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The Range Plan: How Clothes Designers Plan Their Fashion Lines

What is fashion? More than just what people wear, fashion is the art of creating clothing and “looks” which reflect the society and culture of a certain place and time. It’s partially influenced by fashion designers, of course, but it’s also partially influenced by society as a whole.

 

Think back to a time when men always wore suits and hats. Now, remember the time when tie-dye ruled the land? Or, even further back, think of a time when men wore white wigs and powered their faces. Some of it might seem weird now, and some of it not, but it all meant something unique to the culture of its time.

Fashion Designers and Their “Superpowers”

 

Fashion designers, in a very real way, decide what’s cool. They have their pulse on what’s hot, what’s not, and what the next big thing is going to be. The trick is to see where styles are going, and then produce clothing which reflects those styles.

 

How does someone do this? Well, it’s a little bit of a science and a little bit of an art. Styles do return in fashion, to a certain extent. While certainly there’s nothing strange about seeing someone wearing a tie dye shirt, it would perhaps take a real fashion-forward person to don the powdered wig and face powder before hitting the town to run a few errands. So while you can look to fashion’s history and learn about its future, there’s also a real art to knowing what people will consider cool.

 

House of Ideas

 

A fashion house is the term used for a company which produces multiple different clothing lines and accessories. They are often named after the primary designer and founder, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Armani and Christian Dior. Often, as these houses grow in size, the lead designer will employ more and more designers, who work under the lead’s approval.

 

Each designer will produce clothing which is only considered new for only a short period of time. This doesn’t mean “new” in the sense the clothing will fall apart quickly, but “new” in the sense of fashion as an art form which is considered always in motion. This is why fashion lines are based around seasons, and each major designer typically has at least a winter line and a summer line each year.

 

Here’s an interesting side note: The idea of modern fashion, as something created by specialized clothes designers, began in 1858 with a man named Charles Frederick Worth. He not only designed and created clothing, he was the first person to put his name on a label sewn into the clothing. It’s this idea of a brand which has continued on to this day.

 

Many Different Styles, for Many Different Audiences

 

Have you ever seen a fashion show from a big-name designer? Even if you’re into fashion, you’ve probably looked at some of the outfits and wondered who possibly wears these outfits, and where? Well, there’s actually more going on than you may think.

How Shirt Manufacturers Collar the Men’s Clothing Market

The collar can arguably be the most important part of a dress shirt. Even if the shirt that you are wearing is freshly pressed and free from the scourge of wrinkles, if you have a collar that is bent, crumpled, or just simply won’t stay in place, you’re entire outfit can be ruined. At least, it can certainly feel that way if you’re the one that is wearing the shirt.

 

This is the reason that any shirt manufacturers that care about the quality of their product will use an extra measure of care in order to make sure that the collar looks as every bit as good as the rest of the shirt. In a way, it sets the tone for the look, style, and sophistication of the person that wears the fabric.

 


Types of Collars

 

There is no “one size fits all” type of method when it comes to collar production. Indeed, shirt manufacturers can deploy a host of different techniques and design styles in order to make a person’s collar look perfect.

 

Spread Collar

 

Perhaps the most well recognized collar is the spread collar. The classic collar design features points that are angular as they come down over the top of the shirt, but they do not flair outward nor do they point directly downward. It is arguably the most versatile of all collars, as it tends to look stylish with a suit and tie and it also looks right at home with a more casual, at-home look.

There are different variations to this particular collar that different shirt manufacturers utilize in order to create a unique look. These variations include:

  • Tall-Spread Collar – This variation adds a couple of inches in height to the collar to make it stand out a little more prominently when a person is wearing a suit or a sport coat. It also works well with a variety of tie knots and sizes.
  • Semi-Spread Collar – This variation features a wider collar blade, which gives it an even more casual appearance than a typical spread collar. That being said, it is still versatile enough to appear dressy, and can still act as an ideal compliment to a tie or a jacket.

Eton Collar

 

Another popular collar type is known as an Eton collar, also known as a club collar. This collar, which originated around the early part of the 20th century, has long been considered a classic mainstay in men’s fashion. It is short and tight, and features slightly rounded edges, thus giving it a softer appearance. While its size makes it a perfect option for a business casual look, its compact size and tight underlining allows it to sit perfectly under a coat with a necktie.

 

Point Collar

 

A point collar, on the other hand, does not contain the rounded edges of an Eton collar. As the name suggests, it features edges that are sharp and angular, giving the shirt a more geometric shape that fits right into streamlined clothing styles. Like the spread collar, a point collar can be designed to be various sizes in height, with each height carrying a different connotation in formality and style. As such, it is not uncommon to see a point collar on more casual button down shirts, such as ones that feature plaid patterns or prints.

 

Cutaway Collar

 

One of the shortest collars that shirt manufacturers use is a cutaway collar. Typically, this particular collar is distinguished by being slightly flared and small to the point where it is barely there. This design choice is intriguing because it gives the shirts that feature the collar a distinctively old-time dashing quality to it without feeling like it stuck in the past. This quality allows it to deftly straddle the line in between vintage traditional style and modern sensibilities, arguably better than any other collar can. It looks just as slick with a bowtie as it does without any neckwear.

 

Those that want a little more length to this particular style of collar could deploy a deep cutaway collar instead. In essence, this particular collar is larger than the traditional cutaway and also has a more pronounced spread. This added length and width may make it a little more receptive to fuller tie knots, but can still look just as sleek and rakish as a traditional cutaway without the presence of neckwear. This particular looks especially sleek if you are one that is into wearing a shirt that features a contrasting white collar.

 

Button-down Collar

 

Another popular modern collar is the button-down collar. This particular collar is distinguished by the presence of button holes at their end points, which allows it to be properly fastened to the body of the shirt. It is the most high-maintenance of all the collars that are used by shirt manufactures – after all, there is an extra step involved in making the collar look proper if you are wearing it with a tie – but the presence of the buttons makes any shirt that features them look sleek and professional. The person that wears s a shirt with a button-down collar will look like he means business when he wears it with a tie. However, if he wears it out sans neckwear, he will send a message that says that he not only works hard, but he plays hard, too. The attitude that this type of collar cultivates makes it the ultimate collar to wear for that company trip when business invariably mixes with pleasure.

