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Clockwork Couture: Not Actually Couture | Haute Macabre

Clockwork Couture: Not Actually Couture

Over the past few week, I’ve noticed half a dozen posts pop up around the ‘web regarding Clockwork Couture – a new incarnation of Goth Magazine.  People have been singing praises to this website, which has neglected to mention one detail – none of its wares are, in fact, couture.

Couture implies custom made, one of a kind high fashion pieces, yet many of the clothes you see on this site are mass-produced. Case in point: this jacket. I bought this exact piece for $60 two years ago at Pop Killer here in LA. It’s made by Double Zero. These boots are by Pleaser USA,  this skirt is by Heavy Red – a company Goth Magazine founder Donna Ricci has been long-affiliated with. Check out the matching description!

So there is no Clockwork Couture “line”, but there is no shame in being a retail store, either. So why the “couture” label? I’m certain people would happily shop here without terms like “fashion house” (in the “about us” section) misleading them. We appreciate you getting all this stuff in one easy-to-search place! I’m actually considering this jacket, provided I find replacement buttons. And the aforementioned Pleaser boots.

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28 Comment

  1. I agree with the posters about the supposed originality of clockwork coutures items. I have been surfing steampunk sites as of late, and 8/10 times I’ll find a piece on another website that’s supposed to be one of a kind. Pssht right! Also, most of their clothing looks incredibly cheap, as in poorly made. That’s the only explanation I can come up with as to why their supposed ‘corsets’ are less than $100!
    I call Shinanigans!

  2. Thank you for finally saying this! I was about to e-mail the owner and tell them that they should mention they’re getting their clothes mainly from fanpulsefriend.com. False advertisement!

    Also, most of the things I have purchased from them are made in Mexico and not LA where the shop is located.

  3. I came across this blog when looking for a pair of boots I found on that website, but they seem to be out of stock… I was wondering if you knew what the actual brand was or if you knew where I could find them… I know it’s a long shot, but I’ve been scouring the internet and can’t find ANY other website selling them in the size I need… (either 8.5 or 9 since they say order 1/2 inch above, in fact 9.5 would be fine too probably, maybe a little big… but at this point that’s fine)

    http://clockworkcouture.com/?q=node/325
    These are the boots.

  4. If we look at things your way, attacking another web site because of their name is hardly “high class” so you’ve completely lost the right to call yourself “haute” but the fact that you attack them is pretty “ghastly” so I guess you’ve got the “macabre” part down.

    Okay, all snide comments aside: It’s a name. Just like “Haute Macabre” is a name. It’s being used to elicit a certain set feeling and/or set of mental images. Just like you with your “Haute Macabre” they are trying to sell their product. To me this article just seems like an attack on someone you feel threatened by not an actual informative essay. I know what “Couture” means. I know that they aren’t “couture” by industry standards but I also know that they aren’t trying to claim it either. So either you are attacking a rival or you are just taking it too literally. This sort of behavior is hardly professional nor is it going to gain you any real following in the long run. I sincerely hope that this seemingly vindictive article dosen’t loose you any business and/or friends because it would be a shame if it did.

  5. Turtle you write as though what she says doesn’t bother you, ‘oh it was funny’. Why are you looking up every site that her website is talked about trying to bash her? Your being rude and whether she said these things or not you admitted on another site that she didn’t mean these things for you. How do you know what was going on in her life at that moment, that she wasn’t duly angry at someone else thinking it was you and you got the brunt of it. Especially since she said lesbian and you being a man you should get over it and stop making a bad name for yourself. Everybody makes mistakes and when you never make any kind of mistake then you can start bashing people. But seeing as you can’t even forgive I’m taking it that you make some of the biggest mistakes in life and therefore should not be bashing and throwing insults, and yes what your doing is an insult worse that what she did. For she didn’t even know she was yelling at the wrong person. Grow up.

