As you may have noticed by some of my most recent posts, I love small business. It's such an awesome thing to be able to wear and use something that was handmade with genuine care and attention to the consumer's needs and desires. That was one of my favorite things about living in Berkeley way back when.
Just a few weeks ago I was sitting around just scrolling through my Instagram feed when I stumbled across a cute outfit with a detachable collar. I'd seen something like it before, but these were different. Modern materials sewn together for modern cuts in colors everyone can actually wear. Naturally, I was intrigued. I sent a message right away to see if the brand's founders would be interested in working with me. I got a reply from Hilla within the week and began negotiating a post about their products with me. For the weeks it took the package to arrive in California (and then the time it took me to get here!) I was constantly thinking about how I would wear my newest accessory.
I don't really wear sweaters, and my closet is mostly wild prints or black, so when choosing which collar I wanted to rock all summer I decided on something black and sexy. The Alexa Black is all of those things! Because, honestly, there's no reason a collar should be matronly and NEAT clearly understands that. Here's my all black rendition of the NEAT collar. You'll for sure be seeing more of this baby as the summer goes by.
Some quick questions for the makers of NEAT collar...
1. Why Neat? Where did the name come from?
The name NEAT stands for the style and aesthetic of our brand: Clean, simple, and gives an accurate look.
We believe in a minimalistic approach, that less is more. That’s the idea behind the collar vests. We don’t have to go big with bling-bling and an extravagant vibe – it’s just the opposite. Wear a fine neat outfit with the proper collar, and you'll have a perfectly elegant look from morning till evening.
2. How do you choose your materials?
We always look for the most comfortable fabrics, elastic but also with a sturdy shape in order to avoid creasing. Our fabrics need to breathe, especially in the summer.
3.Tell us more about your brand story/history...
I (Hilla) worked as a fashion journalist and as the editor in chief of a fashion magazine here in Israel for a few years - I was literally behind the scenes of the fashion industry. The idea to open a brand just popped into my head one day as I was trying to find something to wear. I stood in front of my closet and thought to myself that a need to find this little twist that will make the difference, something that can upgrade my wardrobe instantly. I realized that the collar is the perfect solution – a little addition that can change the whole look.
I told Ido, my husband, about this idea and we decided to go for it. Neither of us was a fashion designer but throughout the years I’d managed to learn some basic tricks. So we started to think and develop this product. We consulted and used the services of many professionals in this field, from cutters to tailors until we found the perfect pattern for us. Neat was born. Each one of us focused on a different section of the product: I’m in charge on the fashion and marketing and Ido is in charge of finance, logistics and technologies. It’s important to mention that we didn’t invent the collars. "Dickies" have existed for nearly 200 years and were very popular in Europe, as well as in the US during the "turtleneck" era. The big difference between the dickie of then and now is in the design. In the past dickies were more like aprons, with no sleeve holes and a long front section that would often wrinkle under your shirt or sweater. The unique thing about our collar vest is the pattern, which we developed right here in Israel. This is a collar that dresses like a vest. It is very comfortable and suits a variety of body shapes and sizes. But most of all, it looks great under your clothes without wrinkling or shifting in shape as the day goes by.
4. What do you hope to accomplish with NEAT? Where's your brand headed?
Our customers are fashionistas from all over the world, not just Israel, most of them from 25 to 65 years old. The collar can give a quicky look to a young fashionista or a simple chic tailored look for a more mature woman (or even a business lady!). Another interesting direction for our collars has been in the religious market! There are many religious women with plenty of styles that are looking for a decent and not conservative look. Our front coverage collars are a great solution for these women, especially in the summer when extra layers can be difficult to bear. With a quite successful debut collection and a mini collection ahead of us, we hope that our clientele will keep growing.
Personally, I'm a fan of the concept and the idea that Hilla and Ido are discovering so many options for selling their cool new collars. I love the way it looks and can see myself wearing this product more than once, especially in the workplace (if I ever decide to get an office job again, that is!). My only negative pointer with this particular piece is the material on the inside of the collar. I was feeling quite sweaty in the leatherlike fabric around my neck. I'd recommend trying this is a cooler environment such as a windy autumn evening or a mall with air conditioning. :)
Get the look!
- Alexa Black collar by NEAT, $45 on Etsy
- Black swing dress by Pull & Bear (old), get this sleeveless version instead.
- "Happiness Comes From Good Design" canvas bag by Mockuuups, email me if you want one for $10.
- Black Mossimo sandlas from Target, $22
- White wiry flower necklace by francesca's