 

Bringing it All Together

 

Even though there are plenty of different collars that shirt manufacturers can use in creating a button down shirt, the one common bond that ties them all together is the fact that each collar plays a role in helping the wearer create a definitive sense of style. Even though a collar makes for a small portion of the overall shirt, its size, style, and framing capabilities can set the tone for not only the rest of the shirt, but the rest of the outfit, as well. As such, selecting a collar is something that should not be something that is taken for granted.

Gauging a Crucial Tool in the World of Knitwear Designers

Knit gauge is arguably the most important tool of the trade in the world of knitwear designers. In essence, knit gauge will let you know what stitches per inch are in a garment – an important measurement to note, since there is no one universal stitch size that can be used. There are several reasons why this number could vary from fabric to fabric, including:

  • Needle size
  • Yarn
  • Stitch pattern
  • Individual knitter

It is important that you determine exactly what your knit gauge is before you undergo the process of assembling a garment. Even if your stitch is off by the slightest, it can spell disaster for your finished product.

 


Types of Knit Gauges Used

 

Because knit gauge is not a one size fits all type of operation, there are several different gauges that knitwear designers can deploy in order to get the proper stitching, based on both the type of garment being stitched and the knitwear designers’ own style.

Some of the more common gauges that are utilized factor in the thickness or layer of a folded material, otherwise known as ply. This thickness is measured by how many yarns are twisted together in order to make a singular thread. In the United States, these measurements are listed as 2-ply, 3-ply, and 4-ply. In other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, you may see 5-ply, 8-ply, 10-ply, or even 12-ply gauges.

There are a host of subcategories that derive from these particular measurements. The thinnest threads in these particular subcategories are known as fingering, whereas the thickest threads are known as bulky. The categories that are found in between this range include sock, sport, light worsted, worsted, and chunky. Not surprisingly, the thicker threads are utilized to make thicker products, up to and including sweaters or rugs.

 

The Importance of Swatches

 

As most knitwear designers will tell you, a critical part of the knit gauge process is to create a swatch. A swatch will put the proper knitting metrics into your grasp, giving you a small sample size as to how a fabric will look given the parameters that you decide to utilize while creating a knitted piece. These parameters will thusly eliminate any and all guesswork that you may have before you start putting your piece together.

Creating a swatch is essential if you are going to be putting together something that has exact measurements. If you are designing something that can be viewed as haphazard in nature, such as a baby blanket or a scarf, then creating a swatch is not as critical to the production of such items. However, if you are knitting something that is designed to fit an individual, then creating a swatch is a must. While there is a prevailing thought in some circles that a person can go on feel while putting together a piece of clothing and therefore forego the swatch process, it is inadvisable to do so because a person’s knitting tension has a tendency to change over a period of time based on how they knit or even what their mood may be.

 

Calculating the Knit Gauge Swatch

 

Knitting a gauge swatch requires that you use a little math as well as a little knitting skill. The first thing that you need to do is to figure out what will be at least six inches of stitches with whatever yarn or thread you choose to use and cast on that many stitches. That being said, you should be cognizant of the fact that the longer you make the swatch, the more accurate your measurement will end up being. Once you have figured out the length of your swatch, you should then knit a few rows in a garter stitch. As you do this, you should keep about an inch’s worth of stitches at the edge of the garter stitch. If your gauge does not give you a definitive pattern stitch, you should work in a stockinette stitch for a few inches. If you do have a pattern stitch, you must continue knitting your swatch in this particular pattern.

Once you have put together a few rows of knitting, you can then measure your work and approximate how close you are to your desired accuracy. This is where the math comes in, as you should measure four inches worth of your swatch, count the stitches in the swatch – including half-stitches – and then divide the number by four. This is the number of stitches per inch. If you wind up with a fraction, that is perfectly fine.

If you determine that you have more stitches per inch than your pattern needs, you have made a stitch pattern that is too small. In this case, you would need to use a larger needle. Conversely, if you have fewer stitches per inch than your pattern needs, you have made a pattern that is too large. In this case, you would need to use a smaller needle. Typically, if your variance is around an inch per stitch or less, you would just need to worry about swapping out your needle. However, if the variance you create is greater than one inch per stitch or more, you may need to take a look at utilizing a different yarn or thread. Keep in mind that not every thread will work for every design, so don’t try and force a thread to create a piece of clothing that will not work.

Even though you should always make a swatch for a fabric that is going to be worn by someone, most knitwear designers are able to develop a sense of what may or may not work over time before they create the swatch. That being said, the only way to develop this type of sensibility is through the process of trial and error. However, if you wish to strive for perfection in the design of your clothing, then developing this sensibility is worth the time and the effort.

Essential Things To Keep In Mind When Starting Your Own Fashion Brand

These days, literally anybody can design his or her own shirt using the myriad of tools available on the Internet. However, designing a shirt or two is completely different from starting a full-fledged fashion brand. A brand represents a line of clothes that all revolve around a single cohesive idea (known as the brand).

 

Furthermore, a brand represents a business, and it takes an incredible amount of planning and work to make a business successful. The truth, in fact, is that building a successful fashion brand is more dependent on business acumen than it is on the designs themselves.

 

Ponder Your Long-Term Goals

 

When you are selling items haphazardly as a hobby, you’re not really concerned about goals, you’re just happy to make a sale. When starting a fashion brand, however, you must set genuine goals. For instance: suppose you are starting a fashion brand that deals with men’s t-shirts. How many t-shirts do you realistically want to try to sell during your first year?

 

This matters because it helps when it comes to figuring out what to do next. Suffice it to say, you’re going to have to work much harder to sell 10,000 t-shirts during your first year than you would have to work if you just want to sell 1,000 t-shirts. Plus, goals are the cornerstone of any quality business plan!

 

Keep Production In Mind

 

If you are starting a brand, you need to start thinking about production during your design process. What materials does your design require? What sorts of vendors would be able to replicate the design? Are you comfortable outsourcing the design to a manufacturer in another country?

 

Pay special consideration to whether or not you envision scaling your design, i.e., producing thousands of copies of the article of clothing you are creating. This is important because large-scale production is more labour intensive, meaning it’s going to cost you a lot more.

 

These things matter because money matters. Remember that the ultimate goal of a business is to turn a profit. And the simple fact is that unless you are able to turn a profit, your brand will simply not be successful.