  6. I just had the most unprofessional experience with Donna Ricci, the so-called owner of this “fashion house”.

    Clockwork couture constantly does fake posts on communities where it’s a an adverstising post made to look like a discussion post. This one was about earth day and about recycling with of of course links to clockwork couture because buying clothes from them saves the earth? When I responded I did my part by buying from local stores and local designers and by making my own clothes and only buying online for unique items, Donna Ricci responded with the following message which she then deleted along with my comment:
    “when you pull that stick out of your ass, please recycle it. ”
    While it was funny, I have to say it was also totally unprofessional and the personal email that followed was even better.

    I sent her a private message that if she wanted to be a professional business women she need to start acting like one.

    To which her reply below was that I was not like the pretty and happy lesbian she knows who support each other and other comment about the unhappy life I have.

    As a gay male I am kind of confused as to why I would want to be a pretty lesbian but again she missed the point about being a professional.

  7. something everyone should know..
    In the US and Canada all textile manufactures (that includes designers having their designs made for them) must include content labels these content labels have a number of legal requirements.
    The most note worthy are:
    – material content (fibres included eg cotton, poly etc..)
    – care intructions
    – manufacture details. !!!

    the manufacturer details can be included in 2 ways.
    1. the manufacturers business name, address, and details must be included in full on the tag.
    2. the manufacturer can register for an ID number (In the US it is a RA#, and in Canada a CA#)

    Most credible companies opt for choice 2, because of a number of factors..
    what this means for you is that you can check the content label in any of you garments and locate the RA or CA number and do a government search for the records related to the manufacturer.
    If you are in question of the manufacturer of a garment for any reason this can help you identify the manufacturer.

    to search for the RA# (USA):
    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/rn/index.shtml

    to search for the CA# (Canada):
    http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/h_02575.html

    I hope you find this useful.

  8. I’m thinking they were most likely going for a fashion related alliteration… As I recall, when they first put the site together, they said they were trying to assemble pieces to make them easier to find for those interested in steampunk. They never claimed that they were one-of-a-kind, or anything of the sort.

  9. Actually it is only haute couture that needs to be licensed, couture does not. It does have overtones of custom designing and quality, which is why people use the term. What clockwork couture seem to offer would be what is known as pret-a-porter, which was also offered by haute couture houses and was considered couture, just not haute.
    Also where is your evidence that thes items ar not produced in the US? Claiming something is made in a country when it is not IS misleading and should be covered by consumer protection legislation.

  10. “Haute Couture” is the proper way of implying custom made, one of a kind high fashion pieces.
    “Couture” implies fashion or clothing.
    Both terms are often misued and overused and though Couture is overused, it is correctly used for this company name if they simply sell clothing(I have not seen the website).
    If you intend on bashing someone for their use of a term, you need to know what you are talking about first.

  11. I could not care less about their name and how legitimate it is or isn’t. It seems like they post an ad on LJ steamfashion almost daily as of late and I think that’s really excessive. I know they were doing some promotions, but I think people know about their store and they should be sending promos out to an opt-in mailing list or make their own LJ comm for the interested. I am on steamfashion primarily to see how people put things together and see things people have made but lately there have been so many ads I have almost left a few times. When I first joined it seems like ads were a rarity. I know the economy is tough right now, but it is still annoying.

  12. I have to say the most annoying thing about the whole thing is that, they claim that all of the designs are their own and that they have them made by costuming houses in LA.

    I really do not understand how can somebody claim that they are design house, and that everything is made in US, when clearly its not.
    I hate when people are trying to be fishy to make themselves look better.
    Simple truth would be much better and leave less questions about their business practices.

    I am glad somebody finally pointed out the annoying misuse of ‘Couture’

  13. Eh, it’s a cheap shot to include the word even if you are Givenchy or Elie Saab, but it’s tossed about so willy nilly these days. In closing, Juicy Couture does it, so why not?

