Women’s Workwear Trends in India: The Demand For Better Formals Is Here!

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Until very recently, a few niche brands in the Indian market such as Allen Solly, Van Heusen, and Park Avenue have been the go-to options for picking western formalwear. Collections usually range from formal pants and skirts to jackets and shirts.

However, for the more discerning Indian woman, the choices in western formalwear were limited, to say the least. Even though aggregators like Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle began offering their in-house western formal collections, they have rarely been adventurous with their choice of clothing.

Today, the work culture around the world has changed, and India is no exception. Depending on the role they play, the local weather, the degree of comfort required and even how much they travel, women are choosing to dress in a variety of different clothes. Let’s look at the evolution of formal western wear for women here and save the discussion on Indian Ethnic Workwear for a separate article.

Here are some styles that have caught our eye.

  1. The Shirt with A Twist: Gone are the days of boring formal shirts, whose best feature was often a ruffle or two around the button line. Today, shirts with lace trims, flowy sleeves and a relaxed vibe are in. Brands building a woman’s formal collection must now keep in mind the fact that many women prefer a relaxed fit, and limit a snug fit blouse to suits only. (Philip Lim, Image Source: Vogue)
Interpretation of standard formal wear shirt for working women

The Shirt with A Twist

 

  1. Statement Pants: Including that quintessential black trouser in your collection? Well, redesign it, or drop it, because no one is doing quintessentially with pants anymore. Wide-leg trousers are making a comeback and culottes are completely acceptable as formalwear. Think in-prints like floral and gingham. Today’s Indian woman knows how to blend comfort with a statement. (Chloe, Image Source: Vogue)
Gingham checks formal pants for working women

Statement Pants

 

  1. A Midi Skirt: And we’re not talking about the pencil skirts with a slit anymore. Very few women, if any, prefer sitting through endless hours of meetings and calls in skirts that ride up and down on a whim. Instead, an A-line skirt that falls just around the knees is the preferred piece. As always, embellish. (Chicwish, Image Source: Chicwish)
A working women midi skirt for office use

A Midi Skirt

 

  1. The New Formal Dress: Black isn’t the only formal tone anymore. In Indian summers, it would be anyone’s worst nightmare to have to step out in something black. Instead, keeping our tropical sensibilities in mind, the formal dress has evolved to be a flowy garment with one fitted element to bring it all together. (AND by Anita Dongre, Image Source: AND)
The new formal dress for working women

The New Formal Dress

 

  1. Blazer 2.0: What does it take to brighten up the existing wardrobe? A new jacket, of course! Most cities in India barely inspire suiting up. However, some cities like Delhi are known to have harsh winters while Bangalore is known for its year-round need for jackets. Brands like H&M are beginning to evolve to meet this very need, and you’d do well to rethink what a jacket should be. (H&M, Image Source: Vogue)
Working women's blazer

Blazer 2.0

 

  1. The Indian-Western Piece: This could be anything from Ikat culottes to a long line Kalamkari formal dress. India has a rich heritage of looms and fusion brands such as Bombay Paisley are tapping into the growing demand for clothes that let you breathe, and also look stylish and elegant at work. Incorporate a few of these elements into your designs, giving first priority to comfort. (Bombay Paisley, Image Source: Tatacliq)
Indowestern work wear for women

The Indian-Western Piece

What other pieces do you think would make a splash on the western formalwear scene? Tell us in the comments below.


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


 

Cracking The Social Media Code For Fashion Startups

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Being in the fashion space is no small endeavor. Apart from the actual design and production, you also need to focus on building your brand, gaining visibility and reaching the right target consumer. It is not enough to simply be present on social media channels and post regularly- instead, you need to find a way to reach your consumer’s headspace and stay there.

We’ll address the whole gamut of content, email and digital marketing for fashion in a separate article. Today, let’s discuss the world’s most valuable rented property- social media.

Brands and consumers alike flock to social media because of its broad outreach. Brands feel that this platform takes them to many more people, much like being on a stage and announcing that you are there. Consumers too subconsciously resort to social media for information, awareness, choices, and relevance.