 

Think About Marketplaces

 

There are two primary ways you can distribute your fashion brand products. The easier way is to take advantage of established digital marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and Etsy, not to mention real-world marketplaces like flea markets. The much more difficult (though also rewarding) option is to create your own marketplace.

 

Back in the day, creating your own marketplace meant setting up a traditional brick-and-mortal establishment. These days, all you need is the ability to build a website and perform what is known as search engine optimisation. Mind you, doing neither of these things is as easy as it sounds!

 

The benefit of an established marketplace is that such sites and venues already have traffic. If you build your own site, you will have to build traffic from scratch. You may also need to hire a Web designer, not to mention SEO specialists.

 

Do Not Forget Your Competition

 

Selling as a hobby differs from selling professionally in that you must take your competition into consideration. The success of your fashion brand, which we want note again is a business, is partially dependent on your ability to out-perform your competitors. Below is a list of some of the things you should keep in mind:

 

  • How do your competitors’ prices compare to your own prices?
  • What methods do your competitors use to market their wears?
  • Who are your competitors’ manufacturers?
  • Do your competitors’ outsource?
  • How long have your competitors been in the business?
  • Do your competitors operate blogs?
  • Are your competitors active on social networks?
  • How much traffic do your competitors’ websites receive?

Analysing your competition also gives you a chance to pick up ideas on how to jumpstart your own brand.

 

Understand Your Customers

 

You want to know who else is important? Your customers! A fashion brand must have a very specific target audience. Who are your clothes and items designed for? Who will be buying them? Why will they be buying them?

 

Understanding your customers does require a bit of insight into psychology. It’s for this reason that you might want to consider taking a few courses on marketing and psychology before you start a fashion brand. Trust us when we say that properly understanding your target market can make a huge difference!

 

Think About Social Media

 

Practically every business operates on the social network sphere these days. Social networking is a simple but effective way to build a reputation, drive traffic to your site and establish your fashion brand. Even lawyers now run their own Facebook pages!

 

Since you want to start a brand, social media should be one of the top concerns on your mind. You need to share so much with your potential customers — who you are, what your vision is, what you vision is, what you bring to the table, etc.

 

One thing to understand though is that capitalizing on social media requires more than just linking to your products. You need to build a personal connection with your customers.
Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Don’t be afraid to try new ideas.
  • Don’t repeat the same thing over and over again.
  • Do post news about your fashion brand.
  • Do engage with your fans.
  • Do give your fans sneak peeks on upcoming gear.
  • Do be yourself!!!

Pulling the Pieces Together

 

Before you start a fashion brand, take the time to do everything mentioned in this post. Consider your target audience. Analyse your competition. Think about marketplaces. Learn the production process. Piece together a business plan. Start setting up social media profiles, and so on.

While it’s tempting to just jump into the game, it’s much smarter and more prudent to plan what you can beforehand. It could very well make the difference in which you ultimately succeed or fail!

8 Key Steps To Becoming A Professional Fashion Designer

Does the thought of becoming a professional fashion designer excite you? Do you picture yourself at runway shows in New York and Paris? Do you love talking about all the latest fashion trends and ideas? Well, it sounds like you have a PASSION for fashion, which is a definite plus!

 

However, fashion design is no cakewalk! It’s a very competitive field that requires working hard, paying your dues and climbing the proverbial ladder. So where do you begin? Well, we’re here to help you figure this out!

 

Step 1: Learn the Basics

 

The first thing you need to do is start asking questions — lots of them! You need to learn everything you can about fashion and fashion designing. Below are some sample questions to get you started:

  • Why do people buy fashion apparel?
  • Where are the world’s leading fashion centers?
  • Who are the top people in the fashion industry?
  • What are the major categories of fashion?
  • What are the fashion seasons?
  • What all does a fashion designer do?

Obviously, you will have to do the hard work of answering these questions yourself. However, that’s part of what it takes to become a fashion designer — the willingness to conduct thorough research and learn everything there is to know about this career choice.

 

Step 2: Get An Education

 

Here’s a simple truth — it is fundamental that you receive formal education if you want a genuine career in fashion. The fashion world is highly competitive, so you need to be equipped with as many resources and tools as possible, and education happens to be the very best thing you can have going for you.

 

The most commonly pursued degree is one in art or design. Some aspiring designers combine this with either another degree or a minor in business, marketing, etc. The type of coursework you want to pursue is listed below:

  • Colours and textiles.
  • Sewing and tailoring.
  • Pattern making.
  • Fashion history.
  • Computer-aided design (CAD).
  • Economics, business, and marketing.

Step 3: Seek Out An Internship

 

An internship is absolutely pivotal for success. It is a fundamental stepping-stone that can greatly alter your long-term success in the field. For one, internships allow you to gain valuable real-life experience, as book knowledge can only take you so far! Internships also let you start building a reputation and portfolio. Plus, and more importantly, internships very often lead to full-time positions!

 

Suppose though that you land an internship that doesn’t lead to a job after you graduate. The internship would still be valuable. Why? During the internship, you’re likely to meet other potential employers — people who you could reach out to once you graduate!

 

Step 4: Build Your Portfolio

 

A portfolio is a must for anybody in any art-oriented career. As an aspiring fashion designer, you’ll need to have a decent portfolio by the time you graduate. The best way to do this is to approach every single schoolroom assignment you get as a real-life job. Put your best into every assignment, because the assignment itself (or what you produce) could very well be placed in your portfolio, assuming you do a good job.

 

Step 5: Get Your First Job

You finally graduated. Congratulations! Now it’s time to land your first job as a fashion designer. Hopefully, you’ll be able to jump from an internship directly into a job, but this isn’t always the case. Also keep in mind that you’re not going to start out with a top tier job. You’re going to be performing entry-level fashion design. It might be tedious and tiresome, but everybody must pay their dues!

 

Step 6: Learn the Business

 

The first few years on the job are very important: they provide you with the opportunity you need to learn the business. The thing to realize is that this requires doing more than just going to work everyday. You’re going to have to take the extra time to start reading fashion magazines, following fashion blogs and familiarizing yourself with what’s currently trending in the market.

 

You might also want to consider doing some independent work in your free time. You can contact local businesses. Or you can sell your fashion wear directly through the internet using websites like Etsy or even Amazon.

