Sustainable Fashion in The Circular Economy

Sustainable Fashion in The Circular Economy

Posted by on Dec 10, 2018 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

 In the production of clothing, there is a multitude of stages that can prove highly damaging to our natural resources. Stages of manufacturing that the everyday consumer might be oblivious to. But, the plain and simple red blouse you see sitting on a rack in a store tells a detailed story between its fibres; from its repetitive washing and rinsing to the treatment of harsh chemicals and blending of plastics. Currently, Australians are the second largest consumers of textiles, buying on average almost 27 kilograms of new clothing each year (ABC Radio Melbourne, 2017). Whilst, it is projected that between 2015 and 2050, over 22 million tonnes of microfibre will be dumped into the ocean. (Ellen Macarthur Foundation, 2017).This, alongside today’s rapidly-changing and unpredictable climate, shows being green and making conscious, sustainable choices about the garments we buy and wear has never been more important. However, in order to facilitate change, we need to adapt our chain of consumerism, placing a demand on bettering the standard that our products adhere to. We love fashion and we want to continue wearing and producing beautiful, luxurious clothing, but how do we help in working towards a greener industry? The Circular Economy – what is it?The way in which we consume can be described as linear. We seem to take, create and then dispose. Think of a flower. It is organically produced, growing from the ground, eaten by bugs and animals requiring the nutrients, and then naturally decomposes; ready for the cycle to begin again. Our world is created around a cyclic system, however, in the process of creating man-made products, our natural evolution has inadvertently taken a backseat, sadly leaving our natural resources to suffer. Adapting The Circular Economy would challenge the way in which we use our products and the way mass-companies choose to produce. Here, once a product has reached the end of its lifespan, it would be returned to the manufacturer, recycled and 100% of its materials would go back into creating its newest version.MUD Jeans is a European label that has been implementing such a replenishment cycle since 2013. See how they implement the circular system!Circular Design- In the circular economy, products are designed to be reused easily.  That’s why we don’t use leather labels, but printed ones instead.Produce- We don’t use conventional cotton. Our mills are BCI and GOTS certified.Recycle- Worn out jeans are shredded, cut into pieces and blended with virgin cotton This is how a new denim yarn is born.Lease or Buy- Lease our jeans or just buy them directly online or in one of the stores.Upcycle- Returned jeans are upcycled and sold as unique vintage pairs.Use & Return-  Take them wherever you go, but send them back at the end of use.Is clothing rental the way of the future?                                   Leasing clothing has proven to be a new and innovative business model that keeps...

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Honing Inspiration & Defining Your Customer; what does it mean and where do we start?!

Honing Inspiration & Defining Your Customer; what does it mean and where do we start?!

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

From paper to production, there are SO many factors to consider in bringing a design to life. But after meticulously stewing over fabrics and hemlines for months on end, who is going to be wearing your garments?! And what needs do they have? As part of our Fashion Label Launch Pad program, our group of mentees hold a monthly phone call to discuss queries and roadblocks as they work towards launching their first fashion labels. During our call this month we chatted all things sourcing inspiration and how to tailor your brand to suit the people purchasing your product. With what can be such a tricky task, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind for the designer carving out the personality of their brand. INSPIRATION As a creative, inspiration is all around us. Everywhere we look there is a new idea waiting to be thought up, designed and created into something wonderful. In the beginning stages of design, observing the spaces around us and collating stimulus for later reference can be invaluable. But inspiration can be unpredictable and we might not always be prepared for when our light-bulb moments hit. So, below are a few tools we love that you can use to immediately house your sources of inspiration when they come to mind. All of which are easily-accessible apps you can instantly download to your phone! These will also become valuable platforms you can use to assist in determining your customer.Trello Whether you have a more left-leaning analytic brain or a visual mind, Trello acts as a project management application where you can jot down those fleeting thoughts in list form. It’s super easy to categorise with labels, throw in screenshots and cue in whoever you want to check over your ideas. Check out how it works here > https://trello.com/tourPinterest You may have used Pinterest already, but what a great tool for the visual mind it is! Here you can create mood boards, collate photos and combine an endless amount of stimulus that might take your fancy. The perfect tool to assist you to formulate the overall feel of your collection. Check it out here > https://business.pinterest.com/en/how-pinterest-works DEFINING YOUR CUSTOMER In using these platforms you’re off to an excellent start. Now it might be a little easier to visualise an overview of what you want your label to represent – encompassing mood and overall feel. You may have numerous categories and ideas representing different ends of the spectrum and this is great!However, in determining who you’re creating for and who will be purchasing your product, we have to get down to the nitty gritty and be specific. Ideally, we want to create 2-3 profiles or ‘personas’ to match the looks sitting at opposite ends of the spectrum. Eg. If customer A loves to wear rich, colourful prints and customer B wears monochromatic tones and tailored fits;...

