Designers initiate the leather design process in different ways. Some begin with the silhouette while others are inspired by a skin or material. Most designers do rough sketches first. Once they feel comfortable in a particular direction, they focus on perfecting those that they think will work. Some designers will mount all of their rough sketches on a wall or some corkboard before beginning the editing process.
Merchandising Your Collection
A good designer will merchandise individual styles in appropriate groups, taking care to create balance within each group. For instance, a balanced line of outwear will include a range of styles with each group, such as short jackets, medium jackets, medium-length coats, three quarter length coats, and long coats. The line will also include a balanced assortment of collar treatments, such as notched, fur-trimmed, banded, and hooded.
The merchandising objective behind the creation of well-balanced groups is to maximise your sales by motivating a buyer to buy several styles within a group. For example, if you offer a buyer a range of short jackets, then he or she will concentrate on deciding which whole group of three styles to buy. By presenting a balanced collection, you are more likely to get three states out of each buyer instead of only one.
The same principles apply to merchandising sportwear. However here you will often want to balance each group by offering a variety of looks and combinations.
The style board can also include flat sketches of all the styles in a theme. Generally, the sketches show both the front and back views of each garment. The sketches should be large enough to see details of each garment and never smaller than 7.5 x 10 cm (3 x 4 inches) each. However, style boards sometimes depict styles on a fashion figure for a more dramatic effect.
For large collections, designers generally prepare both a theme board and style board to present their design concepts fully. For smaller groups, many designers combine their theme and style boards.
In either case, the style board should depict.
1. The target customer
2. The featured skin
3. The color study
4. The mood
5. The styles offered in the line.
A collection that is professionally researched designed and presented with theme and style boards can ensure increased sales and reduced costs. The boards act as organizational tools for designers, selling platforms for salespeople, and merchandising aids for buyers. They can also prevent a manufacturer processing with a poorly convinced line, wasting precious production time and making expensive samples.
The Remaining Steps in The Design Process:
Once the best styles have been approved for sample making the process is as follows:
1. The pattern maker makes the pattern.
2. The sample maker sews a muslin or canvas prototype.
3. The designer fits the muslin and makes any necessary corrections.
4. The sample maker cuts and sews the garment using a production skins.
5. The designer fits the final sample and makes any additional adjustments.
When a company manufacturer overseas, once the garment has been approved for sample making, the process is as follows.
1. The designer completes a design/spec sheet which specifies everything the overseas sample maker needs to know about the design, including exactly which skin or skins to use.
2. The overseas factory will follow the design/spec sheet and send the sewn sample made up in the specified skin.
3. The designer will fit and inspect the garment and tell the overseas factory what corrections need to be made.
4. The overseas factory will continue to revise the garment until the designer is happy with it.