Project Runway's Althea Harper Shares Garment Care Tips

Project Runway's Althea Harper Shares Garment Care Tips

Spring 2013 Style & Garment Care Tips

By Althea Harper, Fashion Designer and Rowenta Brand Ambassador

Black and White

Black and white was all over the runway back in September for Spring 2013 Fashion Week. It is going to be a huge trend to see the mixing of the two for a chic approach to color blocking. Of course, when you are going for such a clean look you need to make sure the execution is flawless by keeping the colors spotless and steamed. I love the Rowenta Steam Station because it is both an iron and a steamer; which is perfect when there is a mix of delicate and more structured fabrics.

Jeweled Embellishments

Fashion did not have enough fun and glamour with the holiday season, but this spring, jeweled embellishments will add a touch of glamour. The decorative element is especially popular on collars, waistbands and cuffs. Although small, I would not call them subtle as the chunky embellishments definitely make a statement. I recommend choosing pieces that are placed in areas you what to show off. For example, if you have a beautiful face, show off a neck detail. If you have a small waist, then choose an embellished waistband or great arms then go with a cap sleeve with embellished cuffs.

Go Green!

It is the season to go green, both literally and figuratively. We are all trying to do our part to help the environment and this season we can show it off in our clothing. Not only in the color green a big color for the season but designers are choosing to work with materials that are sustainable. I devoted a whole second line to working with organic bamboo jersey that I hand dye in ways that is safe for the environment, Sitella. These pieces are easy to throw in the wash and give a quick steam and they are comfortable and stylish. I recommend the Rowenta Hand Held Steamer for an easy steam; it's small, heats up quick and lightweight.

Macrame and Laser Cuts

Macrame and laser cuts were also another trend that was frequently spotted on the runway. These pieces are beautiful, feminine and chic- but can be extremely expensive! Cost-saving tips include looking for pieces where a small portion of the garment is macrame or laser cut such as the sleeves, or if you love the detailed look all over look choose a fabric alternative such as lace or embroidered cotton with eyelets. If you are in love with a luxury fabric but not willing to pay the luxury price then purchase the fabric from a specialty fabric store and take it to a seamstress or sew up a simple dress yourself!

Bold and Floral Prints

Bold prints have been popular for the past few seasons and this season is no exception. Even more surprising is that floral prints are growing in popularity. However, a bit intimidating floral prints are actually extremely easy to wear. Choose a non literal floral print as those can come across a bit dated and I recommend picking a silhouette that fits loose to the body and adding a belt if you feel a bit lost in it. Of course, this is another piece that I recommend giving a quick steam. Rowenta has a new garment steamer with a hanger and netting attached so you can protect your hands from getting burned!

Boyfriend Pants

Haven't had time to swap out your winter wardrobe for spring? No worries, just roll up your jeans or pants for an instant spring look! This relaxed look is pulled together with cute oxford shoes or a great pair of flats and an easy t-shirt, light weight sweater or oversized blazer.

There has always been the trend of wearing your boyfriends tee or button up and now wearing your boyfriend's pants the trend. Skinny jeans and straight legs are not going anywhere anytime soon but oversized pants are also gaining popularity. This style looks great in various fabrications and looks from wide leg silk. Make sure they are long enough to hit the floor, if flooding opt to wear with flats instead. Cargo pants look great rolled with heels. Most importantly, when wearing anything oversized it needs to be pressed or steamed to avoid looking like a slob! Nothing with take this look from chic to total mess faster than fabric wrinkles.

Below are a few garment steamers and irons that will help freshen and de-wrinkle clothing.

DG5030 Steam Station: Used on Project Runway

  • · An iron and garment steamer in one
  • · Can help save up to $1,200/yr in unnecessary dry cleaning
  • · Ideal for large batch ironing

Eco Intelligence Iron: For the Eco-Friendly Fashionista

  • Steam iron combines ironing efficiency and energy savings
  • 100% efficiency, 25% energy savings
  • New patented Microsteam400 3De soleplate helps concentrate steam
  • Exclusive steam optimization system offers 3 settings

First Class Travel Iron: Fits into purses

  • · Compact / easy storage
  • · Doubles as a garment steamer
  • · Ideal for last minute touch ups and wrinkle release

IS6300 Master Valet Full Size Garment Steamer

with Exclusive Roll and Press Support

  • · Exclusive vertical support for improved results & optimized ergonomics in use
  • · High steam output and wide diffusion from large steam head for quick and efficient wrinkle removal
  • · Unit heats up in just 60 seconds and is ready to use
  • · Large hanger for shirts and jackets
  • · Suitcase inspired, the steamer base can be tilted onto its back wheels and rolled using the handle
  • · Holds 1 gallon of water for up to 1 ½ hours of prolonged, continuous steam
  • · Included fabric brush, lint pad and steam bonnet for added convenience

Althea Harper is a fashion designer and entrepreneur who manages her own fashion line, ALTHEA HARPER. She was also a contestant on Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars. Althea has worked alongside iconic designers such as Tory Burch, Anna Sui and Vivienne Westwood. She is also a brand ambassador for Rowenta ( the leading manufacturer in high-performance steam irons, steam stations and garment steamers. Rowenta is the official garment care provider for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.