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  • The Design Process

 

It’s a lazy morning and you’re scrolling through social media on your phone, suddenly you see a dress that makes you stop mid scroll and take in all the details. The pleating is neat and crisp, the colours compliment each other, and the fit shows off the model’s figure in all the right places. You look at all these details and wonder. How much work really goes into creating a piece of clothing? A whole collection? 

The answer to this question is: a lot of work. Sometimes months of it for just 10 minutes on the runway. 

The process of designing begins before needles even touch fabric, designers find a source of inspiration to draw from. This can be anything from music, art, nature, fashion in the past, or even abstract ideas.

 

Once a designer has chosen their inspiration or collection theme they create a mood board. A mood board is a collection of images, words, and colours which set the general mood of the collection. By looking at a mood board someone is able to tell the colours, season and inspirations behind the collection, it also helps the designer to stay focused on the collection in order to make it cohesive. 

 

After a mood board is done designers will begin sketching ideas. The initial sketches will not represent the final design but are a start to the ideas for the designer. The sketches are not an accurate representation of the clothing, their purpose is to create the general mood of the collection and narrow down ideas.

 

When the initial sketches are finished, designers will look for fabrics to use. They will take into consideration colour, patterns, and fabric type in accordance to the mood board. This helps narrow the search down and ensures the fabrics will fit the collection.

Following fabric selection, a designer might move to an inspiration board. An inspiration board differs from a mood board because it is a lot more focused on design details, garment silhouettes, and also includes physical elements such as fabric samples, embellishments to be used as well as some initial sketches of the collection. 

Once an inspiration board is finished, the designer will move on to sketching the final version of the garments using the inspiration board as reference for fabrics, embellishing and silhouettes. When all pieces to be included in the collection are finalized, designers will make technical illustrations and spec sheets, this forces the designer to think of every detail. From button placement and alignment to the length of hems, every design detail is finalized and put to paper on technical flats and specs.

When a designer has decided on all the final versions of the garments to be made the pattern making or draping process begins. A designer can choose to make flat patterns using a pencil and rulers or use a dress form to smooth fabric on to make a garment. Once a pattern has been drafted, designers will often sew a mock up. A mock up is made of inexpensive fabric so the designer can work out any issues in the pattern before making it out of the final fabric.

If a designer is happy with the pattern for a garment they sew it up out of the chosen fabric. The sewing process depends on the difficulty of each garment and may take anywhere from an hour to several hundreds of hours for advanced projects.

After many long workdays, the collection is finally ready for presenting. Every designer lives for the feeling of a new collection hitting the runway, even if it is just 10 minutes because it represents hours of hard work and labour.


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