  14. Wow that just sounded highly critical didn’t it? I think that on the whole it is probably a pretty decent place with off the rack items… and like Drea said, we can’t all afford to have stuff made (I certainly can’t) so it’s great there is a retail junket taking on some of the more popular aspect of the dress and providing them to the masses. But I too feel like their name is a major misnomer … almost like they themselves aren’t content with the fact that they are a mass retail site, and not hosting specialty creations instead.

  15. You can still do alliteration without using Couture. What about Clockwork Creations or something like that. I agree that “couture” is a term that is VERY much abused. Ironically, Project runway has even been guilty of misusing this term, and they of all people should know better. They’ve had at least one “couture” gown” challenge in the past, and if I recall correctly they defined “couture” as being a garment that used high quality fabrics, was painstakingly designed, and was impeccably crafted.
    As for the site you posted about, I have never been there prior to today, but I had heard buzz about it. These are my first impressions:
    – for a site that labels itself “couture” they sure didn’t invest a lot of time in the web design. The site design does not inspire a lot of trust. The banner images are not really integrated well into the site, and the header of all things in pixilated when it should be clear.
    – The product images are nice and make me instill a little bit more trust in the site.
    – It is highly annoying that I cannot see the item prices on the “detail” pages though unless I add them to the “steam” cart or jump back to the gallery view. I love web “window” shopping, but I also like to be able to see what things cost without going out of my way to do so. This subtracts points.
    – They have some very awesome looking ladies tops … points added
    – The About Us is great talking about them being fashionatas and everything, but the items on teh site do not reflect what they are saying. The items look mass produced and make me think that they are a site simply hosting what someone else designed in made … they could be made in China or Bangladesh for all I know. The prices of many of the garments reflects this assumption. The About Us, though, leaves us with the impression that they make the clothes (or at least design then and send them off to be made). The prices, however, are far to low for this kind of thing to be done. they never actually tell us about them as a site or about the clothes … just a lot of vague generalities. If I compare it to a place like http://www.retroscope.com for example. Retroscope does not have the best site design, but the quality of the items is apparent, and they are very upfront about their creation process.

    I don’t know … I’m not to certain about this site. They have some very fun items, but I’m left with a “Steampunk Hot Topic” feel.

  16. I am glad you wrote this article. The way people have tossed “couture” into things lately has been bugging the crap right out of me and I wondered if I was the only one. One of your reply-ers (reply-ees?) did make an interesting point about alliteration but I still think terms with specific definitions ought not be in the name of a company unless the word is truly descriptive of the company’s offering. It makes the company seem significantly less knowledgeable to their chosen market.

  17. I agree they shouldn’t say “Couture” if it isn’t but some of us can’t affard custom clothing so, hey…what ever makes it easier for me to get a hold of.

  18. Wow, great speed in covering this! I had slightly mixed feelings from the beginning–a few of their things look nice, but some are also questionably cheap-looking. But hey, on the plus side, they do sell aviator caps, which is really making me question whether or not I’d actually wear one out and about…

    As for the “couture” in the title…maybe they were just taking advantage of the marketing benefits provided by alliteration?

  19. Couture dosen’t even mean custom made. technically, “couture” garments are garments that are made by companies that are liscenced “couture” by the French government. There are only 10 french houses and 3 international houses that are technically, really couture. ANYTHING else that says it is, by legal defininition, is not. There is no such thing as american couture, there is not a single american fashion house that is a liscenced couturier. Gaultier, Dior and Channel are 3 of the official couture houses… but I can’t remember the others off the top of my head

  20. I have to admit that the posts on steamfashion have been annoying the crap out of me, because it’s not couture and,frankly, some of it looks quite cheap.

  21. Mmmmm….that jacket is droolworthy…me likey!
    Oooh-without sounding too much like one of those anal wankers who leave snide comments about grammer, I thought I’d better mention that there’s a funny typo up there: “cockwork couture” *juvenile snicker*

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