Amy Finegold’s career has taken her from Tufts University to specialty boutiques like Jasmine Sola, Serenella, and Country Road to opening her own boutique, dresscode, in Andover in 2004.
“I have just always, always loved fashion and shopping and playing dress up,” she says.
But it was a vacation to Vietnam with her husband four years ago that led her down her latest path.
Her husband wanted to have a suit made, so the couple visited a shop that was recommended to him by the hotel. Across the street, another shop caught Finegold’s keen eye for fashion. Finegold describes it as looking just like a New York City boutique. The woman working behind the counter was Anna Vo, who was not only the store’s owner but also the designer of the beautiful clothing that Finegold had admired from the window.
“I was just blown away by her talent, her poise, her presence,” Finegold says of Vo, who studied fashion at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan. Finegold and her husband wound up taking Vo and her boyfriend to dinner, where they immediately connected and discussed collaborating on a clothing line together.
Over the next few years, the two stayed in touch, and in September 2015, launched dresscode Anna Vo. The clothing line is a collaboration between the two women that focuses on “classic things with a twist.” Finegold says she always had trouble finding “good fitting, basic, tailored pieces.” And Vo has a knack for creating just that.
dresscode Anna Vo focuses on beautiful foundational pieces like pants, blazers, and vests that Finegold says can be staples of a woman’s wardrobe for years. “She has completely perfected how to make the [best] pant, jacket, and vest,” Finegold says.
The fashion line is the result of a true partnership. Vo will send Finegold sketches, and Finegold will tweak the designs to fit her own market, adjusting things like the cut, fit, or rise based on her customers’ needs and preferences.
For instance, some of Vo’s designs needed a little more room in the thigh and derrière, “and we can do that. Those are the things that we tweaked.” They also work together to choose fabrics; both women tend to gravitate toward rich solid colors.
The twice-yearly line launched in the fall, and will always carry some basic, staple pieces, including a wide-leg pant and a skinny-ankle pant, as well as blazers and vests. For spring 2016, dresscode Anna Vo will be adding items like great, fun camis, silky flowing tops, and a flowing, wider leg pant. As of January, Finegold and Vo were working on other designs together, too.
The pieces in the collection are at once sophisticated and stress-free.
“Everything’s just very easy, but it’s all about the fit,” Feingold says. “It just drapes so perfectly…That’s somewhere she’s just really talented.”
Finegold also loves that she’s able to have so much control over the line. For instance, the dresscode Anna Vo line is priced much lower than other designer brands, but still offers super-high quality and a fit that Feingold says actually surpasses that of other brands.
“I don’t want to ever make or to sell disposable clothes,” she says. Instead, these pieces “stay in your closet for 10 years…to be able to make a line that’s exactly that and at a better price point, that’s exciting.”
She can also get the clothing into her shop in real time. Instead of ordering six months in advance, she can get what she needs from Vo much more quickly.
“It’s a different opportunity,” she says. “I don’t usually have that available to me.”
Also important to Finegold is seeing how and where the clothing is actually produced. Finegold visited Vo’s workroom last year and met the people who work there, meeting the employees who produce the patterns, for instance, and those who specialize in embroidery. She saw that Vo’s staff is well paid and has benefits.
“It was fabulous to see,” she says. “It was another reminder of how similar we are. You’re really only as good as the people around you, so you really have to take care of them.”
Now, as she gets ready to launch the spring line of dresscode Anna Vo, Finegold is still marveling at the chance meeting between herself and the Ho Chi Minh City–based designer. She says collaborating on this line has been exciting and freeing.
“Wow, we’re doing this! And it’s working,” she says, adding that she feels like she’s found a kind of kindred spirit in Vo. “I have…found that a lot of things happen at the right time for the right reason.”
And she can’t wait to see what’s next.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what else she comes up with,” Finegold says.