Amp Up Your 2019 Design Efforts With An Extended Virtual Design Team

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It perhaps comes as no surprise to you that most creative efforts begin well before they actually come into existence. Design houses and fashion labels the world over are already gearing up and designing their Spring-Summer 2019 collections.

Years before trend reports make it to the pages of reputed publications, councils decide the colors and trends that would dominate the fashion scene. Yarn manufacturers exchange swatches with design houses and perfect the color compositions. And all of this happens behind the scenes, so much so that only professionals in the domain know where to look for this information much before it becomes public.

Fashion is a very traditional industry. Trends and forecasts are made well in advance. Even before the Pantone colors for the year come out, WGSN predicts, often accurately, the colors that will take over the world in the coming year.

In a world that thrives on creativity but also encourages compliance with what is expected of a fashion label, it is not always possible to have an in-house team that outperforms itself every single year. For one, hiring and retaining such a team would be expensive.

This is where an extended virtual design team comes into play. With the advent of social media, no one wants to be seen in the same clothes twice. Enter- fast fashion and labels changing their collections multiple times each season, you need to amp up your game with an experienced team of professionals who understand your fashion brand’s DNA and work diligently to ensure your designs are ready in time.

This is how a virtual design team can help you:

  1. A virtual design team is cost-effective. Since they spend a quantum of time with each client, they can give you commitments based on what you wish to pay.
  2. Hiring a Creative Director with enough experience to guide the junior designers can be expensive and add to your product costs. However, if you were to hire a virtual team, they can also help guide your junior designers, and you get the job done for much lesser.
  • Today, quite a few founders of fashion labels don’t necessarily come from a background in fashion. A virtual team that is well versed in the business and executive aspects of fashion can help turn your passion for the art into a viable business model.
  • Just like automation in technology that helps reduce costs to a great extent, hiring an extended virtual design team enables you to outsource critical aspects of your business for same, or better, results.
  • Start-up labels may not fully utilize In-house designers. For example, once the design process for one or two cycles is complete, the resources you have hired full time may not have much to do until further predictions come in. With a virtual design team, you only pay on a per-engagement basis.
  • Attrition is an unfortunate reality of most industries, fashion included. Every time you hire someone new, there is a gap period in which they need to adapt to your label’s DNA. The more designer changes you go through, the more your brand’s DNA gets diluted. However, when you bring an experienced team on board and address design as the core of your label, you have a chance to be consistent with designs.
  • In most cases, a start-up founder’s plate is full with many business aspects to manage. In such situations, it may not always be possible for a founder to be involved with the small details that make or break a design. Hiring an extended virtual team gives you the advantage of having a skilled designer by your side who can micromanage on your behalf.

A freelance designer can also provide all of these benefits. However, as an extension of your team, a virtual design outfit also understands costing and Minimum Order Quantities to help you bring down production costs and optimize sales.

In other words, a virtual design studio helps you fine-tune your design process, execute your designs and take them to the production stage; all while you focus on other aspects of building your business. Before you know it, fashion labels will be designing and producing clothing for Spring-Summer 2019. Join their ranks and do design right- get in touch with us today for more information.

Virtual design team for handling creative fashion design projects


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram 


 

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Creating A Successful Fashion Brand

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Image courtesy : http://www.imodae.com

Today, several professionals from domains other than fashion choose to set up an apparel or accessories business when they look for a switch in careers.

However, starting and running a fashion label is no child’s play. For one, consistency is important as a certain form of apparel attracts and retains customers with specific preferences. Then, there is the actual design process itself. Moreover, you need to make careful choices about every aspect of business such as operations, production and sales.

Given all these elements, is there a way to streamline the process of creating and running a fashion label? We say yes! This article helps you understand some of the basics.

  1. What Is Your Plan?

All those adages about failing to plan stand true in the context of fashion design. Plan out every single aspect of your label, including the ‘known unknowns’, or risks. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the niche I will be operating in?
  • Who is my ideal target consumer?
  • How can I stay consistent with design even as trends change?
  • Will I launch the entire collection at one go?
  • How do I reach my ideal consumer? Which platforms (online/ offline) are they currently present on?
  • How is my production team and process going to work?
  • How can I gauge interest for my product?
  • What is my distribution plan? Which sales channels will I be selling through?

