CREATING A [FASHION] COLLECTION PART I:
PICKING A CATEGORY, SEASON, AND RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH!
January 7, 2015 ~Alizarin Crimson
Welcome wonderful ladies and gentlemen! You are here for various reason, but one thing is clear: you have some interest in fashion, or at least interested in creating a collection of something. Since I know more about fashion than some other subjects someone would make a collection for, many of my examples will reflect as such.
I can’t tell you how many parts this series will have right now, but I will try to go in depth as much as possible, with revisions as I go along.
Each blog post in this How-To series will flow with steps associated with the part’s topic followed by my personal example for each step. At the end of each post, there will be links to all the other parts (older posts will be edited to include the links to the subsequent parts), as well as a list of resources for further reading/researching (these links may have already been included in the how-to, but it will be categorized in a more easily looked format ❤ ).
I will tell you straight out, making a collection, if you’re truly serious about it, takes a lot of work, research, and thought. It may come easier to some people, but that doesn’t mean they do less work – if anything, they’ve done more.
*~In this blog post, I will cover the beginning formative aspects of your collection. Please also note, my way going about a collection is not the only way, but perhaps it will work for you~ Feel free to message me at any time if you would like help (or you just aren’t following the way I’m explaining something).~*
NOTE: Depending on your workflow, or where you are in the process, you may not do these steps in the same order. (I jump around all the time myself.) If you don’t have anything to start with, follow the steps, and revise as you go along!
NOTE 2: I apologize now if something doesn’t make much sense. If you have trouble following along, or need more visual references, please contact me and I’ll try to explain it better!
Now on to the damn tutorial!
STEP 1: DECIDE ON WHAT TYPE OF COLLECTION YOU WANT
This part is pretty important, in my opinion. Chances are, you already have your answer, but it’s have you written it down yet? No? You should go do that. Like right now.
The reason why this is important is that an accessories collection is going to look vastly different in approach compared to a menswear collection. You don’t have to set this choice in stone, as you may change once you do more research – good word of advice: be adaptable.
Some ideas for collection types:
- Evening Wear
- Athletic Apparel
- Evening wear
Of course this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to get you to start thinking. For more general areas such as menswear and women’s wear, make sure you also choose specifically what it is you want to work on – such as casual, dresses, evening wear, etc.
*~Personal Experience: TYPE~*
For the length of this how-to series, I will also be building my own collection, therefore providing you with examples for each step. (To be honest, I just need a swift kick in the butt to finally get in gear and do my collection for this year, so this is to help me get that motivation)
I’ve been thinking about making a collection for about a year now, slowly narrowing it down to a specific category. Most of my research has only been done within the last two months, though (usually to kill time during break in my classes at NWTC haha). So far I’ve gotten to the point of it being a Women’s Wear collection, with either more of a gothic appeal or a steampunk appeal. I think I will decide on that more when it comes down to pinpointing exact colors and fabrics (I have several schemes to work off it, it’s just a matter of picking one!) I will also narrow down to if it’ll be more casual or dressy after I do more fabric searching.
STEP 2: TARGET MARKET & PRICE POINT
TARGET MARKET: noun: target market; plural noun: target markets
- a particular group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed
[definition provided by Google]
A step nobody likes to do (definitely me included), but when in the planning stages, it helps reduce failure in your product line.
You’ll need to figure out the:
- Who? – who is this audience?
- What? – what are their needs/wants?
- Where? – where are they located?
- When? – when will you be engaging this market?
- Why? – why will they choose you over brand/artist A or brand/artist B?
- How? – how will you get your idea out there?
If it helps, some people like to give this figurative person a name and life story (I’ve seen some people even illustrate said person…Weirdos. Haha)
PRICE POINT: noun: price point; plural noun: price points; noun: pricepoint; plural noun: pricepoints
- a point on a scale of possible prices at which something might be marketed.
