Categories
A Kick in the Ass

Now or Never

This year has been a fascinating one. In the beginning of the pandemic, I was quite sure that things would really slow down as far as my business was concerned. No one was looking for a designer, much less a production house, amidst a nation-wide pandemic, right?

SO WRONG. I was so. Wrong.

This year has been my busiest to date and after speaking to client after client about their goals and why they’ve decided to start a clothing line NOW, I’ve realized that for most people, it’s now or never. Their work has either drastically mellowed, or faded altogether. I realize that for some this pandemic has completely changed peoples’ livelihoods, but for those who reached out to me, it was because they saw their newly-cleared calendar as an opportunity to do something they’ve always wanted to do-start their own product line.

It’s a refreshing change to be able to speak with people who’ve taken their lemons and are choosing to make *sweet* lemonade. They’re choosing to do something productive with their “down” time and I have SO enjoyed meeting and working with all of these ambitious individuals.

I wanted to write this post in case you, too, are on the fence about starting a new project. There is a lot of new opportunity to be had as people and companies shift the way they are clocking in for work.

Wonder where the best opportunities lie in the next year?

  • Activewear
  • Loungewear
  • Streetwear
  • Sleepwear

If any of these categories has been on your “someday” list, I dare you to take a leap of faith and just do it. For most of us, it really is now or never.

Categories
Fashion 101

Forecasting Trends

Forecasting trends today is completely different than it was 10-20+ years ago. It used to be that there were top players in the forecasting game who worked for companies like WGSN, Doneger, Trendswest, etc. They’d travel the world, going to fashion shows, immersing themselves in the street culture and snapping pics of the most forward-thinking dressers in whatever beautiful city they found themselves covering. They’d sit through the glamorous fashion shows and take note of necklines, skirt lengths, sleeves, color. They’d then take the rolls and rolls of film they used, get the pictures made, and start creating mood boards and stories around the information they’d collected.

Today, the same is true of trend-spotting, but the difference is that the forecasters behind the lense of the (iPhone camera) are you and I. Social media and the internet has completely changed the way trend information is shared and created. There is no longer a formula; no more rules. This makes a designers job both easier and harder.

One the one hand, it is easier because there is so much free information available at our fingertips. All we need to do is swipe through Instagram and follow top bloggers. There are also loads of publications and magazines you can subscribe to on a monthly basis that is still cheaper than paying $10-20k a year for trend forecasting services. As a designer, you can build a pretty solid collection using this free information.

On the other hand, because there is so much information and things are constantly changing and moving, it is hard to keep up. A skirt length that seems to be trending today and for the next month may be old news in the 9-12 months before you are able to develop and launch the idea.

How can I effectively design a collection without spending a years’ salary on a forecasting service?

If you are on a calendar where you need to be designing 2 years out, unless you can see into the future I highly recommend using a forecasting service. A couple I recommend:

Fashion Snoops is a very budget-friendly choice for freelancers and small business alike.

WGSN is the top choice, but is very expensive and not necessary unless you are a bigger company.

If you’re not looking to spend money, here are a few great places to find good information on trends (that is not Instagram):

  • WWD
  • Any women’s fashion magazine like: Elle, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Marie-Claire, W Magazine, InStyle
  • Apparel News
  • The Business of Fashion
  • Top Fashion bloggers with large followings
  • Tradeshows
Categories
Fashion 101

Real Talk: A Designer’s Role

Let’s talk about what you should and should not be looking for when vetting a designer for your project. Just like any other working relationship, one should take the time to do some research on who they are thinking about hiring on for a project.

There are literally thousands (if not millions) of people out there calling themselves ‘designers’, and while they may love fashion and may be able to sketch like a goddess (or god), there are other more more important things to consider before partnering up. So, I’m just going to dive right in and give it to you straight.

THIS IS WHAT A DESIGNER SHOULD DO/BE

  • Obviously, they need to be able to sketch. Whether it’s by hand or CAD they should be able to convey the design living in your head onto paper.
  • A good designer can sketch. A great designer can offer technical advice on the ideas the client has. If a zipper would work better as a closure than the buttons the client wants, the designer should be able to call it out from the get-go. Which leads me to…
  • Listening. The designer needs to be a grade-A listener. Remember, the client is usually seeking out a designer because they’ve come up with a brilliant idea but just aren’t sure how to put it down on paper. It is the job of a designer to listen to the client’s needs.
  • Organized. It’s rude to be 2 minutes late to an appointment either over the phone or in person), and we here at CBC live by the orderliness of a well-organized calendar. We’re sticklers for a calendar. Designers should be organized and prepared. Always.

THIS IS WHAT A DESIGNER SHOULD NOT DO/BE

  • Ego stars. Bad designers will let their egos run rampant when singing onto a project, forgetting that they were hired on to create, yes, but to create around the parameters set by the client. Unless a client asks a designer to go buck-wild and have a free-for-all, they need to be able to stay in their lane.
  • Easily discouraged. There is some subjectivity to the work of a designer. Yes, we should be following the direction of the client and their needs, but at the end of the day we are creating work that can be subject to scrutiny or negative feedback. This should not lead a designer down an emotional path. A great designer should be able to accept feedback on the work presented, ask for more guidance on the client’s vision, and move forward with a positive attitude.
  • Late. Designers can sometimes tend to be a little loose with a calendar. A great designer will give you a deadline, and hit that date (assuming she/he as all she’s requested from the client to deliver the work).