Asking questions and answering them in granular detail helps you plan your business’s finances, your own commitment and exit strategy if any, your pitch to future investors, and most importantly, your parameters for when your creative business is succeeding or failing.

  1. Who Is Your Team?

No one can live as an island, and it holds true for creative services too. The business idea may be your vision, but you still need an execution team. Specifically, in the fashion domain, you have several steps to think of- design, production, marketing, sales and analytics.

This is where a team of experienced professionals can come in handy.

Today, it is more a norm than the exception to outsource design to a skilled team that understands your business considerations and your target audience very well. Such a team can help you plug gaps in your own creative process, work with you to design a saleable product and help you understand the nuances of what makes a readymade garment viable.

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  1. How Are You Making It Happen?

Now that you have a sound plan and an excellent team, you can shift gears up into execution. You can either choose to create and sell in small volumes or you can go big and outsource manufacturing.

In both cases, your design team can help brief the production team about the expected output, tweak the samples and smoothen out any kinks while manufacturing the products.

Every product requires a storage facility, and this is something you need to think of very carefully. Too much inventory can eat into your working capital, while too little can cause you to lose out on sales.

  1. What Is Your Selling Price?

In the planning stage, you would already have considered the pricing aspect. It is always good practice to have an optimistic price point (the standard price a few days’ post launch), a moderate price point (your launch price- early bird offer) and a pessimistic price point (your product price during sales season). Ensure that all of these prices stay above your cost price.

Once the manufacturing process is complete, reconsider your price points and adjust for any incidental expenses you may have incurred.

  1. Where Are You Selling?

There’s no doubt that your choice of sales channels establishes your label’s position in the market. A product sold at Harrods is expected to be higher in price and better in quality than one sold at Primark.

Sales channels also determine your operational model itself. Do you have stores of your own, or do you stock products in some other store’s aisles? Perhaps, you’d like to ignore the offline channels entirely and sell exclusively through certain marketplaces.

The choices you make determine not just how your fashion label is run, but also the means you employ to reach consumers and bring them to these channels.

Once all of these steps have been completed and your fashion label is a real, quantifiable business, do remember to review and course-correct. Understanding what your consumers want and tweaking your label to suit those needs is the best thing you can do to build a sustainable business model and a fashion label that everyone is waiting to wear.

Stay tuned as we go into detail about each of these business aspects in the coming months. Subscribe to our newsletter and we promise you’ll be the first one to know when we publish. Meanwhile, here’s something to get your brain cells working on the business aspects of fashion.

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Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

Ready to Wear Fashion Brands: Achieving Profitability Early

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In our third article of the series on Fibre2Fashion, India’s largest portal on the textile, apparel and fashion industry, we look at what it takes to create successful designs for the ready to wear market, in order to build profitability quickly. The latter aspect is specifically challenging for fashion entrepreneurs, given the plethora of competing brands in this space.

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Image courtesy Gary Bigeni, MBFW Australia, 2012. Photo by Eva Rinaldi

A continuation of the series on fashion entrepreneurship, after the first two articles on design process and profitable fashion entrepreneurship, this article looks at how even small brands can quickly capture a sizable audience in order to quickly reach profitability. Fashion entrepreneurs looking at mass market success through ready-to-wear (RTW) should definitely go through this piece.

Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions regarding the fashion design process or need any assistance in running your fashion brand profitably.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

Moodboard inspired from Ultra Violet

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 The Pantone colour of the year 2018 is “Ultra Violet”. This color is magical, creative and fascinating. It’s an amazing color for women’s fashion however, it will be interesting to see, application and interpretation of this not so obvious color for men’s fashion.

Ultra Violet has inspired me to create Moodboard based on “the Pantone colour of the year” theme. This is my interpretation of how I would like to use”Ultra Violet” in my design collections.