Cracking the social media code for fashion startup

Social Media for Fashion

Before we delve into the five essential aspects of social media for fashion brands, let us do a quick recap of what a brand means. Why do you wear sneakers with a swoosh mark on them? How do you recognize a McDonald’s in a foreign country?

Now, that’s what a brand aims to be- the most popular personality on the planet, so much so that it is recognized everywhere. That’s the brand you are trying to build.

With this big goal in mind, here’s what to do with your social media.

  1. Have A Voice: Like a person, a brand believes in certain values, and communicates them in a certain way, either through language or through cues. For example, Victoria’s Secret embodies the idea of the ethereal woman, while Zara is for the generation that moves fast. Likewise, what does your brand stand for? It is worth speaking to a branding agency about this aspect before beginning your social media effort. All your communication should then speak to these values.
  1. Choose The Channels: Not all brands need to be present on all channels. Many businesses start off on multiple channels only to be swamped by endless content calendars. Choose two channels and choose them well. If you sell B2B, you probably don’t need Facebook as much as you need LinkedIn, even as a fashion brand.
  1. Attract The Right Users: How do you bring people to your pages? Step 1: Send invite links to all of your friends and family. Then, invite them again until they join. Step 2: Advertise. Spend some money and do your ad targeting right. Put out ads that the right people see. Talk to your primary customer personas. Step 3: Close the funnel. Once people see your ad, you want them to like your page. Include the relevant call-to-action within your ads. Step 4: Moderate your page for unwanted posts and comments.
  1. Follow A Calendar: Today, almost all social media channels give you access to analytics. You can see how well your posts perform and track when your users are more active. Do more of what the audience likes. You may be a great opera singer, but on-stage, if your current audience wants instrumental, that’s what you deliver. Experiment with various content forms and choose those that work for you. Most importantly, follow a routine and do them consistently.
  1. Convert The Customer: There is a good saying in the world of business- visibility does not dinner buy. You don’t want 10,000 followers on Instagram and zero sales on your site. Lead people to your web/ retail outlet and give them a reason to close the loop. For every post, consider what purpose you want it to serve, and check if that purpose has indeed been served. Email marketing is an excellent next step after social media to convert a slow-moving funnel.

What challenges are you facing with your social media?

Or, do you have a success story to share? Tell us in the comments below!


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


 

 

 

 

 

Designing A Collection: Circumventing The Problems That Don’t Come Calling

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In the manufacturing industry, and any other industry involving a physical product, it is a well-known fact that not everything always goes to plan. Even the smallest oversight can result in the wrong product being bulk produced.

In the world of fashion, such an aberration can mean that the entire collection is ruined. No consumer would tell the store representative that a particular piece of clothing didn’t fit them to perfection. As a result, your chances of making the same mistake over and over again are very high as well.

Today, we discuss two such cases where the tiniest problem resulted in some rather significant outcomes, and how Fuel4Fashion helped fix them.

Case 1: The Case of the Incomplete Tech Pack

In an earlier article, we discussed the importance of being thorough with your tech pack. After all, this material serves as the basis of every garment you design and every brief you send to the manufacturer.

In a couple of instances, hiring an inexperienced fashion designer has caused companies to falter along the way. In this particular case, their designer of choice had no experience in delegating work to different teams and had never worked on an actual tech pack before. As a result, the information sent out to the manufacturer was incomplete and fraught with errors.

The result? Over 60% of the proto samples came out wrong. Immense amounts of time and money were wasted in trying to correct the problem at each stage, only to realize that the problem resided in the tech pack.

Fuel4Fashion entered the scene at this juncture and redid the tech packs from scratch, as well as delivering them in record time to help the client get ready for the season’s launch.

The business lesson: If there’s a gap in sampling, always look at the tech pack first. Many problems could be lurking there.

Case 2: Shape Challenges

One of our clients had been getting a lot of complaints from their consumers. The owners of the women’s fashion brand were dealing with issues ranging from incorrect waist size to very tight armholes.

