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Flamencista Flamenco Clothes Review
Those who celebrate gift-giving holidays know the anticipation and excitement of receiving a present. Those emotions are intensified for dancers when they order a custom-made costume from the dance's country of origin.
In any case, my excitement was grand as I ordered a custom skirt and top from the flamenco dance costume company Flamencista.I took all the measurements they requested, double-checking each time for accuracy, and sent them through my dance teacher for our costumes.
Imagine my disappointment, then, when they sent a top that was not only too small but misshapen. Said disappointment turned to frustration and anger when the company refused to dialogue about their mistake.
I have written articles on this site about being a beginning flamenco student as well as other flamenco-related topics:
- Beginning Flamenco: The Basic Foot Steps in Flamenco
- Beginning Flamenco: How to Produce Contra Tiempo in Compas
- Beginning Flamenco: Flamenco Shoes
- Flamenco in Art
- Beginning Flamenco: How to Prepare for Your First Performance
Additionally, I have written about flamenco-related events as a Denver Art Examiner. I also maintain a dance blog for a client. I've been dancing since I was eight -- which is more years than I'll admit to here! Suffice it to say, I know my way around a dance studio.
Naturally, Flamencista has knowledge of flamenco as well, though they are not one of the revered houses such as Don Flamenco, Gallardo or Menkes. Nonetheless, though they have not been around long, they've made a stated commitment to "Spanish craftmanship, Spanish materianl, stunning design and top quality." Indeed, their mission statement is the following:
"Our vision is to offer the most elegant, comfortable, durable and affordable flamenco products that have ever been made by providing world class customer service."
Lesson learned: A company can write whatever they want in a mission statement -- it doesn't mean they're actually going to attempt to live up to it.
Ordering a Costume
I custom-ordered my flamenco shoes from Don Flamenco. I had to take an impression of my foot, measure it and send the specifications along with my European shoe size to the company. This is a rather complex project but, despite all the figures involved, two months later I received the exact shoes I ordered and that fit my wide, flat feet perfectly.
The measurements for custom flamenco clothes are more in-depth. That said, they're also more straight-forward. When you're working from a pattern, and you have that detailed of information, adaptation should be relatively easy for a tailor.
Notice the relevant upper body measurements required:
- across the shoulders
- from neck to shoulder
- around the bust
- around the rib cage
- from shoulder to tip of the breast
- from tip of the breast to bottom of the ribcage
I sent in accurate measurements -- I still have the originals, and I've triple-checked them since receiving my top. They are accurate. Flamencista's translation of the measurements are the inaccurate aspect of the equation.
To give an example, my measurement across the shoulders is 40 centimeters. The top measures at 38 c entimeters. My measurement from shoulder to tip of the breast measures at 24 centimeters, but the top is constructed at 20 centimeters. Across the bust I needed 122 centimeters -- they gave me 104.
These inaccuracies explain why the top is completely unwearable -- and unfixable.
Poorly-Crafted Flamencista Flamenco Clothes
I admit it must be difficult to craft a custom-made costume when the customer is not available for fittings. However, Flamencista advertises that they can do so. They are supposed to be the experts. Besides, isn't that why they charge such high prices? 78 Euro -- or US $97 -- is not cheap.
Flamenco clothes are expensive, though, and you get what you pay for. Well, usually -- in this instance, I got a top clearly not constructed by anyone with knowledge of tailoring -- or even human anatomy.
It's hard to illustrate with photos the fault in the top because it's dark-colored. However, the people sewing costumes at Flamencista seem to imagine I have size B breasts floating up near my clavicles. I clearly gave them measurements for size DD breasts down on my chest where breasts are typically located, barring a botched boob job.
That poor construction is what renders the top as unfixable as it is unwearable. There is not enough fabric in the fitted bodice to increase it to my dimensions.
My mother, an excellent seamstress unfortunately sidelined now with arthritis, custom-made me clothes when I was a child. (She even designed and sewed a stunning set of Barbie clothes -- and those are some unnatural dimensions that she managed!) She also taught me to sew, though I have never reached her level of proficiency.
Likewise, I have had other items custom-made for me. Besides the afore-mentioned flamenco shoes for my wide, flat feet -- which Don Flamenco accommodated beautifully -- I had several garments designed and sewn when I lived in Morocco.
Below is an example of a custom-made dress with the Flamencista flamenco top overlaid to give an indication of just how far off the seams are.
I understand fully that I sent in measurements for a plus-sized chest. However, my understanding is that ordering custom-made costumes means you get a costume made to your dimensions. Otherwise, you buy clothing off the rack, and hope for the best.
In the end, Flamencista took on a project they clearly lacked the knowledge to complete. A reputable company would have sent me communication requesting further information or stating they were unable to complete my order. Instead, Flamencista took my money, implemented a hack tailor job and mailed me my "costume" three months later. Naturally, it is long past the time when I can dispute the charge with my credit card. So, Flamencista has my money, and I have fabric garbage also known as a Flamencista flamenco top.
Thin and flat-chested are NOT requirements for flamenco
© 2014 Nadia Archuleta