 

Step 7: Decide How To Proceed

 

Eventually, you’re going to have to make a big decision: do you want to keep working for companies and slowly but surely rise up the chain, or do you want to break away from this world and establish yourself as a full-fledged, self-employed professional fashion designer?

 

This is not a decision to be taken lightly, as going independent is not easy! In fact, it usually comes with an immediate pay cut. However, the potential — especially if you are a talented, hard-working person — is incredible. Imagine creating your own brand! Now imagine your brand of clothes one day being featured in clothing outlets across the country and world! All of this is possible, assuming you’re willing to work for it!

 

Step 8: Start Your Business

 

So we’re going to assume you chose to go the independent route. What happens now? It depends. You can start or continue selling products on the Internet, or you can start creating your own genuine business. We recommend going for the latter option, because it’s more sustainable, as well as more conductive to long-term success. To do this, you’ll need to do some of the following:

  • Develop a legitimate business plan.
  • Seek financing.
  • Get proper licenses.
  • Create a brand name.
  • Find wholesale fashion equipment suppliers.
  • Build relationships with manufacturers.

It’s not easy, and it will take time, but you can one day build yourself a thriving fashion business. The only question is this — are YOU up to the challenge?

What Makes A Good Womenswear Fashion Designer

Do you like womenswear? Do you enjoy browsing the mall for the latest outfits? Do you think about clothing non-stop? Excellent! However, liking clothes is just the first step to becoming a great womenswear fashion designer.

 

For the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume you already possess the other needed traits (besides passion) like artistic talent and skills (sewing, fabrics, patterns) that you need to be a designer. Instead, we want to focus on those tangible things you can do starting from today to help propel your career as a womenswear fashion designer forward!

Stay Inspired

 

It’s true that some ideas spontaneously pop into our minds. However, the vast majority of ideas we come up with are inspired by other people’s work. It is for this reason that you should consider setting up an inspiration board.

 

Use this board to track everything that inspires you. If you see something inspirational in a fashion magazine, cut it out and put it on the board. If you read a blog post that inspires you, then print it out and post on the board. Get the idea?

 

The problem with inspirational ideas is that we often forget about them. That’s why it’s important to record them in some way. This will help keep the plethora of inspirational ideas perpetually swimming in your head. It’ll also serve as a great backup resource in case you yourself ever completely run out of ideas!

 

Buy A Mannequin

 

The fruits of fashion are designed to be worn. It makes sense therefore that you should test your ideas out on a model. However, this isn’t always an option. Just imagine that you get a sudden inspiration at 3 am in the morning. Who are you going to test your design out on?

 

If you have a mannequin handy, then you can just test your designs out on it! Plus, the beauty of mannequins is that you can obtain them in a variety of body types and sizes.

 

Keep Learning

 

It’s very likely that you have a degree in art and fashion. However, just because you have earned your degree doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. In fact, turning off the education faucet is the worst thing you can do. It’s a simple fact that continued education can make a huge difference in your career.

 

With that said, consider scheduling one to three courses into your schedule every year. Use these opportunities to not only re-establish essential fashion concepts (textures, colours, fabrics) and skills (sewing, drawing, merchandising), but to also derive new inspiration.

 

Also take time to learn the history of fashion. Take the time to buy and read books about art history. Understanding the historical concepts of fashion can help you better finetune your contemporary designs. While you’re at it, familiarise yourself with the fashion trends of other countries.

 

Never Stop Networking

 

Success in the fashion industry is highly dependent on your networking ability. Remember, it’s not just what you know, but who you know. Remember that fashion is a business, and like any other business, you must be an expert marketer to get your incredible womenswear designs out to market.

 

Here are some tips to help you with your networking goals:

 

Attend trade shows. These extravagant affairs offer you a terrific opportunity to meet countless new potential clients and partners. Yes, we realise that it’s expensive to leave your home and go attend such events, but it’s worth it, assuming you are serious about being a great womenswear fashion designer.

 

Talk to the right people. Take time before attending an event to conduct some research on the key people that’ll be attending. What are their names? What do they do? How long have they been in the industry? What company are they with? Then use this information to approach said people and start a conversation!

 

Keep in touch with people. Never lose touch with former clients and employers! Every single ‘bridge’ you build should be maintained. Trust us when we say that the worst thing you can do in fashion is start burning bridges. Maintain these relationships and keep them strong!

 

Dress to impress. Consider wearing some of your own designs when you attend trade shows and similar events. This provides you with such an easy and amazing opportunity to showcase your work to others in the fashion industry. It’s like turning yourself into a giant advertisement for your own brand.

 

Keep Growing

 

Last but not least, keep in mind that you’re not going to turn into a great fashion designer overnight. It can takes decades to achieve the notable status of fashion superstars like Betsey Johnson, Sandy Powell, Donatella Versace, Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs, to name a few. Start slow, work hard and you will eventually be successful. Just remember that the growing process should never end!

Fundamental Traits Needed To Excel As A Menswear Fashion Designer

Not everybody is meant to be a menswear fashion designer. It takes a very precise set of skills to excel in this very subjective field — one where there are no real set rules on what’s right or what’s wrong. The truth is that a large chunk of being a quality menswear fashion designer boils down to impeccable taste. However, other factors also play a role, as you will soon see.

 

Artistic Talent

 

Talent is defined as a natural inclination or special ability that permits you to perform an activity extraordinarily well. Since a career in fashion requires great taste, you need a whole lot of talent for the arts to succeed in it. How do you know if you have talent? Usually, you can tell, but below are some questions that might help you figure it out:

  • Can you easily match colours?
  • Can you detect the differences between very similar colours?
  • Do fashion styles evoke emotion in you?
  • Is it easy for you to piece together outfits?
  • an you imagine how something looks if you were to move or rearrange it?
  • Are you able to quickly compare objects, numbers, pictures and patterns?
  • Can you identify very subtle patterns?

If these things come easy to you, then you could very well possess a talent for art! However, talent is only one part of the picture.

 

Communicative Abilities

 

As a menswear fashion designer, you must be able to communicate well with others. You’ll need to be able to relate well enough with clients to determine their exact requirements and specifications. This means being able to pay attention, listen to others, comprehend points being made and act polite. Furthermore, fashion designing isn’t done alone. You must deal with advertising specialists, public relationships specialists and even other fashion designers.