Feel free to connect with me if you need some help in creating moodboard for your next design collection.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

7 Steps to Growing your Fashion Brand Profitably – Our 2nd guest article on Fibre2Fashion

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Our second article is out on Fibre2Fashion, India’s largest portal on the textile, apparel and fashion industry. After the first article on the fashion design process, we now look at Fashion Entrepreneurship. The second article outlines the 7 Steps to Growing Your Fashion Brand Profitably, and is a must for all new fashion entrepreneurs.

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Image courtesy: Kronkron Store, (http://www.styleclicker.net)

It covers all the key elements of successfully managing your business, from identifying trends to managing business relationships, and will be a handy guide if you’re planning to start out your fashion business soon. Do check it out here.

Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions regarding the fashion design process or need any assistance in running your fashion brand profitably.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterestInstagram


 

Our 1st guest article about Fashion Design Process on Fibre2Fashion

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It gives us great pride to announce that we have been invited by Fibre2Fashion, India’s largest portal on the textile, apparel and fashion industry to contribute a series of articles on Fashion design and entrepreneurship.

The first article on “End-to-end Fashion Design: A guide for the Fashion Entrepreneur” is now live on Fibre2Fashion. It outlines the entire design process in brief for new Fashion entrepreneurs looking to set up their own fashion label, specifically those who may not have a design background before coming into the fashion industry.

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It covers all the technical aspects of the design processing including:

  • Trend Forecasting
  • Mood Board creation
  • Range Planning and Style Selection
  • Concept Sketches
  • Trims and Embellishment
  • Techpacks and
  • Prototype Development

Check out our guest article here

Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions regarding the fashion design process or need any assistance in creating your new collection.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: TwitterPinterest, Instagram


 

Our guest post about techpacks on Sqetch

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Recently Sqetch invited us to contribute to a blog on Techpacks along with the few other talented designers, since we’ve been doing client projects on these for the past few years. The blog from Sqetch is now live and can be found here. Do read through it!

You can read one of our earlier blogs on techpacks which was also greatly appreciated.

Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions regarding techpacks or need any assistance in creating few for your new collection.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer and Brand Consultant helping fashion brands to create great products from idea to launch. Fuel4Fashion social links: Twitter, Pinterest Instagram


Guest Blog : How to Organize Your Closet for A Capsule Wardrobe

Closets can easily become crammed full of every item of clothing you’ve purchased in the past decade. At Home Improvement Leads, we promote simplifying the choice you have to make every morning when you peer into a cluttered closet. One way to eliminate what professional organizers call “decision fatigue” is to create a capsule wardrobe.

The term “capsule wardrobe” originated in 1973 from fashion entrepreneur Susie Faux. She believed in curating a collection of essential clothing items that would never go out of style. By maintaining a closet full of items that mix and match well and feel comfortable and timeless, you’ll cut down on your decision time in the morning. Best of all, you’ll always have a strong sense of self in whatever outfit you choose.

Capsule wardrobe 1

Time to Say Goodbye

In order to make your own capsule wardrobe, you’ll need to take a critical look at each piece of clothing you own. Start purging those items you never wear, the pieces not in your current size and the things you put on and just don’t feel comfortable in. If there’s something you know you should toss out, but simply feel like you can’t part with, try it on one last time, snap a photo of it, and let it go! Pass it on to a friend or donate the item.

What Do You Need?

What will make up your capsule wardrobe? Style blogger Caroline Rector decided on 37 items total for her closet, with 9 bottoms, 15 tops, and 4 jackets or dresses (depending on the season.) She recommends using a “3 of each” rule in order to have a casual option, a statement option, and an in-between option.

Aura Image Consulting promotes making a time log of your lifestyle before deciding on what clothing you’ll need. See how much time you spend per week in professional, casual or nightlife clothing. “For every 20 hours of each activity, you should have one capsule. If it’s 10 hours or less, create a half a capsule.”

How many items make up your capsule wardrobe is up to you (though most people seem to agree on around 30 items per capsule). The most important aspect is that things “match up” and look intentionally put together.

