What We Can Learn From A Negative Review

Posted by on Jan 27, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It is an unfortunate side of the business in this day and age that reviews can be written about a business by anyone and can cause a new enquiry like yourself concern about a business. We don’t get many of these reviews and it has taken me a long time to find the most positive way to reply to these comments. I have decided to use each experience as an example of the many ways development and production can go wrong in this deceptively difficult industry. I hope that you learn something from this review reply to help in your own journey. If you have any further questions about this example then I am more than happy to discuss with you. Just give me a call.The below blog is in reply to a message posted by Lia L, a past Mentee who wrote 2/5 stars.Julia and the Sample Room team are lovely. The samples I received, however, were not. Julia puts in a great deal of time and effort into the Mentorship Program and does all that she can to equip emerging designers with as much information as possible in launching their own business. Her patience, continuous support and experience are truly inspiring and commendable. For that, I would rate the Fashion Label Launchpad mentorship course 4/5 stars. If you’re looking to get your designs made up into garments, however, my advice is to simply find a professional patternmaking company who focus specifically in this area (as opposed to spreading themselves over training courses, their own label etc etc.) Due to the poor fit and finishing of the garments I received (and had paid a great deal for), I unfortunately had to have these re-made again by another company. So, having had samples made from both Sample Room and then another Patternmaking company, I found the quality and fit of the garments made by the patternmaking professionals to be of a much higher standard, along with a pricing structure that was ultimately cheaper and had a lot more clarity. I would rate this aspect of the business 1/5 stars.If your designs are quite simple, then your experience may be different. Good Luck!My reply was posted below.Hello Lia,Thank you for your kind words on the Fashion Label Launchpad Mentoring program. We take great pride in the hard work that we have put in to help educate those starting out in the industry to understand the steps that need to be taken, along with the possible pitfalls. It saddens me that you have had a negative experience during the development process despite the information given in the program on the steps that need to be taken to ensure success.For some people reading this review, it might be helpful to understand the process and what possibly went wrong in this instance with your garments to help them avoid this situation themselves in...

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Fast Fashion or Great Fit – Which will triumph?

Posted by on Feb 10, 2014 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

There is a lot of press at the moment about the big International retailers coming to town to take everyone’s retail dollar and shut down every local small label that ever dared to think yeah I could survive in our market. Well, I’ve had enough of this… There are a few points of view I think need to be told.Last Friday night, I went clothes shopping. This does not happen a lot, mainly because as every long-term fashion industry employee would understand, that after a week of working, sweating and stressing over patterns and samples, the last thing you want to do in your spare time is shop. The result of this is that I don’t have a lot of clothes in my wardrobe and what I do have has to be pretty special, either in design or fit. Before you say why don’t you make your clothes? I always do a quick comparison between the cost to make one sample and the cost to buy off the rack. Off the rack nearly always wins.So, I head to the city on Friday night and start with the regulars: Zara, MNG, Myer, etc. The selection is okay, lots of clothes for a university student who looks good in nearly anything, but also a huge line up to try clothes on. I grab a couple of tops and make an educated guess of the size I need, based on what I make everyday and what I have known for 20 years.  I grab a medium, as I would call myself an 11 at the moment, head to the checkout and pay for the tops, taking note that in the off chance that the tops don’t fit; I can exchange them for the next size up.As soon as I get home, I tried them on (I was keen to wear them as soon as I could). I found that they are too small, I’m not talking half a size; I’m talking 2-3 sizes. A small button also comes off one of the tops during the process.On Saturday afternoon, I head back into said store to exchange the tops for a larger size. Instead of going one size up, I grab an XL and head to the long line for the changeroom.Whilst standing there, I notice a couple of things: 1 – There doesn’t seem to be anyone with hips, boobs or a bum in the store. 2 – Almost every lady walking out of the change room hands back nearly every garment and says – no thanks.Finally, it’s my turn. I try my tops on and find that, at two sizes up, the XL tops are too loose in the bust and hip (as I think the styling intended), but the sleeves are still very tight. There is also a sleeve tab, intended to fold the sleeve up to 3/4 length, however...