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FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

FABRIC AGENTS – how, who, where, what!?

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

As part of our Fashion Label Launchpad program we have a group call with our Mentees to discuss challenges and questions they may have. It is also a great opportunity to chat with industry, and like minded people who are in the same position as you. Who knows what next great idea or inspiration will come out of the conversation! During our August catch up there were a range of great questions (and answers!) but let’s talk about the very first one “HOW TO CONTACT FABRIC AGENTS.”The reason I am choosing this topic, is because fabric sourcing is often one of the first questions we get asked when people first approach Sample Room. It is hot on everyone’s lips to say the least. Unfortunately we will not supply you with fabric. This would be an impossible task as there are 1000’s of fabrics and I believe that fabric should inspire your design process. This is far less frustrating than choosing a fabric that you can not find locally. We will however provide guidance in where to do and if a fabric is suitable.  So; how, who, where, what!? Let’s start with WHEREYou don’t need to find someone in your local state. If you choose the right agent and communicate your needs correctly there is no reason why you can’t use an agent interstate. Most fabric companies will have a local rep so please call and find out if there is someone near you. You could search overseas as well but keep in mind the shipping charges. To begin with, try not to think about having a fabric made up just for you as the minimum order qty will be out of your reach (often 20-60 rolls). Which leads us to HOWThis is the most important part. How you approach Fabric Agents and how you communicate your needs will determine your fabric success!I recommend the first contact made is via a phone call. But before you pick up the phone be prepared.Prepare yourself by:–Creating two moodboards; one for colour and one for styling- this is important to show the agent what you need  if you don’t know the names of the fabric-Detail, very specifically, who your target market is so they understand the price point and end look.-And, how will your target market be using your garment?-You might also like to find garments that use similar fabrics so show what you like.Have this at the ready and pick up the phone. Ok, so WHAT fabric do I need?Leave this up to the Fabric Agents! They are very knowledgeable, they ARE the experts in fabric. You can have a look through the range but if you give them an idea of what you are looking for from the above list then they will be able to suggest a variety of fabrics to suit.  If you follow the previously mentioned preparation steps they will be able to...

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Sustainability in Fashion

Sustainability in Fashion

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Fashion, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

The fashion industry has not always been known for its kindness to the environment. Furs, anyone? Dyes that are high in toxicity? Sweat shops? But in today’s world, you’ll hear the term sustainability in all areas, and the fashion industry is no exception. Customers are concerned, and rightly so, about the impact fashion has on the world around us. Customers are savvy, they’re aware of the landfill and contributions to this from old clothing, fabrics and materials.But what does sustainability look like in fashion? What does it mean exactly? Well, there is no one specific explanation, so let’s take a look at some of the terms it can refer to.Fabrics & Materials It can be as simple as the fabrics used in a garment. Organic cotton, naturally processed wools, and low-impact dyes, all contribute to the sustainability tag for your design. Natural fibres, organic production, recycled fibres and job lot end of run fabrics all relate to sustainability as they all have less of an impact on the environment.Slow-fashion This term is used to describe the care and time taken to ensure the longevity of the garment. This can be achieved by creating a timeless classic with natural and durable fabrics; it can be done by ensuring the materials used can be recycled. Your customer is more likely to hold onto the garment for more than one season if they feel an emotional connection to it. The way you can help to create this connection is to be transparent with your customer, by noting your production and manufacturing processes. If your customer can see the process behind the garment, then they will feel a greater link with you as its designer.Reuse This is similar to recycled and upcycled fabrics, as they, too, are being reused. But there are other ways that you can offer to reuse your garments, to increase your sustainability focus. You can, for example, create a buy-back option: when your customer has finished with the garment, you buy it back to create something new. Alternatively, you can offer a percentage off their next purchase if they donate the original garment once they’ve outgrown it. Or why not set up a forum where people can buy, sell and swap with other fans of your garments.Marketing The way you market yourself and your brand goes a long way in speaking of your efforts in the sustainable fashion. Make sure your labels are clear and your customer understands them as this is one of the ways the sustainable fashion message is passed along. As noted above, be transparent with your customer, give them a chance to get to know you, the designer, as well as your brand. At Sample Room, we believe that marketing yourself begins long before your begin your designs (read our blog post on Marketing here *insert hyperlink*) and creates the connection that you need with...