This was a strange conundrum because a recommended size almost always fits the end consumer, and even when it doesn’t the problem lies in a single area. Since we were creating the tech packs and had taken complete ownership of design, we went through all of the material created once more but found no flaws there.

It took a while for us to figure out that the client was testing the proto samples on live models, adjusting according to their measurements and sending the altered samples into production. Hence, as opposed to standard sizes, the end product was being manufactured in the size of three very specific models.

As a result, the clothes wouldn’t fit anyone else who wasn’t the exact same measure as the three models.

The business lesson: Use a mannequin! They come in standard sizes which comply with the rules of standard garment sizing. By using a mannequin, you can be sure of the end result. Even models have a specific body type, and that doesn’t always sit well with the end consumer.

June 27 2019 _ Sat _ 4pm onwards


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


 

 

 

 

The Quick How-To for Creating Mood Boards

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A mood board is one of the essential communication pieces in the fashion design process. It can be used both within teams and with external partners to bring alive the concept of a design. Mood boards are fairly popular in the fashion industry, but creative agencies from all walks lean on them to explain their ideas to clients.

Not designing a mood board can be a mistake of the same proportions as some of the others we discussed earlier, and can cause your team to run around in circles.

In this article, we cover the five primary elements of a mood board and how you can create an impactful one.

1) The mood of the collection: This forms the basis of your color choices, as well as your designs. For example, hearing ‘urban desert’ immediately inspires ideas filled with muted greens and browns, while ‘floral’ evokes an equally distinct image. Choose the mood of your collection carefully- it becomes the basis for all design decisions.

Mood board for women's start up fashion brand for SS'18 created by Fuel4fashion Design Studio

Mood board created by Fuel4Fashion, inspired from the Minimalism lifestyle for SS’18 women’s start-up fashion brand.

2) Concept board: The concept board is the idea behind the idea. ‘Floral’ is a concept. ‘Active wear’ is a concept. The concept board details which aspects of a design to highlight and which ones to assign a second priority to.

Concept board for women's start up fashion brand for SS'18 created by Fuel4fashion Design Studio

Concept board created by Fuel4Fashion, inspired from the Minimalism lifestyle for SS’18 women’s start-up fashion brand.

3) Style board: A loose crop top or a well-fitted blouse? Should trousers be narrow cut or broader? A style board defines the aspects of your collection that will eventually drive who will buy it. Indeed, most brands have a clear target audience and design exclusively for their body type.

Silhouette board for women's start up fashion brand for SS'18 created by Fuel4fashion Design Studio

Silhouette board created by Fuel4Fashion, inspired from the Minimalism lifestyle for SS’18 women’s start-up fashion brand.

4) Color Board: Be sure to use the right swaps and choose your colors carefully before they go into a mass product. The color palette you select underlines the entire collection. Not getting a shade just right can ruin the whole process. Having a fixed color palette solves the problem.

Color board for women's start up fashion brand for SS'18 created by Fuel4fashion Design Studio

Color board created by Fuel4Fashion, inspired from the Minimalism lifestyle for SS’18 women’s start-up fashion brand.

5) Collection planning: This aspect determines how many pieces of a category you wish to have. For example, you may choose to design ten blouses, five skirts, three trousers and two accessories. Use past buying trends to of your customers to make these choices.

6) Optional: Artwork Inspiration: You can choose the art forms that you want to see represented in your collection. These can further be translated on to clothes through embroidery, sequins, digital prints, etc.

Creating A Mood Board :  When creating a mood board, think of these elements- your reference imagery, colors, and typography. The last one may not seem too critical, but it often offers that extra dash of inspiration for your team.

Mood board for the collection SS'18 for start up women's wear brand

Recap of complete Mood Board created by Fuel4Fashion for SS’18, women’s casual wear collection for startup fashion brand

While both digital and physical mood boards are in use today, you can choose the format that serves your purpose best. If you have elements of embroidery and other work involved, a physical board may be ideal.

