Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Understanding Fashion Production. Part 5

Hello again wonderful people 🙂 How is your week going so far? Hope it’s been awesome!!! Today we’re going to talk about product mockups! yuppp!!! When I first read the assignment, I was freaking out a bit. I mean I was like ARE YOUR SERIOUS??!!! How can I create a mockup when I haven’t studied fashion before (this also applies to the next assignment of creating an actual product LOL!!!), so let’s see what happened.

Generally, designers create mockups because they act as a communication medium with the manufacturers in addition to helping the designers understand the production process, think and make decisions about suitable fabrics & materials, as well as estimate production costs, etc.

The “Mockup” assignment was as following:

1. Create a mockup of your “signature” bag. This could be a purse, a backpack, a messenger bag, etc.

2. The mockup should represent your visual style that has been established in one of the previously created mood boards.

3. Make use of previously found fabrics to create a production cost grid for the bag. This grid should include your proposed retail price.

So, how to tackle this project? First, I decided to create a mockup for a previously designed bag for one of the certificate modules. The bag design was couture style so it wasn’t easy to come up with a plan. I decided which colors, fabrics, and materials to use. I wanted the base of the bag to be pink leather, and the bag handle to be metal welded with colors. The main branch to be gold color and the flowers to be dark pink, blue and green. The butterflies would be colored as well. These are not the fabrics I chose for a previous mood board, since I was only thinking about dresses when I chose the fabrics and not bags. Another trip to the fabric store was inevitable to get the price for pink leather fabric, but I decided to delay this to the very end.

Next comes a visit to a local craft store. I picked up pink card stock paper with texture similar to the leather I imagined, colored flowers to add on top just to indicate where everything should go and decided to create the butterflies myself. I looked for gold card stock paper for the handle, but couldn’t find any so I decided to use the pink paper for the entire bag since it was just a mockup.

The assignment at this point was gonna take so much time, much more than the suggested 90 minutes so I needed to make decisions. First, I created a mockup of the bag using regular white paper. These pieces of paper would act as my pattern for the nice pink card stock paper and build my experience constructing a bag. I finally created the mockup for the bag using the pink card stock. I added the flowers, but creating the butterflies would have consumed so much time at this point so I stopped.

The final challenge is with the production cost grid. I had two problems; finding the cost of the materials (leather, metal sheets) and estimating the labor hours especially for the people who do metal welding. I went to two local fabric stores and they had no leather.  I researched on Etsy to get a price estimate, but the fabrics weren’t what I had imagined, so I decided to get a production cost price estimate from an overseas designer I know in Egypt. I sent her pictures of my mockup and the materials I had in mind, asked her to give me an estimate if I were to use her workshop for producing my bag. The cost should include: (a) pink leather fabric, (b) stitching, (c) liner if needed, (d) metal sheets, and (e) labor costs. The estimated total production cost in Egypt is USD $450. Adding 20% profit would total to USD $540. The estimated retail price would be USD $600 using these materials.

I hope this sheds some light into what it takes to produce an accessory piece for you 😉

P.S.* There is a tiny detail on the front of the bag design that is not present in the mockup!





Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Understanding Fashion Production. Part 4

This is SUCH a cool course in the fashion certificate!!! Not only do you get exposed to new info about fashion production, but you get answers to questions you’ve been thinking of whenever you try on garments. Ok, so how many of you think they know their size in a specific brand, go buy a similar item without trying it on and then figure out that it’s a bit tight or a bit loose?!!! The answer to this mystery is right here in this post 😉

The days where I buy a few items blindly thinking that I’ve figured out my size(s) in pants, blouses, tops or even dresses from a specific brand are long gone. I’ve always wondered why can’t the factories of a brand get it right every time. I mean don’t they have specifications to work with? How hard is it to follow the measurements on paper? The answer is Standard Deviation. Although we’re relying on machinery to stitch garments up, these machines are still operated by humans and humans make errors!! Each designer adds an allowance within certain areas of the garment where an error might occur. These are usually a deviation of half an inch or one fourth of an inch, or one eighth of an inch. This is acceptable for mass market production, not in couture though as in high end collections, they are made to fit the client’s specific measurements.

In order to experience this, I went to a department store, picked several jeans that I liked from different brands in different sizes. In order to nail down the look and feel that I wanted from each brand, I found out that my size varied up to two inches in the waist for the pants. This variation was not only between different brands, but between different pants for the same brand. Hence, realizing that one of the many challenges faced by brands in the mass market category is fit and sizing.

Adios amigos, or till the next awesome assignment 😉




Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Understanding Fashion Production. Part 3

Hello beautiful people!! As you can see, I’m still doing my assignments for the third course in the certificate and they’re beyond amazing 🙂 Today’s post (aka course assignment hahaha) is about understanding Production Costs, and how they affect your profit margin when you are designing for a few pieces versus when you’re designing and selling in bulks.