 

Some of the specific abilities you need are listed below:

  • Explain your ideas in a clear way without using jargon.
  • Accept constructive criticism from others.
  • Work out any disputes that might pop up.
  • Keep clients calm. Sometimes, they worry.
  • Lead others if you have a team.

Education

 

Everyone must crawl before they can walk, and this just happens to also apply to menswear fashion designers. In particular, you need to be a successful fashion designer (to get in the door, actually), and you need to be educated. This may require a degree in fashion design, art, fashion merchandising, design, etc.

 

The second thing you absolutely need is internship experience. It’s much harder to get a full-time job in menswear fashion design if you don’t pursue internships during your time in school. These internships give you valuable real-life experience that employers greatly appreciate. They also make it much easier to find permanent employment after you graduate. In fact, most internships lead directly to full-time positions.

 

Skills, Skills, Skills

 

Skills are not the same thing as talent. Possessing talent makes learning skills easier, but you still have to do the hard work and LEARN the skills. What sort of skills do you need as a fashion designer?

  • How to sew, as well as draw.
  • How to create unique patterns.
  • How to develop basic shapes through patterns.
  • Understand the differences between fabrics.
  • Be aware of all current and PAST (ideally) fashion trends.
  • Experience with computer-aided design.
  • Knowledgeable about textiles.

Problem Solving

 

As a men’s fashion designer, you’re going to need to solve a lot of problems. Clients will come to you with a plethora of ideas that you will then need to implement. This requires more than just creativity. You need to be able to analyse ideas, think logically, draw conclusions, follow guidelines, develop new rules, concentrate on tasks and develop full-fledged solutions.

 

Business Acumen

 

Fashion is a lot more than just style and grace. It is a global business phenomenon driven by supply, demand, competition, etc. As a result, to be a quality designer, you must understand the mechanics behind the business world of fashion. Some of the precise skills you need are included below:

  • You need to know how to negotiate a contract.
  • You must be extremely organized.
  • You should understand the basics of economics.
  • You should be able to make educated forecasts pertaining to future fashion trends.
  • You need to understand basic marketing principles.
  • You need to be able to perform financial planning and analysis.

Realize upfront that your job will likely require more than just designing clothes. The fashion industry is highly competitive, so you will need to know how to market yourself, how to deal with merchandisers/buyers and how to establish a reputation.

 

Passion

 

Last but certainly not least, you need to be passionate about menswear fashion! How familiar are you with trends in this industry? You see, menswear fashion is about more than just going to the mall and opining about the latest men’s clothes. You need to be aware of top trends, of top fashion critics, of top fashion blogs and of course of top fashion magazines! You should in effect be living and breathing menswear fashion on a daily basis!

Easy Ways To Attract Immediate Attention To Your T-Shirt Design

T-shirts are ubiquitous to life on Earth. We dare say that every single person on the planet wears or has worn a t-shirt before. It’s a uniform garment that fits in with nearly any occasion, save of course for weddings and funerals. It helps that there are literally billions of t-shirts circulating on the market. While this is great news for consumers, it’s not so great news for you — a t-shirt designer.

 

The truth is that it’s awfully difficult to get your t-shirt design noticed by the masses of attention deficit souls on this planet. Just think of all the competition! However, while it’s difficult, it’s certainly not impossible, as you are about to see.

 

Start With Quality Materials

 

This should go without saying, but always start with quality materials. Invest in quality, resistant fabrics that keep their shape and can handle lots of washing. Also take the time to learn about the material you choose by testing it, washing it, drying it, wearing it, etc. The goal is to ensure that the material meets your standards. Remember, if the material doesn’t meet your standards, then it’s likely not going to meet your customers’ standards either. And selling subpar products is a great way to NOT secure loyal customers.

 

Play Around With Both Complicated & Simple Designs

 

There’s no rule that says all your t-shirts must maintain the exact same theme or style. The two styles in particular we want to talk about right now are COMPLICATED ones and SIMPLE ones.

 

Complicated designs tend to be instant eye-catchers, especially when they contain plenty of colour. Plus, complex designs that are pieced together properly show talent and skill, two things any t-shirt wearer appreciates. Just make sure that your complicated design does not turn into an overcomplicated one!

 

However, do not discount the power of simple designs either. Because simple designs contain so few elements, these few elements capture the viewer’s full attention. The key therefore with a simple design is to ensure those few elements are really, really spectacular!

 

Utilize A Message

 

The most popular t-shirts usually tie themselves to some sort of message. Consider the following examples:

  • Slogans: T-shirts are like billboards for the chest. For some people, this serves as a great opportunity to share their innermost thoughts with the world. So it goes without saying that it might make sense to use slogans and statements on your t-shirt (from heart-warming ones to outright obnoxious ones, depending on your target demographic) to attract those with a boisterous soul.
  • Causes: Your t-shirt design can also be used to bring attention to a cause like breast cancer awareness. The size of your target audience decreases when you choose such a niche route, but you are apt to secure loyal customers. The only stipulation is that if you want to use your designs to stand up for a case, you’re going to have to make all your designs revolve around the specific cause you choose.
  • Graphics: Whether simple or complex in design, graphic art T-shirts get noticed. And so long as you aren’t using copyrighted material, graphic art can be virtually anything you want it to be, from your own company logo to abstract art… the choice is endless.

Take Advantage Of Contrast

 

To make a t-shirt design stand out, you need to make it bold! One way to do this is by employing the use of contrasting colours like red on yellow, charcoal on royal blue or lime green on hot pink. These combinations might seem odd at first thought, but their contrasting nature actually makes them work really well. The key to this methodology lies in utilizing a fairly simple design. Otherwise, if you go with a more complicated one, you might end up with so many contrasting colours that you give your customers a headache!

 

Design Graphics At Actual Size

 

We’re going to assume that you’re using some sort of computer software to create your t-shirt design. If so, make certain that the graphics in the program are made at the exact same size you picture them being on your t-shirt. If you don’t take care of these specifications on the backend, then the person or company responsible for printing the t-shirt might wind up using his or her own judgment. That could lead to results that you do not like.

 

Seek Feedback

 

Last but not least, make sure you seek feedback and criticism before you take your design to the market. If your friends and family members aren’t really feeling your design, then it might be a good idea to tweak it. Just make sure you do not take the criticism personally. Criticism should be used to better yourself and your designs, not start an emotional war of words!