Experiment with different layouts for your images. Even the way an image is laid out (in a grid, triangular, scattered) in itself can represent the essence of your collection. So spend some time thinking through the layout.

Lastly, use color and type to highlight your ideas and give them new life. Today, there are many fonts and styles you can experiment with. Use those elements that add to your central them and do not distract from it.

On the whole, think through who your user base is. Whom is this mood board being designed to help? Design with their perspective in mind, and you are sure to succeed.

Also, are you following our inspiration cards on Instagram? If you find them thought-provoking, be sure to add them to your mood board and let us know!


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


 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Casualwear Trends For SS’19: Effortless Fashion Is The New Norm

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In April, we discussed the trend forecast for active wear in SS ’19. In this article, we look at the five major trends in women’s casual wear for the same season, as well as the adaptations that some famous design houses are already working on.

At Fuel4Fashion, we believe that inspiration is the core of all creative development. Our designers post sketches and visuals on Instagram to inspire you to think of the same trend in a whole new light. Once you read this article, head on over there to find out more.

Without further ado, the five design trends.

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody

Design houses are calling this trend ‘the Little House on the Prairie.’ Before we present our views and motifs that feature in this trend, why don’t you grab a piece of paper and jot down all the ideas that come to mind when you read that phrase? You can then use these ideas in your actual design process too. Trend little house on the praire. Trend alert for casual wear Spring Summer 2019

  • Frills and florals: If you think you’ve seen embroidered denim in 2018, you’ve seen nothing yet. Expect bold floral prints, paints and thread work on a blue denim base. Contrasting colors add to the garden experience. Also expect to see paisley prints, gathered hemlines, flowy clothes, and airy silhouettes, all held together with a lovely little corset.
  • The Village Belle: Who lives in the Little House on the Prairie? The girl who is proud of her earthen roots, of course! We’ll be seeing quite a few shirt dresses and maxi skirts in gingham. For those making a subtle statement, plain clothes in muted shades with a single, bold floral motif will be the go-to choice.
  1. The Inner Self

We don’t need articles online to tell us that we’re disconnected from ourselves even as we’re connected to the world the whole time. In this age, what could be more pleasant than using clothing to express ourselves, to ourselves?Enhanced Reality SS'19 trend for women's casual wear

  • Color-moods: Color influences our mood, and certain shades evoke some precise responses in us. Think psychedelic greens and colors of the orchid. Purple and lavender express our inner creativity, while green reminds us to take it slow. A pop of red teaches us to be bold, even as black and white tone us down.
  • Satin and sequins: The best way to emphasize color is to use material that makes the color pop. Satin is the fabric of choice for this trend, as it looks different based on where the light falls. Sequins, too, are great for bouncing light off to create varying effects.
  1. New Nautical

What is summer without a cruise? Nautical themes take on a new spin, ditching the plain polos and the breezy kaftans. Instead, we have bold stripes, suggestive shimmer and a whole lot of fun.  A new Ordinary SS'19 trend for women's casual wear

  • Drama mama: Modern art comes to clothing, with interpretations of famous paintings, sketch portraits and bold flowers making an appearance on clothes. Gingham and polka form the perfect base for statement necklines, mock-peplums, off-shoulder gathers and so much more. This trend is literally a blank canvas!
  • Expect the unexpected: Why print hearts on denim when you can cut them out? Why scoop the neckline at the front when you can do a deep-V at the back? Think, and spin that thinking on its head for a whole new perspective.
  1. The Earth Festival

Before the idol worship, before religion, and before time itself, there was the Earth and the sky and everything in between. Go back to the mindfulness of ancient civilizations with this understated trend. This is the perfect trend for those who love to blend into something bigger than themselves. A Simple life SS'19 trend for women's casual wear