In a previous post, we talked about creating an accessory piece out of unconventional materials. My piece was a pair of paper laminated earrings. I created the illustration myself, printed and laminated it. In my current assignment, I’m calculating the production costs if I were to produce a single pair versus if I would to produce them in bulks. When I started making the calculations, I figured that It doesn’t make financial sense to produce a single earring as the labor cost would be a significant overhead and I wouldn’t be able to sell my earring, so I decided to make the calculations as if the minimum quantity to produce is 30 earrings and then divided the numbers to get the cost per earring (as you can see in this post’s featured image).

What I learnt is that producing in bulks is more economical and efficient. For example, I put 3 hours of labor into making a single design, printing 30 of them on a single sheet of paper, and laminating this sheet and then cutting it off to produce 30 different earrings. This time wouldn’t be much less if I were creating one pair, since I would still be putting the same amount of time in the design, printing and lamination. The only difference would be in cutting the laminated sheet into 30 different parts and attaching the hooks.

I hope this post gave you a good overview on how to set a simple pricing strategy for your products. It’s very similar to what you would do if you’re a small business owner even if not in fashion 😉



Etsy · ParsonsxTeenVogue

Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Understanding Fashion Production. Part 2

How can you bring a collection to life? This is a topic I knew nothing about before I started this course, and I’m way toooo excited to know every single detail about the brain of the fashion industry; ” The Production & Sales of Clothing and Accessories”. In order to get hands on experience with this knowledge, I decided to apply everything I learn from this course into starting a small fashion line of my own.

As most of you know, if you’re following my blog, I want to apply to a fashion school to study fashion within the next two years and all sorts of experiences related to fashion would be of great value on my resume and later towards my career in starting my own fashion label. Since I’m already creating illustrations for my Etsy store, I thought printing my illustrations on T-shirts and Sweatshirts would be an awesome introduction for me to the production process in the fashion world. Let’s go through this experience together and see what challenges will occur on the way 😉

Since we already talked about the business, financial and marketing plans in the previous post, I’ll focus on the actual production aspects in this one. First, I created a mood board that had the following: (a) a few of my illustrations, (b) fabric swatches, (c) T-shirt/sweatshirt designs, and (d) images of different T-shirt colors. I filtered all of these and finalized a list that contains the illustrations I want to print, the final T-shirt and sweatshirt designs, the fabric used to be cotton, and the colors I want to offer are: white, beige, and pink.

The second step is creating a sample. Generally, in mass market were hundreds and thousands of pieces are produced, the factory has a “perfect finished sample” of each design piece to work from in order to avoid costly mistakes. Big fashion houses usually create these samples in-house, while small brands tend to send the design to the factories they work with to create a sample before production. In my case, I can’t print the illustration myself on the T-shirts so I had to look for a garment supplier to do that for me. Luckily, finding local garment suppliers was one of my assignments.. LOL!! I created a list of the best local garment suppliers in Toronto, ON to contact. I also created this digital mock up of one of my illustrations printed on a sweatshirt to act as a medium for us to discuss and build on.

The benefits of having a local garment supplier for me are huge. First, it builds on my brand identity of #madeinCanada which resonates with a lot of my clients who shop at local craft shows to support goods made locally. Second, it allows me to be environmentally conscious about topics such as labor issues and the environmental cost of shipping since I don’t currently have the capacity to dig deep into the conditions of suppliers abroad. Third, it allows for faster shipping times and lower minimum quantity demanded by the supplier(s). Now, I’m in the process of contacting these suppliers and I’m sooooo excited 🙂

Generally, after agreeing on the sample garment you create a Tech Pack. These are the detailed instructions on how they should produce the samples in bulk. In my case, I’m looking to get the T-shirts and sweatshirts ready made from cotton fabric and just print the illustrations on them (not sure if this is gonna be how it actually works though hahahaha)!!! Once your sample(s) are perfectly made, you create line sheets. A line sheet is like an excel version of your garment details on paper that are used to make the sale to buyer(s) at a department store or at trade shows. They have images of your garment followed by details such as sizing, pricing, available colors and quantity.

I’ll keep you posted of what happens with my line 😉



Etsy · ParsonsxTeenVogue

Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Understanding Fashion Production. Part 1

Hello lovelies 🙂 THANK GOD It’s FRIDAY!!!! It’s been such a long week and the happiest ending to it is going back to my fashion certificate classes and talking to you about it 😉 Today, we’re going to scratch the surface of what happens on the business side of the fashion world. What kind of decisions are made and what impact do these decisions have on the profitability of a company.