[definition provided by Google]
In fashion, especially, there are several price range categories that a designer could fall into. They are:
|Haute Couture||$10,000 or more||Made to measure, hand-crafted apparel for the select few
|Designer||$1,000 or more||Superior fabrics, details, trims to Ready-To-Wear (RTW)
|Bridge/Exchange||Less than $1,000||Designer level made with less expensive fabrics, career separates
(Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan for DKNY)
|Better||Less than $500||Better fabric and styling than lower-priced clothing
(Anne Klein, Jones New York)
|Secondary Lines||Less than $300||Designers line at a much lower price point than their regular Design Line
|Private Label||Less than $300||Designed specifically for a store or retailer
(Simply Vera or Candies for Kohls, H&M, Top Shop)
|Moderate||Less than $100||Nationally advertised, inexpensive
(Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nine West)
|Discount/Off-price||Less than $50||Outlets selling clothes at a discount
(T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s)
|Budget or Mass||Less than $50||Lowest end of apparel pricing and quality; may include knock-offs
(Old Navy, Cherokee)
[Reference for the table:
Calderin, Jay. The Fashion Design Reference Specification Book: Everything Fashion Designers Need to Know Every Day. Beverly: Rockport, 2013. 79. Print.
*~Personal Experience: TARGET MARKET/PRICE POINT~*
Luckily enough for me, I was able to use my Marketing Your Small Business class as a starting point for this.
- WHO: Female, generally 18~40 (but not limited to those ages)
- WHAT: Would like to have comfy, yet classy alternative clothing to integrate into current wardrobe
- WHERE: Ideally, United States, probably in urban areas and more of a disposable income
- WHEN: ASAP! I usually try to make things known on my facebook, twitter (when I remember), and now this blog! The sooner you can gain interest and let people know, the better.
- WHY: For those local: it is something not normally found in the Green Bay area. For those online: BECAUSE I’M AWESOME Just kidding. I provide excellent customer service and plan on making sure for custom orders that I am as transparent as possible with their order (for instance: giving either text or photo updates if it’s longer than a week).
- HOW: I will be utilizing social media platforms, and possibly paper formats (pamphlets if I do end up being part of a runway show).
My speculation at this point is somewhere between $100~$300+ depending on the intricacy of the outfit/how many pieces there are to the outfit if sold as one unit (For instance: Dress + tulle dress + bolero jacket may equal over $300 but individual items may not)
STEP 3: CHOOSE A SEASON
Generally, for any collection that you want to create, there will be a season in which you attribute and find your source of inspiration. In Fashion, there are two main ones, and a smaller in-between one. These include Spring/Summer (S/S), Fall(Autumn)/Winter (F/W), and Resort. Resort is typically for December~January ish, primarily aimed at people who travel or vacation in the winter months.
Why is this important?
Unless you’re doing something incredibly niche, each season usually has a distinguishing color scheme. And if you keep a record, after a couple of years you’ll notice yourself how the colors evolve. For example: for Spring, typical colors have included a variant of a mint green and coral for the last three years.
But what year do I choose?
This can be tricky. Are you working with a company, or are you an independent designer? Some companies plan as early as 2 years in advanced (like Kohls or Harley-Davidson Motor Clothes)! There are other companies that do fast fashion and plan as late as 6 weeks ahead (like Zara). If you have a small collection, and enough time, at least one season ahead is good to plan for.
*~Personal Experience: SEASON/YEAR~*
F/W 2015 Why? Because! I’m not so great with bright colors usually associated with Spring/Summer, so starting with Fall/Winter is a better chance to get into my groove. Also, I found some pretty nifty inspiration that falls better with F/W instead of S/S.
STEP 4: RESEARCH! YAAAYYY!
This is where everything gets fun, and you can spend hours upon hours doing. At this stage, if you’ve skipped the other steps, you should at least have some general idea of what you want to do, whether it is an accessories line, or a fashion line (and hopefully you’ve chosen something a little more specific than that!)
