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Silhouette of roaring 20’s with the fabric drape of 80’s spiced up with embellishments of last summer baked with an innovative theme stirs out a spring 14 walkway skirt.

Product design conceptualization is not the first stage but it is a trickle-down effect of a series of steps. These steps are a part of a creative process. To understand the fashion design process we first need to take a look at a typical model of the creative process.

The development and formulation of a range require the rigorous involvement of 18 to 24 months in a typical situation and involves the following steps which we are going to discuss here.

Fashion Forecast:

The designer simulates upcoming fashion trends for the season by research and analysis of ongoing fashion events like NY fashion show, London Fashion, Paris and Milan fashion show where some of the illustrious designers showcase their collection.

Fuel4Fashion Blog The fashion design process Fashion forecasting

Image courtesy : http://goo.gl/CQFZNJ


With a fair idea of forthcoming trends in terms of colors, fabrics, trims silhouettes, a designer conceptualizes a theme. A theme may be a set of emotions or a message that a designer is set to weave through his designs. These themes are then translated on to a board full of images, fabrics, trims etc known as Mood Board which are used for creating a range or a collection. Inspirational images and trims from which the final theme is drawn is called Inspiration Board. Just as a painter portrays his mood on a canvas, a designer pours out his creativity on a mood board that sets a stage for product development.


A typical example of an Inspiration Board. The image is taken from Fuel4Fashion’s Portfolio

Fuel4Fashion Blog  The fashion design process  Concept Board

A typical example of a Mood Board.
Image courtesy : http://goo.gl/tsmiwB

Abstract to real :

Transformation of this array of abstract images into fashion illustrations is done via CAD to assemble a range – silhouette that will fit into that framework of ideas and give a wholesome look to the collection with a due diligence to the brand focus.

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Fabric & Trim Selection :

The range is engineered with the right selection of fabric to render the drape required for the silhouette in optimized cost thereby also upholding the functionality of the garment. Inherent fabric properties like its weight, tenacity, construction are determined at this stage. This is in sync with the brand’s image of promoting certain technology or material

Trims, embellishment in the form of handwork, computerized embroidery, treadle work are selected to complement the body fabric with due consideration of costs involved.

Color Selection :

A color palette is selected from the mood board in sync with forecasted trends for the upcoming season. Each color selected brings out a persona of the theme. The selected colors are then matched to the closest Pantone shades available.

Fuel4Fashion blog The fashion designe process Color palette

Color Board.
Image courtesy : http://goo.gl/NV77Ox

Range Planning

While the actual fabric and trim selection is being done, the garment imitation is constructed in muslin and donned on a mannequin or the mannequin is draped and pinned in a fabric to visualize the look of the garment and consequently remodeled

The number of samples in a line depends on the type of garment, the price range of the brand, the method of distribution and the kind of categories that the brand caters to.  A certain number of garments is planned for each type of fabric selected and for each of the various categories of the garment in which the brand specializes in.  A certain proportion of the line is dedicated to basics and a certain proportion personifies high-end fashion.


Range Planning.
Image courtesy : Marc Jacobs

Style Selection & Feasibility study.

The line is appraised and ‘weeded’ with a due assessment of financial and production feasibility of the style and the goals and budgets of the brand for the season. Intensive focus on cost optimization leads to rejig of styles and material to come up with the most feasible products. This is followed by first cut range presentation of samples produced in the actual fabric being reviewed by buyers, retailers, top notches of management depending on the brand format.

So here ends the first phase of range planning for the upcoming season, setting a backdrop for the next phase of product development and sampling leading to bulk production. We will very soon give you a glimpse of the latter phases that fabricate the garments in your wardrobe.

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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