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All About Fashion Design (Part 1) – Fashion Design, Fashion Structure and Fashion History

Fashion design

Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social lattitudes, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing clothing and accessories. Some work alone or as part of a team. They attempt to satisfy consumer desire for aesthetically designed clothing; and, because of the time required to bring a garment onto the market, must at times anticipate changing consumer tastes.

Fashion designers attempt to design clothes which are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They must consider who is likely to wear a garment and the situations in which it will be worn. They have a wide range and combinations of materials to work with and a wide range of colors, patterns and styles to choose from. Though most clothing worn for everyday wear fall within a narrow range of conventional styles, unusual garments are usually sought for special occasions, such as evening wear or party dresses.

Some clothes are made specifically for an individual, as in the case of haute couture. Today, most clothing is designed for the mass market, especially casual and every-day wear.

Fashion designers can work in a number of ways. Fashion designers may work full-time for one fashion company, known as ‘in-house designers’ which owns the designs. They may work alone or as part of a team. Freelance designers work for themselves, selling their designs to fashion houses, directly to shops, or to clothing manufacturers. The garments bear the buyer’s label. Some fashion designers set up their own labels, under which their designs are marketed. Some fashion designers are self-employed and design for individual clients. Other high-fashion designers cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores. These designers create original garments, as well as those that follow established fashion trends. Most fashion designers, however, work for apparel manufacturers, creating designs of men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions for the mass market. Large designer brands which have a ‘name’ as their brand such as Calvin Klein, Gucci, or Chanel are likely to be designed by a team of individual designers under the direction of a designer director.

Structure

Designing a garment

Fashion designers work in different ways.Myriam Chalek, Owner of Creative Business House states it in Vogue Magazine: Each fashion designer is unique hence the uniqueness of the sample’s development. Nevertheless the mainstream is pretty similar: From a sketch to a sophisticated illustrated CAD design, fashion designers before using any fabric put their ideas on paper. It’s only once they have the concept of the wanted design that they will use fabric. Myriam Chalek explains that the first steps of the garment production are very important: once the designer is in sync with whats in his head and whats on paper, he will either create a muslin prototype of the sample and once satisfied he will have the pattern done and then the final sample. Or he will create a pattern and then work directly with the fabric to produce the sample. This second method is usually not recommended if the designer is going to modify the sample as it is being created in so far as the fabric can be wasted and the final sample not being the true representation of the original designer’s concept. The pattern production is the most crucial part of the garment’s production because job the fit of the finished garment/sample depends on the pattern’s accuracy. Samples have to be perfect because that’s what the fashion designer present to potential buyers.

History

Fashion design is generally considered to have started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth who was the first designer to have his label sewn into the garments that he created. Before the former draper set up his maison couture (fashion house) in Paris, clothing design and creation was handled by largely anonymous seamstresses, and high fashion descended from that worn at royal courts. Worth’s success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. The term couturier was in fact first created in order to describe him. While all articles of clothing from any time period are studied by academics as costume design, only clothing created after 1858 could be considered as fashion design.

It was during this period that many design houses began to hire artists to sketch or paint designs for garments. The images were shown to clients, which was much cheaper than producing an actual sample garment in the workroom. If the client liked their design, they ordered it and the resulting garment made money for the house. Thus, the tradition of designers sketching out garment designs instead of presenting completed garments on models to customers began as an economy.

READ ALSO:

ALL ABOUT FASHION (PART 2) – TYPES OF FASHION, INCOME, SCHOOLS

ALL ABOUT FASHION (PART 3) – FASHION STAR SYSTEMS, WORLD FASHION AND THE GLOBAL FASHION INDUSTRY

Source: Wikipedia.com

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How to Become Fashion Designer ( Part 2 ) – Fashion Industry Career Specializations

Fashion Industry Career Specializations -BREAK IT DOWN

Coming straight from fashion school, you might be thinking that as a fashion designer, you’ll have the opportunity to work with all types of apparel. But what you may not know is that generally, the fashion industry is split into categories, and then categories within categories. Basically, the apparel industry is very specialized.
The breakdown begins with price (which usually corresponds with quality). The lowest apparel classification is Discount, and at the height of fashion is Haute Couture:
  • Discount Fashion: These stores sell fashion merchandise that retails at a discounted price from what other apparel stores charge. Outlet malls or stores like Ross, Walmart, Target, or Conway are example of discount retailers that sell discount labels.

