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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

xoxo,

Dina

Etsy · ParsonsxTeenVogue

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

Hello lovelies πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

In order to run a successful business based on my illustrations, First, IΒ created a simple business plan. I wanted to know more about myΒ 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 (kickstarter.com 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.

xoxo,

Dina

ParsonsxTeenVogue

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!!!!!!) πŸ˜€

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ Let me know in the comments if you do!

xoxo,

Dina

 

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

Hello again lovely people πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ™‚

xoxo,

Dina

Etsy · ParsonsxTeenVogue

Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Thinking Like a Designer… Part 2/5

Every good step in your career starts with an “Ahaaaa” moment as Oprah would say πŸ˜€ One of these happened to me as I was planning this post. This post is about what it takes to be a designer, and what factors do designers consider when they’re planning a collection. Reading through my notes made me realize that everything I’m about to write applies to me too as a fashion illustrator. Although my end products are not currently garments or accessories, having a business based on fashion illustrations sold as stationary products makes me go through the same product life-cycle. So, I decided to make this post a practical application of what I learnt from the lessons in this course.

Any collection is made up of products that have a central theme. In fashion design, this theme determines the cuts, fabric choices, colors and other traits combined to create looks. In illustrations, this theme determines the setting, the clothing type, the girl’s character & pose, and the colors of the illustration. We can also have several illustrations as part of Β a collection. For example, we can have a few illustrations with a beach theme where one girl is reading on the beach, a girl having a coconut drink with a flamingo, and another illustration where it’s a group of friends on the beach. Each illustration would have a mood, different swimwear designs, and a different setting as if you are having a photography session with them.

Although these two worlds might differ in several aspects, a common and extremely important one is understanding your market, in other words, “market research”. In both fields you’re designing for an audience and in order to be successful, you need to understand your customers’ lifestyle, values, attitudes, and what it is they’re aspiring to so that your designs can connect and resonate with them. In the end, what your clients value the most is what they’re going to base their buying decisions on. For example, many of my clients appreciate hand-made goods especially those made locally. For some of them, supporting small local business(es) adds to their sense of giving back to their community and for others, they are being more environmentally friendly as there is less carbon foot-print than if they purchase from abroad and for that I’m grateful πŸ™‚ In this case, the more events and craft shows I attend, the higher the chance I have to engage with this customer base and the better chance for them to get to know the maker behind the products and their manufacturing process.

Understanding your customers also helps you with deciding on themes relevant to their lifestyle for your collection(s). For example, looking through my store, I realize I need to add a section for “Wedding”, “Motherhood”, “Graduation”, “Birthdays” and “Work” inspired illustrations. This understanding also helps you with your economic aspects of your business such as with setting pricing strategies, which are in turn reflected in your choice of materials, suppliers, and level of details within an illustration. For example, I used to go to a local scanning studio to scan my artwork which added extra overhead to the cost per print. I did a lot of research until I purchased a scanner that gives me even better scanning quality from the comforts of my own studio πŸ™‚

Being a designer in the fashion world requires confidence in your visual style, personal taste and your skill as a designer. It requires humility that makes you understand your clients’ needs, and self-awareness of what you’re best at doing and what you better leave to the professionals if you can, such as marketing and photography. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s always magical when you succeed.

xoxo,

Dina

ParsonsxTeenVogue

Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Thinking Like a Designer… Part 1/5

Did you catch my previous posts on #ParsonsxTeenVogue new fashion certificate? πŸ™‚ Let me know what you thought about them πŸ˜‰ The first course was all about visual style. How well can you interpret a trend? How do fashion insiders find their style and display their personal brand? This second course is gonna be where the real magic happens for me for it takes us into the design studio. Although I previously touched about the designer’s process from collecting inspiration items (photos, object, etc), creating a mood board, to designing a piece that is inspired from this mood board, this course will dive more into the heavenly details of the process, so let’s get started πŸ˜‰