 

Stand Out

 

The world is brimming with t-shirts, which means you must be on your top game if you want to make a dent in the t-shirt industry. Is it impossible to do? Nope! Is it very difficult to do? YES! It takes a concerted effort, not to mention genuine artistic talent and skill. However, it can be done, assuming you’re willing to take the time to piece together a perfect t-shirt design!

Introduction To The Fast Paced Life Of The Fashion Production Cycle

The least fashionable aspects of the fashion industry are, not surprisingly, production and manufacturing, i.e., the fashion production cycle. This is something you must understand in full before you even consider starting your own brand. To understand this concept, let’s start at the very beginning.

 

Why Is It Called Fast Fashion?

 

Once upon a time, the fashion production cycle — which includes the designing, manufacturing and distribution of clothes — used to take three stable months. As globalization and competition skyrocketed, these three months slowly but surely dropped to just two weeks.

 

This drastic change occurred because the world became more connected. Think of how it used to take weeks for people to communicate with one another across state lines. These days, you can instantly chat with anybody from anywhere in the world. Because of this connectivity, fashion too is now expected to move at a fast pace.

 

This of course means that exciting, new designs reach consumers much quicker than ever before. Unfortunately, this also means that you must work that much harder to survive in this tough industry!

 

What Exactly Is Fashion Production?

 

Fashion production describes the lengthy process by which basic design concepts are transformed from simple notepad sketches and designs into tangible products that can be worn by consumers. The process usually starts with designs of multiple colours, size and patterns, but ends in goods produced by manufacturers and then distributed to customers.

 

As you can tell, production plays a huge role toward the success or failure of a fashion brand. Why? Think about it. You can design a great garment, but if it doesn’t get produced right (or if it doesn’t get produced at all), then your business will inevitably fail. This is why a quality manufacturer is a must.

 

With that said, the greatest challenge you will face as a fashion start-up is the challenge of locating a reliable ‘source of production’, i.e., a manufacturer. This is one of those situations in life where you should not and cannot procrastinate, lest you wind up inundated with orders that you cannot even fill.

 

It’s true that the industry is brimming with manufacturers and suppliers, but these manufacturers and supplies are not equal by any means. Plus, the best manufacturers are usually kept hidden by fashion elites who don’t want everybody else zeroing in on their premium sources.

 

It should be partially clear, what with all this competition in the industry, why production is such a pain.

 

What Are The Steps Involved In Fashion Production?

There are quite a few steps in the fashion production cycle, including planning, sketching, designing, sample making, development, manufacturing and distribution:

  • Planning: The cycle starts with extensive research and planning. Target demographics must be identified. Goals must be drawn out. And an official business plan must be mustered. All of this is ESSENTIAL.
  • Sketching: After planning come the sketching of the garment, be it a t-shirt, a dress, a pair of pants or whatnot. Details (think patterns) are ignored during this portion of the cycle. The focus instead is on the shape of the product.
  • Designing: After several sketches have been made, designers review each sketch and then convene to pick out the best. Those that pass to the next stage are then adorned with details like patterns.
  • Sample Making: The completed design is then turned into a sample. The way it works is that the patterns are stitched on inferior fabrics so that the designers can better analyze the fit and design to ensure it’s to their liking.
  • Repeat Sketching, Design, Sample Making: The first three steps are part of an iteration that repeats itself until the designers are completely satisfied. It usually takes several iterations before a final design is achieved.
  • Development: This part of the cycle can come before sketching, designing and sample making. It basically refers to the locating of quality suppliers and/or manufacturers, and the establishing of initial business relationships.
  • Manufacturing: Next comes manufacturing, the process wherein your solid designs are brought to life by factories. These factories possess all the fabrics, trims and raw materials needed to make your garments.
  • Distribution: Last but not least is distribution. This comprehensive step involves the selling of your goods (which you have now received from the manufacturer), the packing of your goods and the delivery of your goods.

Throughout the whole process, you must work with a plethora of different players, including pattern makers, sample makers, other designers, manufacturers and of course clients. Keep in mind also that the summaries provided are exactly that — summaries. Each of the above sections contains a plethora of smaller tasks. Altogether, they make up the fashion production cycle.

Why Is It A Good Idea To Hire An Experienced Production Manager?

 

Considering the immense complexity of the fashion production cycle, it might be in your best interests (especially if you are just starting out) to find a supply partner, such as Fashion Design Solutions, who are not only experienced in the whole production cycle, but are also usually familiar with one to two (if not more) high-quality manufacturers and suppliers.

 

Should I Be Afraid?

 

A certain degree of fear is always good. It helps protect us from potential harm. So yes, you should possess a certain degree of realistic fear. Fashion production is not simple or easy. It’s a very complex process that can take years (if not decades) to master to in full. The thing to keep in mind is that it’s a process that’s traversed by innumerable quantities of fashion designers and production managers every single day. So if they can do it, there is no reason on Earth that you shouldn’t be able to do it as well!

The Right Stitch: T-Shirt Production

Do you have a favorite T-shirt? Maybe your favorite shirt is one that hangs just right on you. Or maybe the material is just the right amount of softness. Perhaps it’s the color, design or style of the shirt that gives it an honored place in your wardrobe. No matter the reason, T-shirts are one of the world’s most popular fashion accessories.

 

Created in 1920, today the T-shirt market is worth over two billion dollars. A large reason for that is because T-shirts are so ubiquitous. You can get a T-shirt with your favorite band or movie character. T-shirts are often given away free to support charities or events. You can work out in a T-shirt, sleep in one, or even wear one out for everyday activities. There are even high-end T-shirts which are worn as a mark of high fashion.

T-Shirts never even truly die. When one becomes too worn to wear, it typically serves a new function in the household as a dust rag.

 

Let’s Make Some T-Shirts!

 

All T-shirts are not created equally, and the difference is in the T-shirt production. There are many different ways to make a T-shirt, but no matter which technique is used, it all starts with the raw materials.

T-Shirts are traditionally made with one of the following raw materials:

  • 100% cotton
  • Polyester
  • Cotton/Polyester blend

There are many reasons to choose one type of material over the other. Cost, especially if you’re producing a large amount of T-shirts for sale, is usually a factor of which raw material you use. Another factor is comfort, since polyester usually has a softer feel than cotton. Cotton can be more durable, however. There are pluses and minuses to each raw material.

