Technical Knowledge versus Design Knowledge


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So, you want to work in the fashion industry? You’ve got so many design ideas, a sketchpad full of drawings. And they’re great, you know it. Maybe you’re already entrenched in the industry and you have a long-held desire to start your own label, but you feel stuck, you don’t know how to move on. What is the next step? How do you start your label? How do you break into this exciting-sounding career? How you can get yourself to the cutting edge of fashion? How can you negotiate with manufacturers to get them see how your designs are worth it?

Here at Sample Room, we’ve got the know-how to help you. It doesn’t matter what your position is within the industry. We’ve worked in the industry, and we understand the way it works, the barriers, the disappointment, the anxieties. We also understand that the focus is, these days, mostly on the design aspect within the industry. Many don’t understand the technical side of the industry. Everyone attributes more creativity to the design side and overlooks the creativity that is flowing in the technical side, in pattern making.

But there is so much available, so much freedom and opportunity as a pattern maker.

Most would-be designers overlook the technical side altogether. With great gusto, straight out of fashion design at TAFE or university, they start up a label, have great ideas, and a business plan to back it up. But they don’t know how to make a pattern.

In fairly recent history, within Australia as well as the wider world, the designer was the pattern maker and the sample machinist. The whole process was done by one person. It’s different now, not every designer knows how to prescribe a pattern. Not everyone can see how a garment can fit around a body. There seems to be much more of a focus on the glamour behind starting up your own label, to design something pretty, to appreciate the aesthetics: the sketches, the colours, the beauty of these things. Everyone wants this aspect, having been enticed by the appeal of the industry. But it’s a tricky business.

Within Sample Room, our staff have spent many years working in the industry as designers.  We know the pressures of the industry, we know the anxieties behind not getting the decisions right, the dismay and shock when what you’ve presented doesn’t translate well with consumers. And the money wasted, your savings, or the company’s dollars entrusted to you, all gone on an idea that just didn’t take off.

Our advice to young designers, or the fledgling label, is to enjoy your freedom. Don’t be in a rush to own your label. Have a go working for someone else. For those of who working in the industry and want to branch out, do whatever you can to assist you with this. The world is a pretty small place these days. Head to New York City, and get a technical-based job working for someone. Travel to Germany and experience working with fabric manufacturers. The experience and travel alone will give you a great perspective on life, as well as your ideas and sketches. It will all pay dividends for you in the future. Wait a bit before springing into the trappings of becoming an entrepreneur. Because, sometimes if you’re one of the lucky ones, when you do well, you can feel locked in by your own success. Trust us, it happens.

Learn everything. Experience everything. And remember, Sample Room and Fashion Label Launchpad – our six-month mentoring program – will be here when you get back. We guarantee you won’t regret connecting with us.

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