is your fashion philosophy?

My dresses are all designed with flattering, classic silhouettes, so the focus is on the woman even when her dress makes a statement. Elegant, timeless pieces can be easily accessorized to look fresh and fashion forward. When it comes to clothing and fashion, I think about quality over quantity. If more people did the math, they would invest in quality purchases. Think – several inexpensive coats or a classic Burberry which will last you a lifetime and never go out of style? So many people, including myself, care about the environment and sustainability today more than ever before. That concern can translate to action even when it comes to fashion – which is why I believe in investment dressing and love the made to order, fashion on demand model that Nineteenth Amendment offers.

How has your design changed over time?

Well, this is my first capsule collection, so you may want to ask that again in the future! But, I will say that through developing this first collection, I learned a lot about the kinds of fabric qualities that I need to use to achieve the look I want. That learning has helped me focus my designs for the next collection. I want women to look unbelievably beautiful but also feel comfortable in the dresses so they can really enjoy the event they are attending. For example, I don’t want a woman worrying about pulling up a strapless dress. That is why all my strapless styles have interior corsets with separate zippers or significant boning – to ensure a great fit and no wardrobe malfunction! It took some time to get the right design for the Lily Dress interior corset, but it functions perfectly – and the dress looks amazing on lots of different body types.

Bespoke Southerly Holiday 2018 Lily Too Dress

What inspired your latest collection?

My brand name and dress styles were inspired by my Southern upbringing in Georgia and Virginia. Southerly means “a wind blowing from the South” and the dresses evoke Southern elegance with timeless, classic appeal. I was heavily influenced by my aunt, an elegant and fashionable woman with great style. Rather than following the trends, she invests in beautifully-made, quality items that she can enjoy from season to season. So, my collection evokes that “Southern Woman”. Perennially pulled together, the Southern Woman’s style is flirty, feminine, and elegant. And, I do take a lot of inspiration from vintage couture which has a high level of construction and utilizes fine fabrics. That is in part why this first collection is all silk. The beauty and luxury of real silk is unparalleled. It has a depth and sheen that cannot be duplicated by synthetic fabrics. And, it feels wonderful against the skin, which is why all my dresses are lined in 100% silk as well.

What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?

I’ve encountered two equally high hurdles – finding skilled labor and cutting through the clutter of available clothing. Reaching customers that will appreciate the design and quality of my dresses and are willing to purchase a small brand, made in the USA, without wide scale name recognition, is a challenge. There is still a lot of competition in terms of pricing due to overseas manufacturing and mass market clothing but they can’t compete on quality. Thankfully, there are a lot of people that enjoy discovering new brands and appreciate well-made clothing. A platform like Nineteenth Amendment is a great option for them! As apparel manufacturing in the U.S. continues to re-shore, it will help small brands find the skilled labor they need to really showcase quality and also support domestic employment.

What do you think about fashion today?

There is a lot of buzz about “slow fashion,” which is the opposite of mass-produced clothing found in most stores today and is typically made on demand. Made on-demand, or made-to-order, means less waste in the manufacturing process, including using only the materials necessary to make one dress at a time instead of creating large amounts of inventory that may never be sold. And artisan products – goods made in small batches to reflect high-quality craftsmanship – are extremely popular among consumers right now. Fast fashion’s low prices and constant stream of new items means people buy more pieces and discard them more frequently. Unfortunately, recycling is not the answer as such a small percentage of clothing is actually able to be recycled into new textiles. That is why I am proud to create investment pieces rather than throw away fashion. And made to order allows a lot of brands, including mine, to offer customization. Who wants to go on an exhaustive search for the perfect dress every time you get invited to a party? Have a few dresses in your closet that reflect your personal style and look great on you!

Bespoke Southerly Holiday 2018 Iris Dress

Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?

Funny enough, I don’t really enjoy shopping. So, I get most of my inspiration from everyday life. I people watch wherever I go and I also watch a lot of films – including classic and foreign films. People in film are dressed really well! And, of course, Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration and you can see what is trending in your category. But, mostly I just think about what I would like to wear and go from there.

Any tips and tricks of the trade?

Be nice to everyone! You would be surprised how often I run across people that have a rather negative or rude attitude. Working in fashion is fun and should make people happy. I decided I will only work with nice people and so far, it is paying off!

What is your brand aesthetic and what makes your brand unique?

My brand is elegant, timeless and feminine. The fabrics are luxurious and the dresses are beautifully made, inside and out. A Bespoke Southerly dress is a dress that feels special whenever you wear it and will ensure you are put together and confident wherever you wear it.

Shop the new collection just blown in from the South.