  • Pottery and ceramics: Many of the colors in this trend are reminiscent of cooking in clay pots, serving in ceramic bowls and eating on a roughhewn mattress. Think small floral prints for borders and white lace for a touch of the feminine.
  • Prints and plains: Team up an elaborate, loose shirt in floral prints with a plain jumper. Add white lace to that plain brown dress. Even better, make a smock from a cutwork piece of cloth. It is all about worshipping balance.
  1. Simple Bare Necessities

There’s something beautiful about the basics. Isn’t this why MUJI’s products do so well? This trend highlights the beauty of letting oneself shine, through the muted colors that expose our spirit.Legging Go SS'19 trend for women's casual wear

  • Geometry: Geometrical prints scale down to become borders and embellishments, even as plain blacks, blues, and whites stand out. Togas and Grecian cuts are in again, as are simple decorations like the ones we’d expect to see on Mysore silk weaves.
  • A world meets itself: Zari makes its way to a co-ord set, even as t-shorts evolve into dresses and jackets taken on a whole new, urban metallic meaning. The basics are meant for the confident woman who knows how to shine in spite of distractions.

What inspiration are you drawing from these ideas right now? Share with us in the comments below.

Discuss your design requirement


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  


 

 

Designing A Spring Summer Collection For 2019: The Loopholes You Need To Avoid

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Having ideas is just the beginning of the fashion journey. We firmly believe that fashion is one of those industries where there is infinite scope to ideate and design, but as a business, there are certain limitations on time and budgets. If you are a fashion label that isn’t planning for SS ’19 yet, there’s no better time than now to start.

A little over a year may seem like a long time, but in over six years of running Fuel4Fashion, we have noticed that clients struggle with unforeseen circumstances more often than not. In this article, we address some of these errors in planning and how they can be corrected well in time for you to have a smooth, seamless Spring Summer collection launch come 2019.

1) Designing For The Brand: The creative process is fraught with loopholes, the biggest of which is believing that the market will invariably like what we design. One of our clients approached the design process from the ‘brand-first’ perspective. As a result, the team’s personal preferences were accounted for, but they did not accurately reflect what the end consumer was looking for.

  • The Fix: There’s a lesson in marketing for all businesspeople here. Always, always seek out and gather consumer insights. Even your next-door neighbor may have clothing preferences that do not match your own. Interview your target audience extensively, look for forecast reports and then add a bit of yourself into each of these saleable elements. For more design inspiration, take a look at our active wear recommendations for Spring Summer 2019.

2) Spending Too Much Time On One Aspect: Quick decision-making is a virtue and one that a fashion business owner would do well to develop early on. Sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in the nuances, which is just what happened with one of our clients. They had spent so much time in sourcing the right cloth that they missed the launch window entirely and spilled over into the next season. However, by then, their designs weren’t relevant anymore.

  • The Fix: Unfortunately, this is an error that is best prevented before it is made. If you do end up pushing production too close to the window, the best thing you can do is go aggressive on sales. In the context of SS’19, trend reports are already available with consultants. Get in touch with an expert to understand the nuances of designing for an audience well over a year down the line. Most importantly, begin immediately.

3) Moving Too Fast: “Weren’t you just asking us to hustle a little while ago?” you may ask. Sometimes, going too fast can also cause considerable grief later, as witnessed by a client. The intent was right- they didn’t want to hold up the fabric dyeing process, and therefore chose to match the lab dips with a scanned copy of the fabric as opposed to the fabric itself. Lesson learnt- fashion is all about attention to detail. After a lot of money was spent and bulk fabric wasted, they realized that a small error led to huge consequences.

  • The Fix: Once errors have been made in bulk, there is very little you can do to correct them without spending anything extra. If you do end up in a similar situation, you can either make the most of what you have or spend again and get the details right. A decision in this regard is dependent on your unique business considerations. On a broader level, rushing through any process always yields less than optimal results. Hence, it is better to begin early and work on every aspect industriously than to begin too late and do a rush job.

We reiterate- Spring Summer 2019 may seem like a year away, but time flies when you begin considering every aspect of fashion design and marketing. Get your team together and start right away. If you find that there are gaps in your business or design model that need to be fixed, don’t hesitate to speak with an industry expert and get their opinion before you begin.

