Fashion in 2021

As we roll into a new year (being cautiously optimistic), I was curious to understand what sort of shifts were happening in the apparel market from the effect of COVID-19 (ugh, I know I hate to bring it up here, but hey – we gotta stay in the know!)

Fashion entrepreneurs are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to hit the market, and understanding what is relevant to the times is key to their success.

That said, I found some interesting tidbits that I thought I’d share. If I spark any million-dollar ideas inside any of your heads, cut me in for at least 40%, yeah?

Anti-viral clothing. Yup. Your clothes have the potential to be cleaner than your hands. Some brands are implementing finishes on their fabrics, partnering with companies such as ViralOff and HeiQ that are essentially make your fabrics self-cleaning. Better yet, why not just fend off the germs completely with this jacket by Vollebak? Our clothes are getting futuristic.

Eco-friendly face masks. We all know how important being green is in the apparel space (or any space, really) these days, and masks are, and will continue to be, in our lives for the foreseeable future. There are loads of different brands coming out with innovative masks, much like Beta(MSK).

Loungewear that goes above and beyond. You don’t have to heavily research buying trends to know that loungewear is having a HUGE moment since virtually everyone is working from home. Being that the ethos of the times is heavily focused in wellness and self-care, brands are doing the most by putting their lounge collections on steroids. Dagsmejan uses a technology that blends microlycell fibers from Eucalyptus with energizing minerals, which absorbs and converts body heat, transforming it into far infrared energy, helping to increase blood flow and accelerate muscle recovery. Other companies are using Eucalyptus as well to keep the body cool and well-ventilated. There are loads of other fibers being used in clothing, dubbing these fabrics as “skin-care” fabrics. I have a few good hookups if you’re interested.

Virtual Closets are also becoming a big thing. There are apps being made that will allow for virtual try-ons, ultimately helping with returns and all-around customer happiness. Along this same line is virtual styling.

Times are changing, and I personally don’t see us going back to “normal” (what is normal these days anyway?) anytime soon. But every change has a window of opportunity and IDK about you but my creative juices are flowing and it’s only the 1st week of January.

Here’s to optimism, stellar ideas, and the kick in the ass we need to make things happen in 2021.

Happy New Year,


Legal Things

NDA’s & Fashion

Why I probably won’t sign your NDA

Spending money and time developing your new clothing line is a huge deal, and you want to protect your investment. I get it.

But here’s the deal about having contract designers, sewers, and pattern-makers sign a NDA: Most won’t do it. I actually don’t know of any who would.


It’s not because we want to steal or share your ideas with the world – if we did that, we would have a pretty terrible reputation and we wouldn’t get any business and we might as well just shut our doors right now.

You have to understand – there is little in this world that has NOT been done in terms of “fashion”. To be totally blunt, the T-shirt you designed is like thousands of other T-shirts, and no one needs to sign a NDA for that. No one is re-inventing the wheel (or jeans, or A-line dress, etc etc). If you truly have an idea so innovative that it requires legal protection, I would skip the lawyer and just go straight to the big guys and get your idea patented.

That aside, the very simple reason that if Casual Brand Creative will be patterning, sampling, and producing your line is that we have no control over who sees what during this process. We do not work in a bunker where no one is allowed in and out of our facility. Nor do we work with suppliers who work in an isolated camp. If your garment is laying on a table, and someone walks by and sees that garment, we cannot make them unsee it. The good news? Those eyes probably have a one-track mind when they are on site, and that is to check on their own goods. They usually aren’t trying to pull some undercover spy operation to steal others’ ideas.

Like I said – we don’t want to share your intel, but because chances are that we cannot 100% protect whose eyes fall upon your project, we don’t want the responsibility that your NDA requires of us.

If that doesn’t sit well with you, please know that the seasoned people who have been in the business years and years do not require NDA’s, because they know. It’s just not done. This should make you confident to know that successful brands do not practice this.

Disclaimer: If it’s not obvious, I am not a legal expert and you should probably ask a lawyer about your specific project needs, but honestly I just gave you some solid advice.

Fashion 101

The Design & Development Calendar

The subject of the design calendar has come up a lot with clients and potential clients this month. Something must be in the air, because I’ve had to have a few chats about why the calendar is so important when planning your new line.

In the past, I’ve worked on plenty of projects that were not planned properly.

And do you know what the outcome was?

Because there was no proper timeline or calendar (just a vision to get to a photoshoot and trade show and relish in all the glory), there’s a decent list of things that went wrong (and you can expect to go wrong,) if you don’t have a clear plan set out:

  • The line was sloppy, thrown together, and was not cohesive. There was no story to tell – there were hand-beaded gowns mixed with body-con knits and distressed-jersey tees. That’s the sort of threesome that’s literally never going to work out. You cannot start a brand new label and offer everything under the sun. No one will take you seriously and they’ll just be confused about who you are as a brand. A good designer or design team will take at least 3 months to really research and develop a cohesive story and line plan.
  • The fit of the garments were not great. When you’re offering a hand-beaded gown for $600+ your fit cannot be bad. It better hug that model in all the right places and not have a weird armhole. Fitting the line properly once you are in the development stage is crucial. Some designs are more difficult than others, and if you rush through and don’t take time to properly fit the garments, expect that your return rate will be high. You can expect the development process to take 2-3 months. Always plan for 3.
  • So then there’s production to work into the calendar. If you’re already pinched for time, running the proper QC needed and keeping attention to detail for the production is going to be non-existent. I don’t think I need to say why that would be bad. Plan for 3 months production lead time (+1 month vessel to port, total 4 months) if working offshore. Plan for about 2 months if working in the USA.

You’re basically giving birth to your new line – 9 months is the bare minimum it should take to set your new label up for success.

Don’t cut corners.

Don’t believe someone can get you up and running in 2,3,4, 6 months. They can’t.

Don’t trust that your USA production house says they will have your product out in 6 weeks. They won’t.

Do trust people (me) who have seen it all. Believe that if I had superpowers and could get your line up and running in a month, I totally would. But, I don’t. So, do it right!

Happy Friday!

Fashion 101

Let’s Talk Logos

Brand identity is key to success in the fashion business. This much has always been true, and will continue to be. The way the message is relayed, however, has been #updated.

You guys – whether you like it or not, (whether you’re in your 60’s, 40’s, or 20’s and just old-school), social media is THE key to success right now. Your brand “icon”, “logo”, or “wordmark” is paramount to the degree of the success you will or will not have.

The way you brand or identify yourself is basically your business card. Let’s unpack this really quick.

Back in the day, business cards were the golden ticket. You could sidle up to someone you’ve been dying to meet, savvy up some random conversation and slip them your card. If it was a good one (an interesting one), you may or may not have received a call or email.

Today, your business card is your social platform. The content you create is your newsletter, and your brand icon or logo is your “about” page.

So I’d like to talk about The Casual Brand Creative, and the reasoning behind our icon, in hopes that it may inspire you to take a second glance at your own.

Color is the first element that draws an audience. Color speaks many languages, and above all, the language of emotion.

Casual Brand Creative landed on a neutral tone for color as an icon backing. This is because we design neutrally. We pride ourselves on absorbing all of our clients’ needs and desires to create products that speak for the brand, not to our personal preferences.

We constantly hear advice that you should only offer service to brands that fit your subjective design perspective, and we aren’t down with that.

At CBC, we pride ourselves on looking beyond our subjective thoughts and opinions on design in order to create a product that is on brand with whomever we work with.

This is not to say that we work with every random Joe in the business. But if Joe has something interesting to say, we’re going to do our damndest to say it the best way for Joe.



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.


  • 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.


  • 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).