Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Always thinking ahead.

As a fashion designer, I'm always thinking ahead.  Last time I designed a collection I ended up working day and night for an entire month.  So this time I decided to start a little earlier.  

We start out by visiting the Toronto Fashion Incubator to check out the trend forecasting resources.  We're not too big on trends but it's always nice to see what's coming up for next season.  

Tencel fabric swatches plus new linen/cotton blend knits from Italy in a variety of beautiful textures.  We LOVE textures!

The next step in the process is sourcing fabrics.  In the past we've used a lot of reclaimed fabrics, however, there are a lot of obstacles in working with reclaimed.  You can read up on the entire design process here.

Each piece has to be hand picked, then hand cut individually which is incredibly time consuming.  My assistant Siv works with me full time and most of her time is spent sorting vintage, matching colours and cutting garments.  After the garments are back from the sewer we do extensive quality control - mending holes and treating stains that didn't get caught on the first and second round of inspection.  Although the materials are inexpensive, the sheer amount of labour is what drives up the cost.

So this season, for a variety of reasons, we've decided to focus on using only new eco and sustainable fabrics.

A new and exciting venture we're getting into is limited edition pieces.  We've sourced some choice fabrics from Italy and we'll be offering limited edition, hand dyed tops.  We'll be offering one size run per colour and that's it!  (I call dibs on the extra small purple by the way).

Mudsilk is dyed brown with a root then washed using iron bearing mud.
Finding sustainable and eco fabrics is especially challenging.  A lot of the fabrics out there are quite basic and come in undyed/natural colours.  We're known for our bright colours, eclectic textures and bold prints, so we have to keep searching for the right fabrics for our brand.
We visit a variety of fabric showrooms and meet with fabric sales reps to see what is new and what is available for the coming season.  There's no sense in designing anything yet, since, if we can't find the fabric, we can't make it.

Mudsilk continued
Once we know what is available, we can start to think about pieces and styles.  Which fabrics are appropriate for tops? bottoms? dress?

Stay tuned as the design process continues . . . 

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