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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  


 

Twelve Active Wear Trends For 2019: Are Your Designs On Par Yet?

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Have you started planning for your Spring Summer 2019 collections yet? If you haven’t already, now is an excellent time to begin. In this article, we curate the sportswear and active wear trends that are most likely to dominate collections in 2019, much like how athleisure is the running trend this year. Without further ado, here they are:

The Disruptor

 Why follow the pack when you can lead one down your own path? This is a thought that every millennial understands, and as a consumer wished to emulate. Literally, the disruptor style is about making a statement in unconventional ways.

The Survivor (1)

  1. Statement Prints And Placement: Look to incorporate messaging in bold across a crop top, or a loose basketball-inspired pullover. Stripes are always in, except now, they’re coming to clothing in bold, vibrant colors.
  2. Street Style: Why do so many hip-hop dancers dress the way they do? Because not only do these clothes have a high style quotient but, more importantly, also a high performance aspect. Think loose joggers with a fitted bralette, or a bright neon wide-legged runner. It is all about comfort.
  3. Crop It Up: Style should be a bit risqué, after all! Adding oomph and function to these elements are cropped running shorts with mesh detail, loose tanks and bras that let the arms move.

The Survivor 

With CrossFit comes the idea of endurance at its very extreme. 2019 will take this idea even further, and active wear for the survivor is on the cards. Clothing in this category is not just ideal for gyms, but also for surviving and exploring the vast outdoors.

The Survivor (4)

  1. Balanced Colors: Sportswear in the wanderer category uses an eclectic mix of warm and cool colors that are both earthy and vibrant. Think the skies, soil and desert rose. A clever combination of these colors can help build the idea of camouflaging while also making a statement.
  2. Stylish Utility: Who says reflector apparel should only be bright silver strips on a green background? As more people step out and run or cycle along the road, neon colors and metallic bases are sure to take over. Think metallic shades of rose gold or a deep copper tracksuit.
  3. Crisscross And Mesh: Giving priority to comfort again, mesh details make an appearance, adding a sense of aeration to clothing. Similarly, crisscross patterns offer greater hold and flexibility for high-endurance workouts.

June 27 2019 _ Sat _ 4pm onwards

The Activist

Do you care enough about the planet? Because your future customer surely does. The activist style is all about sustainable fabric, native prints and muted shades interspersed with those that make themselves heard, much like the activist wearing them. The Survivor (3)

  1. Swimwear Done Differently: Thanks to a conscious juxtaposition of colors and prints, a line of endurance swimwear that isn’t boring (finally!) is in order. It is all about staying close to nature, isn’t it?
  2. Futuristic Statements: An activist is only trying to make the future better, after all! This explains why spacesuit inspired garments and muted metallics fit for an astronaut are in order. Add in some huge floral prints, and you’re good to go.
  3. Standout Details: Interestingly, mesh detailing will be taken to a whole new level in this trend. SS ’19 is the season in which eco-conscious clothing gets a fashionable new update with huge mesh inlays.

 The Karmic Energizer

 There is a positive shift towards holistic wellness, and all the fitness and meditation apps out there prove a point in this regard. Colors inspire moods, and this collection is all about using color to feel strong, centered, powerful, peaceful- the choice is yours. The Survivor (2)

  1. Blues, Greens, Pinks And Reds: Muting of colors is not a concept that belongs in this collection. The swatches here scream, ‘this is how I’m feeling!’ Think bright, happy colors.
  2. Straps And Bandeau: There’s nothing that offsets the effect of bright colors quite like a bodycon adaptation. Not only is the collection bright, it flatters your figure like there’s no tomorrow. Perfect for the inner gymnast.
  3. Geometric Details: Geometry is not limited to prints alone! Think steep-cut sports tops, yoga pants with horizontal stripes, and square cutouts on the sides of clothing. When it comes to shapes and their placement, anything is possible.

June 27 2019 _ Sat _ 4pm onwards

 


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  


 

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 


 

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