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Finding a Good Patternmaker

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

Firstly, I would like to say that I am sorry for the long spaces of time between blogs lately. We have been very busy at Sample Room. We have also been caught up in the employment process, looking for a new pattern maker for our team. It has been long and drawn out process, with a false start. In reflection, it has made me realize how hard it must be for you, the designer, to find a pattern maker that’s right for you. I thought it might be helpful for you to know how we select a pattern maker. This might also help you decide who you want to work with.1. Understanding of the brief.When a customer comes to Sample Room they are not just presenting a drawn garment. They are telling us who their target market is, the purpose for the style and who will wear it. It is then our job to create a pattern and garment to suit that customer. How low the neckline sits, how short the skirt is and how tight the garment fits are just some of the things we think about when designing a pattern2. Are they a visual pattern maker or a spec pattern maker?Some pattern makers need specs to make a pattern. This is the only way they can understand what the customer needs. We prefer pattern makers who understand both the customer and the look, and how to create a pattern for this look. It is important to have some measurements from the customer, such as length and circumference measurements. There is no benefit in being told by the customer after then garment is finished that the under bust should have been 75cm. That information is much more helpful before the pattern is made. Length measurements are also important. If a garment is drawn on a croque, it provides a better representation of the proportions. The bottom line is: if the measurement is important to you, it is important to us.3. Style.An in-depth knowledge of what is in fashion is important, so we are on the same page as our customers. An understanding of how a young girl is wearing a dress length or how a boyfriend jean should look is important. This allows us to use the same language as you, the customer, when we discuss your designs.   4. Speed and accuracy.Personally, I would love to spend all day on one pattern but something tells me that you, the customer, would not like to receive this invoice. Accuracy is also a very important factor. By computer pattern making, we are able to tick both of these boxes. A pattern maker who would like to drape every pattern to a stand before a pattern is made, will probably have a hard time coming to terms understanding what it takes to create a pattern as a contract pattern maker....

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Pre-Production Sample Follow Up

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A few months ago you may have received a post from me about Pre-production samples. In the past few weeks it has come to light that this subject may need to be expanded upon.A Pre-production sample is the last check before you commit to thousands of dollars’ worth of fabric and manufacturing.This process is even more important if you are using external contractors for your development process.Why? Well when you have a team working in house with you, a lot of possible mistakes are caught; not whilst in a formal meeting but while you are walking past someone’s desk, while you are talking in the lunch room, when someone sees the fabric arrive in the loading bay. By removing this close contact, your contractors are left to make decisions based on the information they have been given, which might not be the whole picture.It is important to note that the fit of a garment is not always the same as the measurements of a pattern, especially where knit and woven fabrics are concerned. The process of development, of creating a mock up or sample from a pattern, is to see how that particular pattern works with that particular fabric. The pattern is then changed as a reflection of the sample made in that said fabric.If the fabric has stretched and has resulted in a looser fitting style based on the pattern and you like it then we do not change the pattern. It might even be that you make the pattern smaller to compensate for the stretch of the fabric.If the fabric used in production is different from the fabric used in sampling, ask your patternmaker to measure and compare the sample to the pattern measurements. Having this completed will show you how the pattern differs to the sample. This extra, but vital information might be something you wish to spend time and money on.It is also important to remember that if you change the fabric in any way, then you need to trial the pattern again.Take, for example, a recent situation where the fabric used for sampling was a loose knit with very little Lycra. During the sampling process, the fabric stretched. The customer then approved the sample. The pattern was graded, a marker made and was sent off to the manufacturer for production.We later found out via an upset customer that the garments had not been made in the same fabric as the samples.On further investigation, we discovered the first sample was bigger than the pattern and the production garments was smaller than the pattern. This resulted from the designer using a fabric with a lighter weight and a high Lycra content, causing the fabric to bounce back and shrink (as confirmed in pressing tests). The result was a two size difference from sample to production.As we did not see the fabric used for production, we had...