From here we can go anywhere. Or, just stay cozied up in pajamas and surf the web. That’s cool too.
But seriously, one thing to do now – if you haven’t been already – is something called Trend Analysis. The fashion world, in many ways, is ruled by trends. There are many services and resources that can be used in order to find and research these trends.
- Pinterest (make sure you are using good keywords! Maybe set an alarm for yourself too so you don’t forget to eat, sleep, and get some water…you know….human things and the like)
- Trend Shop
- Keyword searching on Google
- Trend Forecast – Cotton Inc (I haven’t been able to get this to work yet to give you more details, but at school we had a teacher that worked in a design department that had access to this resource. They have some fun trend forecasting!)
Paid services can be very expensive, but definitely worth it if you can afford it, as they will go more in depth, sometimes even providing physical samples of color palettes, fabrics, etc.
*~Personal Experience: RESEARCH~*
This is a neverending battle -cry-
So far I’ve used mostly Pinterest to gather visuals and continuing my trend research. I use some of the links attached to the photos to bring me around the internet. Usually it’s amusing things like you start looking at fancy makeup, and then the next thing you know you’re researching about the Theory of Relativity at 3am.
Right now I have a *secret* (shhhhh) board on Pinterest where I’ve kept all my visual ideas. Other ideas that aren’t specific to my F/W 15 collection (but may prove useful for future ideas) I just put into a public inspirational board.
Keywords included “F/W 15” “F/W 2015” “steampunk” “gothic” “OTT” “over the top” “goth makeup” “goth hair” so on and so forth.
TIP: Make sure you read through the descriptions associated with the picture either on or off the picture when you’re starting with discovering a trend to follow. It would be terrible to do all this research and then find out you were basing it off of 2008’s trends and not the one you intended. Of course, for sourcing inspiration once you have your trend, it doesn’t matter when the item was made.
*~PART II COMING NEXT WEEK: CREATING A MOOD BOARD~*
LINKS TO OTHER SECTIONS:
- PART I: PICKING A CATEGORY, SEASON, and RESEARCH
- PART II: CREATING A MOOD BOARD
(I’ll include this list under every post, and continue to add to it. Resources used in the post will be noted by an * )
ONLINE TREND RESEARCH:
- DESIGN/HISTORY RESOURCE:
- *Calderin, Jay. The Fashion Design Reference Specification Book: Everything Fashion Designers Need to Know Every Day ISBN: 978-1-59253-850-8
- Tortora, Phyllis G. Survey of Historic Costume A History of Western Dress. ISBN: 978-1563678066
- Leach, Robert. The Fashion Resource Book: Research for Design. ISBN: 978-0500290354
- Volpintesta, Laura. The Language of Fashion Design: 26 Principles Every Fashion Designer Should Know. ISBN: 978-1592538218
- Martin, Marcarena. Field Guide: How to be a Fashion Designer. ISBN: 978-1592534913
- Genova, Aneta. Accessory Design. ISBN: 978-1563679261
- Steen, Camille; Lee, Jaeil. Technical Sourcebook for Designers. ISBN: 978-1609018566
- Armstrong, Hellen Joseph. Patternmaking for Fashion Design (5th Edition). ISBN: 978-0136069348
- Armstrong, Hellen Joseph. Draping for Apparel Design. ISBN: 978-1609012403
- Amaden-Crawford, Connie. The Art of Fashion Draping. ISBN: 978-1609012274
- Kershaw, Gareth. Pattern Cutting for Menswear. ISBN: 978-1780673196
- Kiisel, Karolyn. Draping: The Complete Course. ISBN: 978-1780672861
- Kim, Injoo. Patternmaking for Menswear: Classic to Contemporary. ISBN: 978-1609019440
- Knowles, Lori A. Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designers: Juniors, Misses and Women. ISBN: 978-1563673283
- Knowles, Lori A. Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designers: Menswear. ISBN: 978-1563673290