Shopping for clothing can be like finding a needle in a haystack: even when you think you've found what you're looking for, you've actually only found a really shiny piece of hay. Today's Groupon tilts the odds of a successful fashion quest in your favor: for $49, you get $129 worth of custom and boutique clothes at Evarize Cut & Sew Boutique in Berkeley.
Winner of East Bay Express's 2010 reader poll Best Designer, Evarize conjures inventive locally assembled designer duds that customers can customize to suit their own tastes by selecting from a buffet of fabrics, styles, and colors. Upon selecting a style, one of Evarize's fabric fanatics gathers personal measurements to ensure that garments conform to their wearer like a glove's aura. Shimmy gams into the Miss Priss pant's ($98) flattering and cozy wide legs or don the Molly dress ($165), whose torso-swaddling, ruffled waistline enables its wearer to hide behind vapor trails during games of hide-and-seek. The Cache sleeveless denim wrap ($198), alternately, surges around torsos and cradles craniums in a looming hood. The staff customizes most outfits to be ready for clients in 10 days—the same amount of time it takes to stop at the moon on your way to the grocery store.
Evarize Cut & Sew Boutique
Erica Varize of Evarize Fashion Café & Sewing Center greets each client to her tailor-made clothing boutique with a menu of her latest designs, described by Diablo magazine as "urban chic yet retro." The fashion entrepreneur—apprenticed by her grandmother and honored with Bank of America's 2008 local hero award—presents new designs seasonally on mannequins that play freeze tag throughout the studio. After clients select styles, Varize unrolls spools of fabric sourced from independent stores in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Africa, and invites clients to pick their favorite colors. Clipping patterns to fit each client's measurements, Varize proceeds to sew the garments and finesse them for pickup within about 10 days. Aside from designing, Varize leads a five-day summer camp for aspiring fashionistas called Sew What, which edifies pupils in patternmaking, design fundamentals and thimble-wearing technique. Summarizing the fashion-café experience, Diablo says women "from all walks of life frequent this warm, artistic space where one can get an outfit designed especially for them, or bring their children to learn an art form as well as tools to become self-sufficient." In addition to giving back to the community with classes, Varize donates a portion of MeasuRED line profits to support Uganda.