At the end of the day, fashion is a business just like any other. In order to run a successful one, you should start by figuring out which area your passion lies in. My passion is in design so the next question for me was what type of clothing I’m interested in designing? Since I’m still doing fashion illustrations at this point, I’m free to explore designing for couture, ready-to-wear, or even mass market. Love couture the most though 😉

In order to run a successful business based on my illustrations, First, I created a simple business plan. I wanted to know more about my target clients, who they were? where do they live? what do they value? and what their expectations are from my products at this price point? This is more of an iterative process, based on my experience, as you keep learning more and more about your clients the more you interact with them.

Now that you’ve known enough about your clients and what products you want to create, the second step is figuring out FUNDING!! Your financial plan will determine your initial cost and the amount of funds you need for your day-to-day operations. Whether you’re funding your business out of pocket or seeking external funds ( as an example), a financial plan is a crucial part for sustaining your business and monitoring your expenses.

The final two plans you need are your marketing, and management plans. Your marketing plan will determine the channels through which you’ll reach your target customers (online social media channels, direct marketing, events, shows, etc). A management plan is necessary if you’re planning on hiring people to help you with your business either from the beginning or down the road.

These principles are common in running any successful business in fashion or any other field. In the next post, we’re gonna explore some aspects that are mostly related to a business in the fashion world.




Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Thinking Like a Designer…Part 4/5

Did I tell you that the assignments for this course were freaking fantastic?!!!! In the previous post, we talked about painting on fabric. This assignment we’re talking about creating your own accessory piece (wohooo!!!!!!) 😀

In general, accessories can be made out of several different materials. They are emotional, free-spirited pieces. Ranging from prints on bags, clear plastic materials for see-through bags, to unconventional belts, there are a lot of materials that you can experiment with to produce new designs. The challenge for this assignment was not just creating an accessory piece, but creating one out of unconventional material. One suggestion was creating a belt out of a rope and a padlock! yeah, I’m serious 🙂

First, I wanted to create a pair of sunglasses out of Styrofoam and gold metallic paper. I’m not sure why, but that’s the first thing that popped in my head hahahhaha!!! Then, I thought about learning paper quilling and creating a couple of butterflies for earrings. I still love this idea, but I thought this might be unpractical to produce if I’m gonna be thinking like a designer. One day, it hit me. I decided to create a pair of earrings using laminated paper. I’m already creating laminated dashboards for my Etsy store. The laminated product is relatively sturdy and I could have a lot of fun with the different illustrations I could use as the designs for the earrings.

In order to complete my product, first, I visited a local craft store and bought a pack of earring hooks. I chose the silver color because I thought it would work best with the white laminated paper. Second, I printed several of my shoes’ design on a single piece of paper with different sizes. I picked the size I liked the most. I laminated the design using my lamination machine and lamination pouches. Then, I used my whole puncher to create the wholes where I was going to secure the hooks to. As you can see, it actually looks like a real product LOL!!!! I was sooo happy with the final result.

It’s amazing what you can do or create with very little material! Hope you guys love the earrings that you try to create something yourselves 😉 Let me know in the comments if you do!





Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Thinking Like a Designer… Part 3/5

Hello again lovely people 🙂 In previous posts, we talked about inspiration, mood boards and how we can transform concepts into designs. Today, I’m gonna be talking about two awesome assignments I had in this course; one in this post and the second in another one 😉 Today’s post is going to be about “Painting on Fabric

Although I draw on paper using a variety of markers and sometimes watercolors, painting on any sort of fabric has always been a fear of mine. I couldn’t think of a simple way to transfer a sketch I plan out on paper or on iPad Pro to the fabric and make changes before I start painting, so I always avoided it although pictures of other illustrators doing it so awesomely on makeup bags, purses, and bags always intrigued me. Having, so wrongly, decided to wait until I’m in fashion school to start coloring fabric, I was soooooo excited that one of my assignments called “Collection Sample” challenged me to do it. In the sample video, the instructor used heavy canvas and silkscreen ink to make a simple striped canvas fabric. However, I thought if I’m going to create a pattern by painting on fabric, I’m gonna get some fabric paint and some brushes to do what I haven’t had the courage to do so far, PAINT ON FABRIC!! (yayyyy LOL).

First, since the assignment was to create a patterned printed fabric, I decided my pattern was going to be lipsticks. The colors I decided to buy were red, black, gold and white. I went to a local craft store, bought a piece of cotton fabric and some colors. I already had some brushes at home. I washed the fabric first to avoid shrinkage after painting. It was a bit wrinkled, so I put it in a hoop which also helped a bit with control. The remaining challenge for me was how I was going to draw a sketch as I always do before coloring. At this point I remembered that when I was in Paris studying at Lesage, more on that later ;), that we used pencils to sketch on silk organza when needed. So, I used a pencil to sketch the first line of lipsticks on the fabric. I wish I made someone take a photo of me to show you guys how happppy I was hahahah!!! After I finished sketching, I opened the colors and started coloring. A feeling of exhilaration ❤

Don’t be intimidated by anything you want to do, for 99% of the time, it’s much simpler in reality than you make it in your head 🙂