If you’ve been to Chicago, chances are good you’ve seen the Bean, the Skydeck, Navy Pier, and the 26-foot statue of Marilyn Monroe with her dress rising up behind her. Marilyn’s face shows precious little concern at her predicament, as she pushes the front of her dress down, and with eyes closed, smiles skyward.
Good on Marilyn. For Simone Magee of Dress Downs, a similar up-up-and-away moment in the middle of a busy Windy City thoroughfare didn’t elicit quite the same reaction. As she struggled across the street with her hands full, a gust caught her hem just right, and in a split second her skirt was all up around her waist, and there was not a thing she could do about it.
Or was there? The idea of a garment weight took hold and would not let go. Pretty soon she made the decision to pursue the design, production, and marketing of what would become Dress Downs, a reusable garment weight to keep skirts and dresses from riding up or blowing up.
Dress Downs was launched in 2017, and Simone received the Chicago Tribune Big Idea Award for Art and Design that same year.
Looking back over the wild ride of the last several years, Simone told a reporter for her alma mater, “From notebook to now, every day something happens that makes me more and more fired up!”