How is fashion created?
18.9.2021, Anna H.
Have you ever wondered how a fashion collection is actually created? Every brand and every designer certainly has their best practices and each approach may be a little different, but the principles are basically the same.
In the beginning there is an idea
Each collection should have a main idea or a theme if you wish. A silhouette, a material or a feeling that accompanies the entire collection and connects it together. Inspiration can come from anywhere - from music, events around us, from the street fashion or from the nature. This inspiration is further developed and then taken into individual designs. Fun fact is that about 5% of the designs on paper actually reach boutiques and shop windows. So imagine how much effort and energy that is devoted to the preparation of the designs will then in a way be wasted. The pieces from the collection that are "the best" and that also make economic sense then get into the shops. In other words, the brand management believes they will sell. That's why sometimes we can often see bizarre pieces on catwalks that no one would wear, but they bring attention. However, if you visit the stores, you will find a significantly less controversial offer.
Alice in the material wonderland
The selection of materials is an absolutely key discipline. Experience and good business relations are needed here. The possibilities of materials are endless and they come in a whole range of quality. It takes some time to find out which supplier is good to work with and who carries a good quality selection. Unfortunately, less and less materials are produced in the Czech Republic, so you will most likely have to take a few trips abroad to visit your suppliers.
An equally important part is the pattern-making. Did you know that a pattern designer is one of the best paid jobs in the fashion industry? No wonder, it's a job you really have to know, have years of experience and be sure of what you do. They are actually architects of the garments who can technically transfer the required result to paper according to the design and assignment of the designer. Dimensions, types of seams, distances, angles, position of the fabric - all these aspects must be consistent, otherwise the result will not work. As soon as there is a mistake in the pattern, the garment does not look good, it is strangled or crumpled somewhere, the seams are twisted. A lot of time is devoted to the development of cuts and it often takes several weeks or months.
Samples and re-samples
I wish it was that "simple" right? The material and cut need to be tested. And it is an illusion to assume that everything will work on the first try. Sometimes you sew a given piece for the tenth time, before you finalize the cut, choose the material and all the other components so that the result the designer aim for is achieved. And it often happens that you find out that the garment just doesn't work and you have no choice but to let it go.
Once you have the cut, the selected material and you are satisfied with your sample, you must prepare the documents for production. If you do not only sew custom pieces according to the wishes of individual customers, but on the contrary you produce clothes in series, the collection will be sewn by a professional sewing factory. Such a factory will need to know exactly what you expect from them. Because they weren't involved in your design and sample development process, they can't know the "first thing" about your product. In order to pass the information to the factory, there is a technical documentation, which is a multi-page document where you have to describe every single issue that is reflected in the final piece. What type of the seams we are using, how many cm from the edge of the fabric will be the seam, where will the tags be, how many mm should the buttonhole have, what threads will we use, what information will be on the material and care label, and so on. You also need to make sure that the factory understands your documentation and interprets the information you provide correctly.
Production at last!
The production itself is a relatively fast process, if you come across a factory that is able to sew your entire collection. After all, every production specializes only in something, so it can simply happen that while one production sew your dresses, you have to make the trousers elsewhere.
And what is next?
In short, this is all that precedes the fashion collection from entering the fashion brand's warehouse. Maybe you want to say, "uff" we are done and throw yourselves on for the next season. But don't get me wrong, now comes the most difficult task, when you want to ideally achieve that your collection is popular, that customers find out about it, and the best case scenario - you make some money.
Are you surprised how much effort and energy does it take to make one dress? How many different professions and resources are needed for it? We are not at all surprised, when you can easily buy a blouse for a couple of bucks, no one can ever imagine the effort behind it. International chains can afford cheap prices because they outsource production in the countries with the cheapest labor. They usually do not care about the quality of life of people in those countries, nor about the quality of their product. It is impossible to pay fairly for production and sell a blouse for less than a price of a sandwich. We swear!
Anna, CEO & Founder
This article was written by Anna Havlíčková - the founder and director of Appre. Anna has gained valuable experience in the fashion industry in America, especially in Los Angeles, where she worked for several years. She experienced the creation of fashion collections, the preparation of fashion week, photo shoots of fashion editorials, the environment of international fashion fairs and much more. A few years ago, she returned to Prague to fulfill her dream and establish her own fashion brand according to her ideas and ethical values.