So a bit of time has passed, but I really wanted to post a review on the Mario JSK I received from Vitae Clothing a short while ago.
As far as I'm aware, no reviews have been done for Vitae, and definitely not this print! So it's about time someone did a review :3 She needs more exposure IMO!
So I first became aware of Vitae when I saw a picture from a convention, in which a girl was wearing an amazing co-ord completely themed around the side scrolling world of Super Mario Bros.
I am a massive video game fan, and I loved the fact that it was a subtle style, but still very recognisable, so it definitely looked like lolita and not cosplay.
I got in contact with them, and it turned out they were going to do a limited run of the Mario print, so I jumped on the preoder.
I had an option of OP, JSK or skirt with the addition of a themed bag.
I chose the JSK with a star shaped bag.
**Just note that I was part of the first run, and since then, she's improved processes and done another round or two of the print**
Ordering and Shipping 4/5
The preorder was done through oz_lolita, so it was as simple as me giving my measurements and what style I wanted, and she then set me up with a custom order through Etsy. I was a bit unsure about sizing, but she was extremely helpful in reassuring me that it would fit.
After ordering, the fabric needed to be ordered and the items needed to be made, so this took a while, but nothing longer than expected. I was quite impressed with her turn around.
She is also based in Australia, so shipping was reasonable and I received my package about a week after she'd sent it.
I received it in a sturdy packing bag, inside a really cute pink bag with a lovely note from the designer, along with an extra surprise of some matching star earrings!
Unfortunately, upon receiving the JSK and trying it on, it was about a size 6, and not a size 10 as I'd ordered. I contacted Vitae, and she was extremely apologetic and confused as to how that could have happened, so she offered to pay for me to send it back, and she'd make another in the right size. This was fine, but it did extend the garment timeline a little.
It was a bit more expensive that what I was used to, however it is a unique print, completely hand made, and something that directly appeals to me, so the money was well spent.
Construction and Quality 3/5
The JSK, headbow and detachable bow and bag were both constructed really well; fully lined, nice stitching and properly put together, however I did notice a few things upon inspection.
One was that there seemed to be small white dots all through the print, like there was fluff that was still on the fabric while being printed, that then fell off.
The other was the the invisible zipper would constantly get stuck around the waist where the skirt gathered and attached to the bodice.
On top of that, when the blue part of the print got in contact with moisture of any sort, it would run and transfer onto other garments, ie. blouses.
I contacted Vitae again, and she explained that the zip problem was common with using invisible zips, but she was unsure as to why the dots were on the fabric, or as to why the dye was running. She's ordered the fabric through Spoonflower, and they were generally unhelpful to fix her problem so she stopped using them, and to my knowledge, she'd now using an Australian printer with an excellent standard of quality.
I know that the fabric printing process was out of her control, so I wasn't too worried about that.
I've ordered her Katamari print since this, and I had none of the previous problems at all.
The white dots are still on the print but they're generally unnoticeable. I took the JSK to an alterations shop to get the zip replaced, and after a couple of washes, the dye has settled down and doesn't transfer.
I was 110% impressed with the support, dedication and helpfulness I was offered when dealing with Vitae. She goes to an extra amount of effort to help you whenever it's possible, and is happy to go that extra step to make sure you're completely satisfied.
For a first experience with an indie designer, it may have been a little more painful than it should have been, but at no point did Vitae ever tell me it was my problem, and I have happily ordered through her again, knowing I was in safe hands (and I haven't had any problems since, either)
I'd recommend her to anyone that wants a lovingly made garment with references to pop culture :)