Capsule wardrobe 2

Organize

You can organize your capsule items by season within your closet. Regardless of how exactly you categorize your items (perhaps with tops and bottoms in one place, outerwear in another, and so on) hanging all of your capsule clothing will keep it visually present. These sartorial cues will help you keep sight of the colors and style you’re focused on daily. It’s like opening the door to a perfectly painted mural of what you wish your life to be.

Of course, you’ll always have those off-the-wall articles of clothing that might come in handy one day. Maybe an old painting outfit, a fun costume or a re-wearable bridesmaid dress. These items will need to be re-homed into a somewhat downgraded location (like the very back of the closet or in a drawer) so they aren’t mixing with the carefully chosen capsule items.

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Your Perfectly Curated Capsule

Imagine opening your closet to see only clothes that you actually want to wear and feel comfortable expressing yourself in. Your thoughtful looks will always read as uniquely and smartly “you.” From now on, when shopping for new garments, you’ll muse over each piece, “Will this be worth hanging in my gallery of perfectly selected clothes?” It will be as if you’re a living art piece!

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Fashion Marketing for Startup Fashion Brands

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The growth of social media and online connectivity, not only through the proliferation of e-commerce platforms and marketplaces but the advent of social selling via the range of social media tools has driven the fashion industry into a new dimension. Earlier generations of established fashion houses are now seeing increasing competition from smaller more digitally nimble brands that are bringing fashion trends from the drawing board to the consumer far faster than the four-seasons-a-year fashion weeks. Fashion bloggers have taken over the mantle of the likes of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazar in bringing the latest in fashion trends to the end consumer. The latter have also multiplied in numbers from the select few thousand who could afford the exclusivity of fashion houses to the masses who have discovered high fashion is no longer restricted to the Guccis, YSLs and Armanis, but have gone to embrace cutting edge designers like Michael Kors, Rebecca Minkoff, Kate Spade and Tory Burch.

How does a new designer looking to create a unique space within this gamut of old and new stars establish a brand? Let’s start off with an understanding of the various digital and social media tools that can be used, and how best to leverage them.

Social Media

Facebook: with over 1.2 billion users worldwide, this is one platform that no fashion brand, no matter how small or large, can afford to miss. Using Facebook fan pages and the timeline feature, Facebook allows brands to post images, updates, video and other forms of visual communication to its followers. Facebook Video has now grown to volumes that represent a credible challenge to rival YouTube, making it a channel to watch and use. Besides these, the use of Facebook ads is increasing as it allows advertisers to target specific audiences based on a variety of demographic attributes. Facebook has also implemented a Buy button on ads as well as Page posts to enable viewers to directly buy merchandise from these ads and pages.How fashion brands like Rebecca Minkoff's are using social media for effective fashion marketing

  • Facebook Fanpage of women’s fashion brand – Rebecca Minkoff

Instagram: the image sharing app with over 400 million active users has enabled both targeting and shopping functions on the app, allowing brands to reach customers directly with their products. This is a huge advantage to boutique fashion designers who may appeal to a niche but have limited resources to reach out to their target audiences. Instagram allows you to take advantage of trending hashtags to promote relevant content as well.Instagram shop now or buy buttons allows customers to directly buy merchandise from the instagram profile

  • Instagram allows fashion brands to to post images, upload videos and sell merchandise with the SHOP NOW or BUY NOW buttons

Instagram image tiling

  • Instagram image tiling

Twitter: The next most popular social media channel, Twitter provides brands an unlimited opportunity to reach out to audiences and promote their products. Twitter has also gained significant currency as a social media channel to resolve customer issues, and many brands have used Twitter advertising to promote products. Hashtags remain Twitter’s biggest draw as attracting particular segments, spreading information on promotions and offers is made so much easier through their use. Twitter too has a Buy Now button to allow followers of the brand to directly purchase in real time. Using followers, keywords and tailored audience features, fashion brands can reach the exact demographics they’re looking to target.Twitter allows customers to directly buy merchandise through its buy button on the twitter profile

  • With buy buttons customers can now buy merchandise from the brand’s twitter page.

