Hack The Rack

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 6 years—a long time on the internet. Dated info and offers may no longer apply. Some technical info might be outdated. Please feel free to post a comment with any updated info .

“Hack the Rack” is a design hack celebrating the artisan, beginning with craft of custom dressmaking and open to all forms of specialized shelf items. The goal is engineering  QUALITY, FIT, HERITAGE TECHNIQUES, to meet the needs of consumers and lastly ETHICS – there is a subtle difference between an inspiration and  a knock off

hack the dress for yOUR body 1I often get sent images like the dress in this image and asked,
“what is this, can you do something like it”
I never copy another designers idea however .Thru a series of questions and our stylecanvas worksheet I usually can satiate their desire. In this case I suspected that this was an engineered novelty knit.

As a child, I watched women pull tear-sheets and bring it to my mom to make for them. Usually the items were NOT available for them to purchase and if they were they were not available in the size. Not everyone has a figure like that of the Proenza Schouler Spring 2016 models or Lupita Nyong’o. I’d always to called on to decipher the dress. One can say that I started hacking early.

I love hacking clothing – Not the BS “I refuse to learn “cause I’m too fly to take advice” but the “this is really great! How can we change it , improve it Honor it!” I did it in my mom’s sewing shop I did it in college, I still do it with colleagues and with customers… “how do you think this is made” and/or “can we do this but “different”

Essentially what we did as custom designers and dressmakers was make the product meet the consumers needs we were “Hacking the rack”, as they appeared in magazines and catalogs. Today tear sheets are social media and these queries are posted in groups and timelines.

So what exactly does a hack entail and how do I host that online – well the customer is usually attracted to everything but at least one aspect. So the ask for a change  in one or more of these.

  • The color
  • The cut
  • The fabrication
  • The construction process


  • Color – Usually the call is to change  the color of the item to say  complement a shoe or handbag. Often it’s to create something in a particular  color.  In both cases it’s best to do a color analysis  of client needs first. What looks great in a magazine shoot may not  go across well at the office.
  • Cut – This is where skill really comes in and sometimes in Custom design you literally  will need to  talk the client into a better choice for their body type. In a store, the buyer needs to keep abreast of body shifts in their consumer  locales.  Online  at least to me, it’s about  helping creating  versions to meet different body types.
  • Fabrication – Let’s face it few women can carry off that see-thru look.  so the question here is about achieving the  “look”.
  • The construction process – For makers it’s about  getting a pattern to crochet or hand knit . For many it’s about changing an aspect- in this case it was the “wrap” portion. The question posed can this be done in a wider skirt, yes a wrap semi flare. Another  can it be done in a crochet or knit… Yes to both but with someone who had exceptional skill!

In all cases “copying” or knocking off is not what I  like to see or do…

Sometimes the hack is meeting a need that does not seem to exist. In  either case, I  decided to start a private newsletter under our NYukCO project posting all the hacks and info.remeber to sign up for my newsletter to be notified of its launch
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This Novelty take on “Fish Net” Fabric from the Proenza Schouler Spring 2016 Collection on Lupita’s Instyle April 2016 cover is currently on the designers site listed as

EMERALD Off the Shoulder Waisted Dress –
Mesh knit long sleeve off the shoulder wrap dress with tie at waist. Includes black slip. 90% viscose, 9% polyester, 1% lycra. Made in Italy.
$3,250.00 – Images from InStyle.com and ProenzaSchouler.com

and as usual remember to SUBSCRIBE
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Posted in hacktherack, Rethinking Production.