  • Budget / Mass Market Fashion: Mass market apparel usually consists of knock offs of higher priced designer fashions that are sold at low competitive prices to the masses. Old Navy, Forever 21, and Charlotte Russe are a few popular budget apparel labels. Department stores in this category include JC Penney, and Kohl’s. This fashion market usually retails for less than $100.

  • Moderate Fashion: These include nationally advertised apparel fashion brands such as Nine West, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, and Zara. Examples of moderate department stores are Macy’s and Dillards. These apparel brands typically retail for less than $300.

  • Contemporary Fashion: More than just a specific price point, this classification is a fashion-forward image often aimed at women in their ’20s and early ’30s looking for trendy fashions priced more affordably than Designer pieces. BCBG, Betsey Johnson, Bebe, and Rebecca Taylor fall into the Contemporary fashion category, which usually retails for under $500.

  • Better Fashion: Also selling for less than $500, these collections use better quality fabric and styling than lower-priced brands. Armani Exchange, Jones New York and Anne Klein are a few examples of better-priced apparel lines.

  • Bridge Fashion: Priced under $1,000, these apparel fashion lines serve as a “bridge” between better and designer fashion categories. Bridge fashion includes names like Ellen Tracy, Dana Buchman, DKNY, Emporio Armani, and Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

  • Designer Fashion: True fashion designer collections typically sell for more than $1,000 per item. The fabrics, fit, details, and trims are superior to other ready-to-wear items. Some examples of designer labels are Gucci, Prada, Versace, Armani, and Chanel.

  • Haute Couture / Avant-garde Fashion: Also know as couture, these terms have been commonly misused by ready-to-wear brands. Haute Couture, or simply “couture” fashion designers sell custom, made-to-measure apparel, which costs tens of thousands of dollars, and is affordable only to a select few. Technically speaking, there are only ten official Haute Couture Fashion Houses including: Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel, and Givenchy. Avant-garde fashion designers produce high quality, one-of-a-kind garments that experiment with new fashion design concepts and push the envelope of popular apparel design.

Even within the fashion industry categories listed above, each apparel market is broken down into more specific career specializations. First, fashion companies are broken down by customer: men’s, women’s, children’s etc. Then are further divided by type of apparel: sportswear, eveningwear (special occasion), sleepwear etc. And then even fashion design teams are designated to specific areas like Wovens, Knits, Sweaters, Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, Outerwear and so on.

A discouraging thing to note about the fashion industry is that it is very difficult to move from one career category to another. If you start building your fashion design career with mass-market apparel companies, you’re going to face some barriers when you apply for that dream fashion designer job at Ralph Lauren. The same goes for apparel design specialties. If you’re experienced in designing children’s woven tops, chances are you won’t land a position designing women’s dresses. If you’re absolutely determined on making a switch in the fashion industry, you’re best bet is to start from the bottom in your desired career field and work your way up again.

Something else to consider is the different types of apparel manufacturers and retailers out there. There are fashion manufacturers who design and produce their own apparel designs, which are then sold to fashion retailers. These manufacturers do not have their own retail fashion stores. Examples include Shoshanna, Jones New York and Carmen Marc Valvo. There are also fashion manufacturers that own licenses for a variety of brands. For example, at the time of this writing, Phillips Van Heusen (PVH) owns Calvin Klein and IZOD, but licenses brands like DKNY, Sean Jean, and Kenneth Cole.

Then, there are fashion retailers that only sell merchandise purchased from manufacturers. These include stores like Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. There are also many manufacturers that also have their own fashion retail locations such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Armani Exchange and Nicole Miller. Other apparel retail stores have their own product development teams and have merchandise manufactured specifically for their private label designs such as Gap, Old Navy, and Express. In addition to purchasing merchandise from outside manufacturers, many department stores also have their own private label collections. Examples are: I.N.C. (Macy’s), and Arizona Jeans (JC Penney).

Pre-Fall 2011

The largest employment opportunities out there lie within mass-market apparel companies. They often pay rather well to begin with, however these figures usually level off after a few years of experience. The higher-end fashion markets pay less to start, and work hours are longer, but the prestige you’ll receive from such reputable companies will do wonders for your resume.

Source: Desigernexus.com

 

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