 

Beyond the raw material, the next step is deciding what type of T-shirt to make. The standard crew neck is the most common type of shirt found in America’s closets, but the V-neck is also very popular. Tank tops and scoop necks are also considered to be part of the T-shirt family, and certainly have their admirers, too.

 

Cool Threads, Cool Shirts

 

Stitching is what holds the shirts together. But more than just being the “glue” of the shirt, they’re also an integral part to the shirt’s style. For instance, some more fashionable t-shirts use coloured stitching to create various cool effects. Other shirts forgo fancy stitching and stick with pure white thread, which can allow the shirt to be sold for relatively little.

 

There are three primary types of coloured stitching used in T-shirt production:

 

1. White – This, obviously, will look like white stitching. While white stitching in rather invisible on white T-shirts, it’s much more noticeable on colored shirts. Typically, white stitching is only used on white shirts, colored shirts where the white stitching is a fashion choice, or colored shirts which are very low cost.

2. Coloured – There are endless combinations of thread colours and fabric colours which can be used to make a T-shirt. You can choose stitching which compliments the material or, depending on the shirt, even contrasts with it; for instance, white stitching on black material is a popular look.

3. Colourless – This style of stitching is known as monofilament, or invisible, stitching. While perhaps not as easy to work with as the other types of stitching, there are definite advantages to this type of material. Typically, it’s used in hems, or wherever else you want the stitch to be invisible.

 

What Types of Tee’s to Buy, and Where to Buy Them

 

It’s not hard to find T-shirts in general. After all, they’re one of the most popular clothing items in the world. But it can be extremely difficult to find the perfect T-shirt for you. First, you have to decide what you’re going to use the shirts for. If you looking for something to wear when you’re mowing the lawn or working around the house, your best bet it going to be an inexpensive pack of shirts from a department store. Typically, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom make nice, rugged shirts that you won’t be getting torn or dirty.

 

These shirts aren’t really at the height of fashion, and you can’t just put on a white tee and go out for a night on the town. If you’re looking for a more fashionable T-shirt look, you’ll have to go to higher end department stores, fashion boutiques and online retailers.

Take Your T-Shirts on the Town

 

When it comes to T-shirt production, most designers have a high-end line of T-shirts, and what you like really depends on your personal style. There’s a wide variety of T-shirts which combine elegance with cool, and are perfect for a night out on the town.

 

Care for Your T-Shirts

 

It’s tempting to think that since your T-shirts all look roughly the same, and are made from roughly the same types of materials, they can all be washed the same. As anyone who has ever turned a white T-shirt pink will tell, however, how you wash your T-shirts can have a big impact on their longevity and appearance.

 

T-shirt production is a major factor in a shirt’s care needs. Wash your whites separately from your colours. Also, separate your cottons from your polyesters. Cotton shirts can shrink in the dryer. While people generally care less about their undershirts than their high fashion shirts, the same rule still applies: Check the tag, and wash your clothing according to the instructions. Your T-shirts will last much longer, and look much better, if you do so.

 

The Classic T, Now and Forever

 

Sometimes, they’re worn for simply utilitarian purposes, like when you’re doing chores and just sitting around the house. Other times, they’re worn to look fashionable. Sometimes they’re worn to make a statement. But no matter why they’re worn, one thing is for sure: The T-shirt is here to stay. It’s a simple design, with a simple purpose, but it’s also a timeless classic. Here’s hoping your favorites hang in your closet forever.

Taking a Spin: Yarn and Knitwear Manufacturers

It’s well known that different clothing is made from different types of fabric. However, the actual yarns that knitwear manufacturers utilize are not nearly as well known as the finished products that are created from their use. As such, we typically don’t pay much attention to them.

 

However, it is important to be mindful of the various types of yarns that are out there, just because such knowledge will allow you to have a more intimate understanding on the functionality of an article of clothing that goes beyond the realm of merely looking good. If you are looking to join the ranks of the knitwear manufacturers or if you are just looking to make something nice for yourself or for someone else, having a grasp of how a particular yarn can provide a measure of functionality can be a pretty important part of the overall design process.

 

Wool: The King of All Yarns

 

The most famous yarn on the market is wool. Made from the fleece of sheep, this particular yarn is well-known for being cozy and comfortable, which is why it is such a popular yarn for knitwear manufacturers that create sweaters.

 

While wool is a well-known commodity in the knitting world, people may not realize that wool as a whole is actually representative of a pretty sizable group of subcategories that invariably showcase the textural versatility of the yarn. Some of these subcategories include:

  • Merino wool – This is wool that is derived from a breed of sheep that were originally from Turkey and Central Spain. It is considered to be the finest wool in the world, and its roots as a high-end yarn can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages. It is commonly used in high-end performance athletic wear, such as clothing meant for hiking, skiing, and cycling.
  • Shetland wool – This is wool that is made from the sheep that is native to the Shetland Islands of Scotland. They are often used in their natural color, meaning that they are not dyed prior to their usage. The coarser style of this wool is often used to make tweed.
  • Virgin wool – This is wool that is made directly from the fleece of an animal. It is not recycled from any other pre-existing wool garments.
  • Icelandic wool – As the name suggests this is wool that is made from sheep raised in Iceland. Because they are on an island and therefore have been isolated from the rest of Europe for centuries, they are considered to produce wool that is purer than other mainland breeds. They are known for having long, glossy outer coats and fine, soft inner coats.
  • Lamb’s wool – This is lamb that comes from a young lamb’s first shearing – typically around seven months after the sheep’s birth. It is known for having soft, elastic properties, and is often used for high-grade textiles.
  • Washable wool – This is wool that is treated either electronically or chemically in order to destroy the outer fuzzy layer or fibers that may otherwise develop.

Each of these wools brings a different dimension to the table; something that may not be readily apparent amongst those that don’t possess much knowledge on the various wool subcategories.

 

Other Types of Yarn

 

Of course, wool is not the only well-known fabric that knitwear manufacturers will utilize in order to create their clothing. These other fabrics help to broaden the scope of clothing options that a person can utilize.

 

Cotton

 

Arguably the most common yarn that is utilized by knitwear manufacturers is cotton. It is utilized as much as it is because it is a very durable yarn, which makes it a popular fabric for use in kids’ clothing. It is also very breathable, making it very comfortable to wear particularly when the temperature rises. Its highly washable qualities also make it a low-maintenance fabric to tend to.