Pinterest: With nearly 200 million users Pinterest gives rival Instagram a good fight, providing options for image sharing, brand building and customer connect. The Pinterest boards allow a user (such as a fashion brand) to set up different sections where images relevant to the topic of that board can be shared. These boards can also be made private or restricted to a definite number of individuals, such as past customers, allowing designers to showcase their collections in advance to get feedback and reviews from genuine buyers. Pinterest’s Buy button, called Buyable Pins has a similar features to the other buy buttons allowing users to buy products without leaving the app environment.One of the best way to buy merchandise with the help of Pinterest's buy button buy merchandise through its buy button on the twitter profile

  • Pinterest buy button is an effective tool for directing customers to buy merchandise with one click from the image itself.

While these are not the only social media apps that can be used by fashion brands to promote, share, sell and interact, they are among the most wide-reaching and cost-effective solutions, making it possible for small fashion brands to create, build and maintain followers and loyal audiences who will support and promote an upcoming fashion brand.

What are you doing to take advantage of the features on these platforms? I’d love to hear your stories. Do add your comments below or write to me here.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer, Sourcing and Manufacturing Consultant helping fashion brands to plan, design and develop new collections with small quantity garment manufacturing. Fuel4Fashion social links: Twitter, Pinterest Instagram


What is a Tech Pack and How to Create One…

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Anybody looking at the fashion industry from the outside sees a lot of creativity and glamour. But behind the glitzy glamor and the creative capabilities lies a tremendous amount of hard work and effort. Those of us who enter the world of fashion entrepreneurship soon realize this. Fashion design does not just start and end at the drawing board. Just like a beautiful monument without plans detailing every minute element, or a race car without an exact engineering drawing, garments cannot move from the concept to the production stage without a tech pack.

What is a tech pack? It is to a fashion designer what a building plan is to an architect – a complete map of the product to be created. A tech pack essentially converts your design from a dreamy concept into a practical piece of clothing that can be produced, in small or large quantities. It tells a garment manufacturer what elements need to be included and where, the type, quality and dimensions of the fabric and other elementsTunic techpack for a women's casual wear brand showcasing technical details of the garment.

Tunic techpack for a women’s casual wear brand.

A good tech pack consists of a combination of images and measurements, made in such a way that every detail of the garment is captured. It usually consists of:

  • The flat sketch of a garment from front and back, with close-ups of the complicated sections
  • Details for the stitching, fabric, trims and embellishments. This may include details of the suppliers as well, and can include a swatch of the fabric as well as samples of the embellishments such as lace, buttons, etc.
  • Measurements of all the important dimensions including the size of any added portions or cutaways.
  • Details of the embroidery, print, patterns and labels to be used.
  • Packaging instructions

With a tech pack, a designer need not be present during the entire manufacturing process, and the garment manufacturer can execute production of the sample and final order to specifications. Be sure to include as many details as possible. A good tech pack will help you with grading, pattern making, calculating cost and yield of the material and determine your approximate cost of production.

At times, modifications may be required due to technical constraints in the production process. These changes are incorporated in the tech pack and the new one is used, just as building plans may change marginally when construction is in progress to account for unforeseen obstacles. Keeping the tech pack updated ensures everyone has a clear idea of what needs to be done.

Unlike fashion design concepts, tech packs are purely technical tools with strict guidelines. However, it is essential for any designer to be able to create a tech pack, so that you know the intricacies of the design. This makes it easier for you to guide the factory and ensure that the garment created meets your requirements. You can create a tech pack using tools like Adobe Illustrator, or work with a technical designer like Fuel4Fashion, who will convert your sketches and concepts into production-ready tech packs.

With a tech pack, you are now armed and ready to convert your concepts into a physical garment that the world can wear and flaunt. If you need any help, do get in touch with me at here with your queries.


Supriya Ghurye is the founder and owner of Fuel4Fashion. She is a Freelance Fashion Designer, Sourcing and Manufacturing Consultant helping fashion brands to plan, design and develop new collections with small quantity garment manufacturing. Fuel4Fashion social links: Twitter, Pinterest Instagram


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