Jacey Duprie, the daughter of a cotton farmer and creator of the fashion blog Damsel in Dior, knows from experience that high heels don’t belong on a farm. So she did the most sensible thing to merge her two interests: design a capsule collection of all-cotton clothing with Splendid.
For the holiday season, the 32-year-old blogger is releasing Splendid x Damsel: The Cotton Collection, a six-piece line-up that includes slub tees that are deliberately worn out, a button up shirt in airy voile, a washed poplin shirtdress and wide-leg pajama pants. Blue and white stripes pep up a neutral palette of white, navy, black and olive green. Retailing from $78 to $198, the pieces are hitting the shelves at Splendid’s freestanding stores and the e-commerce sites for both Nordstrom and Splendid in November.
“This is a very personal passion project,” said Duprie, who grew up on a farm in South Texas that’s been in her family for 175 years. “I really wanted to find the right brand. Splendid felt like a natural and organic choice for me. It’s a brand I’ve always worn. It’s a beloved brand by a lot of people. They allowed me creative freedom.”
Duprie is the latest blogger to let her creativity flow in designing fashion. She first dipped her fingers in jewelry two years ago, when she channeled her obsession with clothes into creating a hanger-shaped pendant necklace and other dainty baubles for Gorjana & Griffin. Waiting until she felt the timing was right for her first fashion project, she first put out some feelers to see which brands might be interested in working with her. Eight months ago, a friend at an apparel showroom introduced her to Splendid. During the design process, she tested pieces by wearing them for 24 hours straight. “Literally, every design meeting we would go in, I would be stripping down and putting them on,” she recalled. “If I want to take that piece of clothing off, there is something wrong with it in my opinion.”
Now, she’s joining the ranks of Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine, Natalie Off Duty’s Natalie Suarez and other bloggers who have done one-off collaborations with companies ranging from Dannijo to Volcom.
“We loved Damsel’s story and her roots,” said Jenna Habayeb, vice president of marketing for Splendid, the Los Angeles-based brand owned by VF Corp. “We felt there was something beautiful about the raw simplicity of creating a cotton collection.”
One of Duprie’s goals is to establish her brand in the apparel industry for the long-term with ongoing collections. That path has been paved by Fashion Toast’s Rumi Neely, who launched her privately owned contemporary line called Are You Am I last December, as well as by Cupcakes and Cashmere’s Emily Schuman, who last month introduced a line which is named after her blog and produced under license by BB Dakota.
In the meantime, Duprie is taking steps to increase her Web site’s audience, which constitutes mainly women between the ages of 25 and 35. Last March, she revamped her six-year-old site, adding interior decor and expanding her beauty and travel posts. The overseas sales fulfilled by Splendid and Nordstrom’s e-commerce also could let her grow her international readership.
“I like to think my reader is like me,” she said, “the all-American girl next door who likes to play dress up on the weekend but doesn’t take herself seriously. She’ll invest in a good handbag once or twice a year. She relies heavily on that basic cotton T-shirt that you love and throw on a great blazer to go out.”