 

Silk

 

Silk resides on the opposite of the yarn spectrum, as it has a well-deserved reputation as being extremely luxurious in nature. While it is rather ironic that such a fine fiber is produced by silkworms or moth caterpillars, it has nonetheless built up a sterling reputation as being a precious commodity. From a practical standpoint, silk has high absorption properties which makes it a comfortable fabric to wear while active or during warm weather. Plus, its smooth and shiny appearance gives it a sleek, elegant appearance, thus making it a popular fabric to utilize for formal shirts, blouses, and ties.

 

Linen

 

Another popular natural fiber is linen. This particular textile is made from the fibers of the flax plant and has a reputation for being rather tough to manufacture. However, it is highly valued for its reputation as being exceptionally cool and fresh during hot weather. It is also one of the more versatile fabrics that can be produced, as linen can be made into bags, towels, bedding, tablecloths, and napkins in addition to clothing.

 

Synthetics

 

Of course, one does not even need natural products in order to produce clothing for the masses. Synthetic yarns such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester have various advantages over their natural counterparts in that they can be treated to have qualities that are simply not possible with fabrics that are created organically. For instance, synthetic fabrics can be made to be waterproof, wrinkle-free, stain resistant, flame resistant and moth repellent. They can also be manufactured to have heightened elastic properties. The downside to these synthetic fabrics is that they tend to have a negative impact on the environment. Most synthetics are non-biodegradable, which means that they do not break down in the soil when they are no longer useful. What’s more, the chemicals that are used to manufacture the products can also escape into the environment at this particular stage.

Each yarn that can be used in order to produce clothing contains various pluses and minuses that can only be truly understood when you scrutinize them closely. Getting a better understanding on what these yarns can and cannot do can ultimately prove vital in you determining what kind of clothes you wish to make.

The Challenges that Face Menswear Designers

It isn’t all that easy to design menswear. Perhaps the most difficult task that face menswear designers has to do with the fact that menswear can sometimes be considered boring or recycled in some circles, even though the kind of classic style that has defined menswear for decades is still as dashing as ever.

 

Because of this, menswear designers need to be able to cast an eye out for the future in order to keep things interesting. However, as they do this, they need to be mindful of two distinct things:

 

1. Classic men’s couture will never go out of style.
2. Their new creations need to represent fashion for the future, and not fashion destined to be defined by the past.

 

The Importance of Preserving Classic Style

 

Thanks to television shows like “Mad Men” and movies like “The Great Gatsby,” clothes from a bygone era have felt fresh and relevant for the past several years. They may look like the same clothing that was once worn by someone’s father or even grandfather, and this may make some menswear designers that constantly look ahead and not behind cringe. Yet for a lot of people, this sense of datedness has morphed into timelessness, as they represent a classic sleekness of a bygone era that may not be replicated sufficiently in modern duds. As such, even though the temptation to eschew classic motifs entirely, it is important that menswear designers continue to look ahead by embracing the past instead of forsaking it. After all, fashion does have a tendency to be somewhat cyclical in nature.

 

However, there’s more to just preserving the stylistic elements of the past because they look cool. Rather, it is important that menswear designers keep note of the elements that truly transcend the test of time so they can possibly use them as a springboard for future fashion. One of the most essential elements to fashion in general is to take something that has some age to it and spin it around in a way that it creates something entirely new, fresh, and exciting. Using classic style in this way allows it to undergo a rejuvenation of sorts for a classic style – not to mention that it prevents it from being a total relic.

 

Thinking Ahead in a Reasonable Way

 

Of course, menswear designers don’t have to exclusively keep one foot in the past in order to propel the male fashion into the future. Indeed, there are plenty of avenues in which a designer can utilize in order to move the concept of masculine design ahead.

 

One of the bigger challenges that menswear designers face in achieving this task is due to the fact that menswear fashion trends tend to be a little more subtle then women’s fashion trends at time. As such, trends that affect the male fashion world seem to gradually occur over a period of time, as opposed to just popping up seemingly overnight. A good menswear designer will be able to pull off this gradual progression without raising too much of a fuss, as that particular advancement will enter into the consciousness of the average male shopper without him paying much mind to whatever trend a new piece of clothing may be attached to. They won’t buy it because it looks new or trendy; they will buy it because it looks cool. When this happens, the menswear designer has done their job.

 

However, this process is not necessarily easy to attain. There is a fine line that a designer must walk when designing modern men’s clothing. It is s line that delineates clothes that not only look and feel progressive, but look like they will actually progress with the times. Indeed, there is nothing worse than producing a line of clothing that looks and feels fresh when it is first released and then realizing they are destined to be relics of fashion within a few years. This is a line that should never be crossed.

 

In order to avoid producing clothes that will eventually be time-stamped, the best thing to do is to keep outrageous affects to a minimum. Context is key. You don’t have to keep things shaded in dull, drab hues or selfsame patterns, but you do have to make sure that you deploy colors, patterns, and other such stylistic choices in a way that makes sense. If a choice is made just for the sake of making a choice, chances are it is not going to work all that well.

 

Re-Defining Fashion

 

There is a realm that is in between the classic and the progressive that a skilled menswear designer could utilize. That is, utilizing a clothing style from the past that was not known for being fashion forward and rebranding it as such. Perhaps the most prominent example of this was the explosion of flannel in the early nineties. Prior to the grunge movement, flannels were nothing more than the uniform of the outdoorsman or the blue collar working class. However, it gradually turned into a symbol of coolness; a reinvented fashion statement that wasn’t a statement in the least bit beforehand. The designer can point to the flannel phenomenon as grounds for using a rudimentary or a misfit clothing item and turning it into a white hot wearable item. Indeed, there seems to be a lot of material from which to choose from in this regard.

 

Whatever design choice that you make if you find yourself designing menswear, you should reside yourself to the fact that it is a difficult endeavor to undertake. If you do too little in the name of fashion, you may be thought of as being boring. If you do too much, you run the risk of seeing your clothes be blown off as nothing more than a rapidly fading relic of current times. Yet if you are able to land somewhere in the middle of these two camps, you may find yourself designing something that will stand the test of time and grow into a classic look in its own right.