Our lovely customers often ask how we go about designing our products, so we decided to do a series of blog posts showing you how we approach designing, and how our ideas become the finished products. We are going to show you the process right from start to finish, encompassing design, sample making, production, photography, and, finally, sales!
Step 1 – Research
Before we start with anything else, we do a bit of research! This covers several different areas, and happens in a number of ways. Firstly, we look at our own designs that have sold well in the previous season. We take on board any suggestions from customers and make notes on our products, asking questions like:
- What did customers like?
- What did customers dislike?
- How was the fit?
- Would other colours work better?
- What changes could we make to improve the fit / style / overall look?
Secondly, we look at what is on trend right now, and what is predicted to be fashionable in the coming seasons. We take note of what is happening in the fashion world, with a particular focus on colours and shapes. We do look at mainstream designers and the high street, but we obviously are an alternative hippy folk festival fashion brand, so we do stick to our distinctive style only incorporating current fashion elements where it works. By keeping an eye we can create items that will fit in with other items in your wardrobe, although of course we often design items that have very little influence from the mainstream. Often our customers want a type of garment that is fashionable, eg pinafore dress, but want it in a ethical, handmade, hippy style – and that’s what we do!
Finally, we look at what our suppliers have been working on and the fabrics and techniques that are available to us. Of course there are some very old and traditional techniques that we use, but new ones pop up too! Sometimes our suppliers have been working on a new technique, or have an abundance of a certain type of material. In this case, we take samples and look at how we can use them in our designs, or create entirely new designs specifically to use these new materials.
For example, one supplier had lots of patchwork fabric available. Business had been quiet and our suppliers did not have much work, so instead of leaving their employees with no work or income, the tailors were set about making patchwork from fabric off-cuts and waste fabric that would otherwise have been thrown away. We then designed a range of simple garments using the patchwork, which are eco friendly (as they are made from recycled fabric!) and Socially responsible too (providing continuous employment!)
So research is a really important first step for us. We need to make sure that we design items that our customers will want to buy, but also utilise materials and processes that are available to our suppliers. We learn from the fashion industry and take inspiration from other designers, and also take note of feedback from our customers to update previous lines and create new ones.
Once we’ve done the research we move onto the next step, all of which will be revealed in our next Our Process blog post!
Until then, Love & Good Karma xx