Feeling Good about Feeding the Fashionista in Your Girl with Fashion Playtes

You know that look on the face of a little girl offering up her latest artistic creation full of pride and anticipation of your response… “I made it for you,” she whispers as she drops that finger painting or play doh sculpture into your lap and plants a wet kiss on your cheek.  “Do you like it?” she asks basking in your praise…then she is gone and back again, this time dressed-up with your sequin shawls and stiletto heels, asking “How do I look?”… waiting for you to respond “Devine, darling!” Lesson here: Little girls want to create, they want to express themselves and they want to share their uniqueness with the world... and Fashion Playtes is a marvelous way to do just that and spend some quality time together at the same time. Fashion Playtes a is new website, a new cyber-creative experience for girls that is all about letting her uniqueness shine through…and it is oh so much fun! Imagine the sense of pride and accomplishment as a girl discovers that she can design her own clothes, in her own size, in styles that you would actually let her wear out of the house and even to school. Imagine her glee as she realizes that her designs, those creative wonders of femme fashionista glam and glitz that she just created on-line, can actually be made into real clothes which she can wear, exactly as she designed them. She can even have her own designer label for the clothing she designs…

Honestly, as the mother of a diva-in-the-making, It sounded too good to be true but Fashion Playtes is the real deal. You sit down with your girlie girl and create a log-in so that you can save your designs…and then the fun begins! You pick a piece of apparel (that fancy for clothing!) together and then you select among available sizes and colors…then, oh then you can work with her or sit back and let her creativity reign selecting appliqués, rhinestones, ruffles, lace,  tulle trim and countless other frilly-silly-oh-so-girlie details that make her piece unique. The website has a simple interface which steps you both easily through the design process until her design is completed, then Fashion Playtes invites her to create her own label…her personalized brand. Plug in your billing information and the order process is quick and easy.

Maya could not wait to try out Fashion Playtes. I set up our account and then talked her through the clothing choices to select one piece, a “Samantha” camisole, and then I sat back and watched her work through her design selections offering guidance when asked and discussing how 'costs' are affected by her design choices. She needed to prioritize between a decal or a flower and choose between the embellishments based on how they can be combined according to some 'behind the scenes' rules that are build-into the design interface.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMdDMSZkPaM&w=425&h=349]

20 minutes later, Maya had proudly designed a dress (no no, a camisole) that was distinctly Maya. Maya named her ‘fashion playte,’ her label, her distinct and unique brand: “Beautifulist by Maya Elektra”…I love it! Once she was done reveling in her lovely design, she stepped back and I entered our billing and shipping information. Pricing is like pizza…a base price for each piece of apparel and then additional for each frill... like the toppings. Maya had a lot of 'extras.' Take a look....

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dunAdUcYJ88&w=425&h=349]

Maya could not wait to share her design on my facebook account so her grandmother and aunt’s would see it. What a surprise when Maya’s first “Beautifulist” design was chosen by Fashion Playtes as one of their “designs of the week” and her design was featured on their Facebook page. When Fashion Playtes choses a girls design, they e-mail the parent to extend the offer to feature a photo of the young designer wearing her creation on their Facebook page (with parental approval, of course!). Take a look at some of Maya’s photos…she had a hard time deciding which to submit.

A few days after our order was submitted (and Maya was driving the post man crazy! waiting for her special delivery), I got a 'Between the Seams' e-mail which acknowledged our order and explained a bit more about the production process that occurs between the time Maya and I clicked 'submit' and the much awaited moment when our doorbell rings and the mailman hands over a package addressed to Maya herself. It is a great touch! I read it to Maya and we discussed a bit more about clothing manufacture and the concept of  'quality.' I would love for Fashion Playtes to share a few videos about the production process so kids can see how their clothing is made.

On the day the package arrives…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utsdwwH-RiQ&w=425&h=349]

This is it! You read the return address and know it is from Fashion Playtes so wait for them to get home from school before you open it…it will be worth it! Get the camera ready, because you don't want to miss the expression of shear pleasure and pride as she tears into that envelope to find her creation wrapped in pretty printed tissue paper, sealed with a sticker and accompanied with a glittery Fashion Playtes Key Chain and a card just for her! Maybe she tears into the paper, or maybe, like Maya, she opens it ever so daintily…but regardless, once she recognizes her creation ‘in the cloth’ in her lap, she is going to scream, giggle and hug you all simultaneously. It is a thrilling moment to see the pride in her eyes… “Hey look what I made…and it’s just for me!” (but you still get the wet kiss planted on your cheek). Check out Maya modeling her Samantha Camisole (which I forgot was a camisole not a dress...so she will be wearing out of the house with capris!).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uByDZnBl4kc&w=425&h=349]

Fashion Playtes creations are well made. I pulled on the stitching and the lace, frills, tulle and whatnot. I scratched at the rhinestones and they remained intact. I will not dry it since the sizes are true sizes and I want to avoid shrinking it or destroying the design but I think it is sturdy enough for a day at the playground or around town. The embroidered flower is pinned on so it can be removed for washing (good thought!) and the seams are well done.

Base apparel prices are in the range of The Children’s Place and once you add your extra’s are in the range of Kids Gap but I the experience of designing an outfit with your girl is priceless. Watching her design her own Avatar on Fashionplaytes.com should be equally special. Maya and I have not done it yet but we will soon.

Fashion Playtes offers gift certificates and supports split shipping/billing addresses making it an ideal gift for any little girl you know. Fashion Playtes offers many apparel choices and accessories galore, but my all time favorites are the matching girl and doll ensembles. We have not ordered one of those yet but Maya’s birthday is coming up and that is what she wants most…an outfit she designs for herself and her American Girl doll. I may get her cousin a matching gift certificate so they can create matching outfits and maybe even a joint co-designer label. Since I am comfortable with Net-Meeting, Skype, Face Time and the like, we can set up a video work session between the girls to collaborate on their design even though they live far from one another.

My next favorite is called ‘the violet’ a hand dyed, personalized messenger bag which serves as a school bag, an overnight bag for slumber parties and a tech bag for when Maya needs to go out and wants to take a portable tech toy like the Leapster LeapPad or our iPad 2 and some headphones.

Maya loves her 'Beautifulist' design so much that she wanted to do her own fashion shoot. Here a a few shots...

If you want to see which one made the Fashion Playtes "design of the week" post, then check out their Facebook page.