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Customisation versus Bespoke

Customisation versus Bespoke

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 2 comments

The fashion industry is always moving. It’s the ethos behind it, really. Fashion moves us, shakes us, tempts us and encourages us to try something new.The latest disrupter to our world in fashion is known as customisation.It’s happening all over the fashion world: with handbags, shoes and clothing! It is also happening with consumer goods as well—do you remember Coca-Cola selling bottles with your name on it, as did Nutella? That’s all part of customisation.There are a number of factors behind the increase in customisation. Creating a point of difference in a tough retail market can give your brand exposure and create a successful profitable business. One highly positive way to view customisation is the pinnacle of customer service. It makes your customer feel special. You are able to give them something that no one else can.It’s exciting and interesting. But also very tricky for a start-up. Customisation can be quite cost-prohibitive for a start-up. Perhaps if you are lucky to have partners or investors, you can dabble in this latest trend, but generally speaking, it makes for headaches for you, the designer, and your manufacturer. It is important to understand the difference between Customisation, Made to order and Bespoke (or made to measure).Customisation is the first level of making something individual. It is where the customer gets to personalise their product. If you’re designing a T-shirt, your customer, through customisation, can request to have a short sleeve T-shirt, instead of the long-sleeve tee you’ve designed. Or, request for their own initials to be placed on the front pocket or a split where a seam would normally go. Of course, you want to give your customer enough choice in details to make it individual while keeping within the parameters of what is capable. What do I mean by this? To understand the parameters it is important to understand the basic economics of mass production (by mass I mean more than one garment).The price of these products is determined by the cost of making the product (fabrics, trims and make costs) plus margin, plus mark up to wholesale and then the retail mark up.In order to keep within a reasonable price-point, you must keep the initial cost of fabric and production as low as possible. The way to do this is through bulk production. We start this process by creating a production marker (laying the pattern pieces on the fabric in the most cost effective way. This allows for greater than 75% usage of the fabric which is very high) you then lay fabric on top of each other in multiple lays, sometimes 100 lays, to reduce the time to cut each garment (this is called bulk cutting). Garments are then sewn in a production line of a few machinists all working on their individual machines at the same time to utilise machinery and time. Economies of scale reduce the...

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What is a Toile?

What is a Toile?

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Photo: Actual Toile Fitting in Sample RoomThere are many tricks of the trade within any industry. Certainly, within the fashion industry, one such trick is a toile. But what is it, exactly?A toile is a word, derived from the French language, which describes a mock-up of your design. It is an early version of a garment, made of a cheaper, but similar fabric, to test and perfect the design. You can see how important this is to the industry, and also you, as the designer. It is in this toile that a designer can see if the garment is going to sing or sink. It is a necessary step and will assist in avoiding wasting money on sampling that will otherwise fail. I like to call it a quick and dirty version of your design.When it comes to a toile, it is essential to use a fabric that is similar to the one you will use for your garments. If your design is made from a heavy and stiff fabric, then find something cheap and similar to this. If you’re going for a drapey, slinky and lightweight feel, then yes, do the same: find something close to this, but much cheaper and use for your toile.In addition to being a similar weight and feel to your actual fabric, the fabric for a toile should be light in colour, so that you can use tailor’s chalk to mark out where changes need to be made. Here is where you get to test the design lines, and the fit of the garment. You can make markings on the toile and see if a lower V neckline will suit better than the round neck that you initially sketched. The toile will guide you to add darts, or lengthen the hemline, or if cap sleeves will fit better than a three-quarter sleeve.The toile is your important chance to play with your design.Once you’ve made the changes to the toile, then translate them back to your pattern. If you’ve had to cinch in areas on the toile where there was too much fabric, or if you’ve had to loosen where the toile showed pulling and stretching, translate these into your pattern. You might even choose to make a second toile if you’ve made a lot of changes.We prefer to start with a toile. There is nothing worse than making a garment up with topstitching, pockets, overlocking and lining only to find out the shape is not right. It really is a waste of money. A toile costs approx half the cost of a sample if not less. Therefore this is valuable money wasted. I much prefer that we get the shape, length and placement of key measurements right first before creating the final garment.Another option is the make the toile in the final sample fabric but only make it to a toile standard. We call this a...

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