We had a client in the office today who went to Parsons School of Design (The New School) and is getting her first line made through us. After helping her with sampling, we're ready to go to production. But it wasn't without bumps along the way. These are some of her remarks during our last meeting.
It takes more than just sketches to transform a look to something a model puts on for an Elle photo shoot. There were technical classes that teach how to make a vector sketch, but it's not until an idea goes into production that the details become extremely critical. While students are encouraged to fill their portfolios for their personal pages or interviews, they do not know the full process from concept to production.
Putting together the garment in New York with a seamstress, marker, pattern maker, cutter, etc was a good way to understand how each of the processes work. But, when working with a factory, many of those steps are combined. What the most important thing becomes is how design intent can be the most clearly stated to prevent mistakes. It takes a team to produce a run of a few hundred or a thousand. If they are not getting good instructions each step of the way, it's difficult to expect everyone on the team to perform their best. It can also increase costs.
Marc Jacobs has Robert Duffy, Ralph Lauren had Peter Strom. Today, most apparel companies now start with just a few products, not a full line. There's e-commerce, kickstarters, and new ways of selling. Keeping track of expenses in production and in marketing are both very important. Designers need to learn how to navigate different sales channels in order to grow as quickly as possible.
Image from The New School