New York Fashion Week (NYFW), or NYFW, recently came to a close in the Big Apple, and we got a chance to check out some of the must- see collections for Spring/Summer 2015! For those of you unfamiliar with the process of Fashion Week, it is an opportunity for designers to showcase their collections six months in advance, presenting to the judgmental eyes of the fashion community and buyers looking to get their hands on the next big item. That being said, designers start working on their collections six months prior to debuting them! Designers forecast what customers will want to wear a whole year in advance!
How do they know what customers will want to wear? The process leading up to a collection can be broken down into a series of phases that will eventually result in a collection, either for Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer, Holiday, or Resort. Presentations and Fashion shows are for the big leagues, designers who are already big names in the industry, and they come with a whole slew of more tasks that we will talk about at another time. These are the beginning steps leading up to NYFW:
Each season the design phase begins with a question, “What do my customers want/need?” For me, I start by figuring out what my customers will be doing when they are wearing their bags. Are they traveling this time of year? If so, where are they going? I find inspiration for design and color in my own travels. For the summer months, I know my clients are vacationing. We introduced a Traveler Tote for them to carry their quintessential weekender items while skipping out of town. Summer months are all about fun in the sun, so we wanted colors that reflect that time of year, like Hibiscus Pink and Paradise Blue.
Start by sketching, or use a computer program such as CAD to create what you want included in the collection such as shirts, prints, accessories, details, etc. Make sure to include dimensions and labels for your sketches and to go over every detail with your manufacturer when you start the sample phase.
After sketching a potential prototype or making one yourself, the sample phase begins with your manufacturer. Hopefully you are working with a manufacturer you know and trust, because you may be thinking one thing and the person creating your item may be thinking something completely different.
With anticipation, you wait for your samples to come back. Hopefully your sample turns out better than you thought or, at least, close to what you had imagined. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a few tries to get what you want. Not to worry, this is all part of the creative process! From sketch to real life takes patience and precision. With a sample, most manufacturers will make a pattern as well for cutting dies or molds.
Once the samples are finished its time to wear, play, stretch, and use your sample. This is the best method to understanding its durability and what customers will be experiencing when they receive it. Sometimes you need to change small aspects. We decided to add an additional pocket inside the interior of one of our bags during this stage of the process. Once everything meets your specifications, it’s time to make duplicates.
Once you have perfected your sample, it is time to duplicate your design in the color array that best represents your brand. If you are a dress maker for instance, this step would involve making the dress in several different colors and patterns. A jewelry designer might produce necklaces in different chain lengths or hardware colors. When it comes to the duplicating phase for Lauren Cecchi New York, we produce every style in every color from that season. We do this so that we can photograph the entire collection of handbags for buyers to choose from, and so they don’t have to imagine what styles and leather colors would look like together; they can actually see it and feel it.
Once you have detailed photographs that not only clearly depict your style, but also your brand, it is time to assemble look books and line sheets. These materials are essential in scheduling appointments with showrooms to view and feel the new collection.
Presentations and runway shows are a whole other side of NYFW. Large brands have the ability to put on these extravagant productions where buyers and fashion enthusiasts from across the globe can come experience their future collections all in one place.
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