Berry Fit Company
Something a lot of people look forward to every year is to see the coveted new queen’s outfit. The custom design is created each year by none other than Berry Fit, the official wardrobe provider of our All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen. With unique colors, textures, and patterns, each new outfit is better than the last, and never ceases to amaze us all. We are ever grateful to owner, Carolyn Berry and designer, Polly Vandall for the beautiful and unique work in which they continue to outfit the Queen. We were lucky enough to catch up with Carolyn and Polly to learn a little more about our wonderful sponsor.
Giving us an inside look at Berry Fit, Carolyn shared some background information on her company.
Berry Fit has been in business for over 30 years now. Polly added that it has been interesting watching the horse show world couture evolve over that time frame! From minimal decoration, to solid sequins, to extremely detailed stoned up, airbrushed pieces of art.
They make over 150 outfits each year, each one uniquely different. Their production team can handle three outfits each week and are always busy.
The inspiration for the designs comes from a variety of ways; however, as with true designers, it comes right out of their head and from “doodling” or playing with colors and lines. Polly shared that she gets her inspiration from very odd places and odd times. “When you have a creative brain, it comes in waves and it flows very naturally. Many times an idea comes from something that has nothing to do with clothes or the horse industry at all. No matter what the design, I always have ‘shape’ in the background as my canvas. Enhancing and hiding is the name of the game.”
Regarding trends, Carolyn says that the trends are reflective of street-wear trends in a modified way. Just watching the classes suggests new ideas for collars and hemlines and frankly it most often just “feels” like the time is right to try something else. Polly agreed that trends are pretty simple to pick up on because that is what she is always watching. Some are major and others are subtle. And some, she says with a laugh, “I totally won't do”. More so than just following or creating trends, though, Polly likes to think of it as change, and always offering personal attention and staying unique.
Carolyn explained, “I like to think that we don’t ‘sell’ show clothes, but rather that we help a client express their personality in a garment that will also perform a needed function if desired. For example, most women want to look taller and thinner. Through talking with a client and watching her, I am able to see her personality and from experience, I am able to suggest attractive designs and complimentary color combinations for her”. Very similarly, Polly works with many clients to get to know their personalities. It is important to know how conservative or how bold they will go. All of this is done while keeping in mind their coloring, the horse, and remembering that the overall picture is most important. Sometimes clients come with ideas in mind and leave it to her to roll with, and other times they have no ideas and leave it all in her hands.
We can tell that the ladies of Berry Fit are passionate about the beautiful outfits they craft for the Queen. Polly shared, “The Queen's outfit always takes some thought. She needs to be clean, comfortable, and stunning. She makes a statement! She has an entirely different look than an exhibitor. I love the combination of the skirt as it gives me a larger canvas”. Carolyn added that it is sometimes difficult designing for the queen, but fun to have the freedom to do what they want without parameters to follow.
As for projects, they always have some going that are exciting to see come into being. Berry Fit Company is currently working on a new program: “Berry Fit for Life”. In this program, Berry Fit will “buy” back a garment (new or consigned) if returned to us within 2 years of purchase. The trade in from that outfit can be used as credit toward a new one (new or consigned). Details will soon be on their website and Facebook page.
Thank you to both Carolyn Berry and Polly Vandall of Berry Fit Company for sharing all of this with us. We cannot wait to see the show-stopping design you will have this year!