As we all know, the world of fashion whether it’s Couture, Ready-To-Wear, or even Mass Market has evolved around two keywords: “seasons” and “collections”. A designer would traditionally create a collection for two seasons per year; Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. A collection was also categorized to fit within a certain activity. For example, you were expected to change outfits as you move from “work” to “play”. Today, many designers are starting to adopt the idea of a “season-less” collection to cope with our new lifestyle. A woman is now a working mother who wants an outfit that would serve her entire day duties from being at work in the morning to being at soccer practice maybe with kids or just wanting to hang out at night. This lifestyle gave a boost to ready-to-wear Β and mass-market over couture, as YSL expected decades ago. This shift/boost came with a whole package of challenges throughout the entire production cycle of a garment, which we’re gonna talk about in the coming posts πŸ˜‰

Although garments or clothing are usually the first thing that come to mind when people talk about fashion, accessories actually play an extremely important role in the fashion world. In fact, for most companies, they are the #1 profitable part of the business. When I first read about this, I was shocked too!!!! Hahahaha, but then it made sense. A lot of us as customers want to experiment with new pieces that are sometimes whimsical, and sometimes bold, crazy and fun. This is usually much easier to do in our choice for a bag, a belt, or a pair of earrings than an entire dress. These accessories are our little tiny pieces of freedom πŸ˜‰

In the next post, we’re going to see all factors that a designer thinks of when creating a collection. Hope this is fun for you guys as much as it’s for me πŸ™‚

xoxo,

Dina

 

 

ParsonsxTeenVogue

Teen Vogue & Parsons School of Design: Unlocking Visual Style… Part 4/5

And it’s another Monday πŸ™‚ Hope you lovelies enjoyed your weekend to the most πŸ˜‰ Yesterday, I was thinking that I wanted to write two more posts on visual style. This post is one of them, but I’m leaving the final post till next week to complete an assignment related to it (and yesss,,, I’m super late in finishing my assignments LOL).

Now that we’re introduced to visual style, what it means and how you can find yours in your everyday life routine and objects around you, today we’ll be discussing how to build and reflect your aesthetic. In most fashion related careers, the very first connections are usually made online. Generally, you should want to direct them to your main page where they can get a sense of who you are. Whether you only have an online presence or go to shows/events, you need to reflect a consistent personal brand in all outlets where you connect with viewers or customers.

At this instant, the channels through which I’m trying to display my style and personal brand are the following; my blog which you are currently reading (hahahaha), my Instagram & Facebook page that host my fashion design work, my snapchat which has behind the scene stories, a booth for an event I’m attending, and finally my Etsy store where I do custom illustrations, sell my own fashion illustrations as prints, planner dashboards, greeting cards and hopefully mugs soon (((((fingers crossed))))) πŸ™‚

I started by looking at the objects around me, the style that inspires me the most and wrote down a few keywords I’d like to always be associated with my personal brand. Among these are: Elegant, Happy, Dreamy, Feminine, Strong and Independent. I started with my store. I wanted it to display more clean lines so I switched my fashion illustrations’ display into framed prints rather than just a scanned images, and I was surprised at how much of a change it made!!!! I also changed my Etsy banner to include my most recent illustrations that best reflected my style.

After my store, I went to this blog and asked myself what I wanted to add in here that wasn’t already displayed in my other social media channels. I decided to expand on the concept of “Behind The Scenes” since these stories are always interesting and show the magic and effort behind getting a product from an idea to reality. This blog would represent my journey, my character, my passion, my inspiration and my products for the final products always have a piece of the artist’s soul. This process of building & reflecting my aesthetic keeps evolving with every new inspiration, new experience, new comments I get from my followers, new advice from industry experts and finally the most awesome feedback I get from my clients and you know what? I’m lovvvvvvvving it ❀

Hope you found this post helpful with building your own aesthetic and personal style πŸ™‚

Love,

Dina