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Unusual Designs: RnD

Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Sample Room Solutions, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I’m not sure if you guys know this but I am a very keen snowboarder. For anyone who knows anything about the snow we get here in Australia compared to the overseas snowfields, we don’t get a very good deal.So what’s a girl to do? In winter, to get a bit of a snow fix, I volunteer for an organisation called DWA – Disabled Winter Sports – and we go up to the mountain to assist people with disabilities to ski and snowboard.Why am I telling you this? Well, partly so you understand why I can’t meet on Saturdays during winter and also because I want to tell you a quick story about developing an unusual product.One of the pieces of equipment we use is a sit ski; this is for people with spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy or extreme physical and mental disability. It allows someone with limited to no control of their body to enjoy the incredible rush of skiing down a mountain.When I fist started at DWA we used to bundle the students up in clothes, put their feet in boot bags, gaffer tape them in and take three changes of clothes along to keep them warm.There are two issues to think about with this set up: You get cold sitting so close to the snow, especially when not using your body to ski and; snow in Australia is usually wet and slushy, not the nice dry powder like overseas.I didn’t think this was good enough so I decided to use my talents for good instead of evil and developed what’s now called the ‘Snow Worm’.The snow worm is a waterproof, wind proof zip up sleeping bag that allows the wearer to sit without folds of fabric around their hips that may cause pressure sores.They can sit in the sit ski, zip the snow worm up, Velcro it around their wast, pull their jacket down, poke their shoes out if they can wear them or wrap it around a pair of ugg boots and be warm, comfortable and dry.The snow worm is also quite good for some lunchtime play when you can be dragged around the snow!Why have I told you this story? We love using our pattern making brains to develop an idea into a product made of fabric.So how do you put together your ideas if it is something that has never been developed before?-If you have seen a similar item that you think you can improve on, then bring this along.-Or a collection of items that you would like to use different elements of, this will help us see where you are coming from.-Some fabric and a stapler or pins can help to get your idea across.-Cut out some shapes and put them together as best you can. It will give us a starting point to work from.-If you are good at drawing...

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What I Learnt From an Armani Jacket

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

I am not sure if many of you know but I am a Saturday 7am Lycra clad, Beach Rd cyclist. I love it because it de-stresses me and I also get the chance to ride down the Paris end of Collins St while everyone sleeps.It almost feels like I am playing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (although slightly healthier and at a much faster pace). Every time I ride past Armani I am reminded at of the day my passion for pattern making was ignited. Many years ago when I was fresh out of fashion school, I attended an industry event. I can’t remember what it was about but my guess it was about quality and fit of fashion. One of the attendants brought along an Armani jacket and I was privileged to try it on. I am not sure how many of you have had such an experience but to me it was truly life changing. 18 years after this event, I can still remember the feeling of the neckline hugging my neck, the balance of the jacket which gave me the confidence I would never have to readjust it whilst wearing. The natural swing of the slim sleeve which still allowed for movement and the fit of the body which hugged in the right places and skimmed over the flaws. I have to say that this was the pivotal moment that set about a chain of events, long hours in the workroom, hundreds of hours observing the human figure and the way clothes fit on people and what pattern solution could flatter the body in order to aim for near perfection in pattern making. The skill and knowledge of the pattern maker as much as the designer were evident in this Armani jacket.Someone asked me the other day ‘what is this ‘fit’ thing you always talk about’. To answer this question I must know about the quality of clothes you wear. The art of fitting has been lost on some labels and the customer does nto know the difference…until the day they try on a label that does care, then the customer will never turn back and will be a loyal customer forever. I am often asked for a set of blocks for a company to use as ‘the block seems to be having an effect on the end pattern’. Or they ask for hints on the top 10 fit issues of a shirt pattern so they can communicate these to their factory. I am sorry to tell you, in pattern making there is no magic formula. 1 + 1 does not always = 2. A block does not make a garment any more than a pattern makers skills are improved with a good block. If someone cannot see how to fit a block then I am sorry to say there is not much hope in...

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