The design process establishes every conversation, bolt of fabric, and meeting you will pursue for a full collection. Establishing this individual process is what can set the tone for your collection and brand when every season arises. Not only does a collection have to be cohesive, but your brand has to be cohesive. Every collection has to be cohesive with your previous collections. This is what will help you identify your niche, customer, and image in the market. A design process is the template to ensure every collection will fit with your signatures. However, it also leaves room to grow as you emerge into the industry.
My design process for my collections always begins with establishing a mood and an atmosphere that fits with the clientele’s lifestyle and my design aesthetic. For example, my inspiration is the New York City woman spending an evening in the brightly lit city, and by day working and pursuing business in Paris. If you have a vision, act upon it and let it drive the sketches. Cycling your inspiration through a consistent thought process every season can eventually lead you to developing a signature lifestyle, clientele, and aesthetic. This will also help people recognize your brand without seeing the label.
How to Design a Fashion Collection
If you are trying to create a design process for your own fashion label, follow my tips to help establish your design thought process:
Who Are You Designing For?
Do not limit your designs because you are designing for every women or the client that represents only 2% of the population. Select your brand’s target audience to open up your thinking and leave room for creativity. It can be anything from the laid-back student, to the thirty-year-old city-dwelling working woman.
Where is The Customer Going?
When I am designing, I first determine where the customer would wear the clothing. Is she going from classes to family dinners, or work to city dates?
What Inspires Your Designs?
Once you’ve established who and where, you can determine what inspires the pieces. In my personal design process, the customer’s destination is what inspires the clothing, from material to color scheme. Try to find new inspirations that will take you in a new direction.
How Does the Collection Tie Together?
A collection that is cohesive is the difference between it being visually appealing and visually appalling. If you compare it to literature, a story that has too many ideas and plots that do not tie together with one overall theme, can lead to a hot mess. Keep your ideas minimal by selecting small things that are in every look. Selecting a consistent color scheme is another element that ties it all together. The last element to keep minimal is the number of different materials in the collection. Do not choose silk, fur, sequins, and brocade. Instead, opt for one statement fabric, print, or texture. Pair the statement fabric with a few solids, or basics, such as silk chiffon, crepe de chine, or georgette.
How Well Are Your Designs Communicated?
How the sketches appear is almost as important as the clothing. In some designer’s look books, line sheets, and portfolios, the only element is the sketch, or flat sketch, for each piece. Taking classes on sketching professional croquis (French word for a style of sketched models that have elongated proportions), also known as fashion illustration, can immensely improve the communication when translating your designs to life. It can also improve the overall image of your brand.
Want more fashion forward tips? Please connect with me on Facebook and Twitter! I plan to share regular articles about my design process and fashion entrepreneurship via Fashion Mingle so stay tuned for more stories.
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