The Initial Design Meeting

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Manufacturer, Mentee, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

When you first start your label it is a really exciting time. You have every right to feel proud and eager. But, you may also feel apprehension too. This is normal. You will have a lot of questions; this is normal too.One of the most common questions we hear from start-ups is ‘What do I bring to my design meeting?’ and ‘How do I explain what I want?’ Well, at Sample Room, we can help answer these questions no matter who you work with, as well as alleviate any concerns you may have.The initial design meeting is the most important stage in development. It is not something to be rushed and there is a certain process that is needed to get all your ideas out of your head and mouth in a way that explains it to a pattern maker to create your vision. It is your chance to unload everything to us.Your worries, your ideas, everything. This meeting is about anything you choose; it’s all about you, your designs and dreams, your budget, and your questions. It’s a good idea in the weeks and days leading up to the meeting to jot down some of the issues you’d like to go over. Write down all your questions, note the choices of fabrics that you’re thinking of using for your garments, bring in garments to show fit, make or fabric, bring in swatches, and tear out pics from magazines. You can use this meeting to simply have a chat with us; to bring forth the ideas that are presently buried within. We understand that ideas have to germinate in your brain; equally, we understand that an idea will stay as just that until you talk it over with someone.The best advice we can give you, however, in preparing for the design meeting, is to make sure you know your customer. This is so important, we can’t stress it enough. You need to have researched every aspect about your customer, you need to have invested time and energy into them. If you’re about to launch a label, you have to know that person is out there to buy it. It’s no use creating cycle wear for women who wear Size 16 and over if you’ve not done the research to show that such a product will sell. Likewise, if you are designing quality work-wear for the professional woman, make sure you understand everything about her. What is her age bracket? What is her salary range? Is she a working mum, or is she child-free? What movies does she like to watch? What are her hobbies?Does she do yoga, or is she a marathon runner? Know the other brands that your customer purchases. Have a clear picture in mind, so that you are well-placed to succeed in launching. Reach out to your customer, get their feedback, and make conversations and connections.Why...

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Fabric and Printing

Posted by on Jul 21, 2017 in Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Lifestyle, Manufacturer, Sample Room Solutions |

 Photo: Sample Room’s WorkroomAs an emerging designer, how do you know what to do to achieve the look and finish for your designs? And if you want prints or logos on the fabric, whether small or all over, which is the best way to go ahead with that? Is it easiest to purchase the type of fabric you’re after with the prints already on them? But what about your logo? How does that get printed? What if the print is a specific design in itself – which is the best way to have it printed?So many questions! So many possibilities! It can be more than enough to discourage a start-up!I am hoping that the information below will help guide you, at least with a few things to think about, although I am aware that it might confuse you more. When we work with a client, we can help guide them and answer all the questions that arise. It may be just a few key questions that narrow down the choices to the one that suits your design, brand and label.Most often, we’ve found that the answer to these questions lies with the individual designer, you may have the vision but just don’t know what it is called and how to go about the process to get the result you are looking for. It really will be dependent on how much money is at your disposal.If you are looking at adding prints to your designs, there are quite a few choices and different reasons for each choice.The type of fabric, the final use of the garment, the finish you are looking to achieve and the quantity of garments you would like to make, all have an input into the final decision you will make.For example, if the stretch of the fabric is important to the design such as sportswear then the print finish will have an effect on the stretch of the garment. Choose the wrong print and you will find the print will restrict the fit and pull, resulting in a poor finish.However, there are some rules when it comes to printing. Let’s take a quick look at some of those options.Yardage Printing This type of printing is all over the fabric and is best suited if you are designing a garment that has an even all-over design. If you are looking to design your own print or have a surface print designer to design one for you then be mindful to choose a 2 way print (can have 2 panels cut in different directions that look the same) over a 1 way print as this will give you better fabric usage, reducing your garment costs. Often a yardage print is the right choice but depending on how you print it, you might be up with a large initial outlay depending on the number of colours, the detail of...

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Start-ups In The Fashion Industry: Why It Sometimes All Goes Awry?

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Industry Know How, Industry Trends, Lifestyle, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

Photo Credits: Laura CallaghanHere at Sample Room, we’re extremely fortunate to be a well-known supplier, educator and consulting business within the fashion industry. Our website and online presence is highly visible. Our phones ring constantly. And this is what we want. We’re a business, so we want customers. We are more than happy to work with new and emerging designers, because we’ve developed a proven method that assists newcomers with the education they need in order to be a success and not waste precious time and money. We see a lot of start-ups contact us to make enquiries about launching their brand. They are excited, and rightly so; they’ve produced fabulous designs, and they are chomping at the bit to get out there. They know what they’ve created is going to take off, it’s going to be the NEXT BIG THING. So, sometimes, sadly, we see their excitement prevents them from listening to expertise, the company with the industry knowledge, the know-how and the advice to help them.Within the industry, what a lot of start-ups don’t realise is that there is a language, specific to the fashion industry. We can tell straight away if someone is attempting to bluff us with a few key words, to try to make themselves sound ‘legit’ to get through the gatekeeper. We are able to tell pretty much if they know what they are doing, and equally, if they don’t.What we also know, is that sometimes, manufacturers and suppliers will invent reasons not to work with start-ups. We saw this very recently here at Sample Room, when a business owner told a newcomer that they didn’t have any availability to help them until 2018. We know that is most likely a furphy: the business owner picked up straight away that this new designer had no experience and put them off, knowing all the time and resources it would take to work with someone who’s green.This may seem a little harsh, so I would like to explain why we have made this decision. It is hard to explain to someone who has not studied fashion or worked in the industry just how much information they need to know to successfully develop a range of clothes. Every person you speak to along the development and manufacturing process will ask you technical questions that only you can answer. So often we are asked for just a pattern and sample. It is not until you are in the thick of development, that you realise it is your responsibility to supply fabric and trims suitable to the style, explanations of price point and how you wish the garment to be finished. It is your responsibility to provide clear instructions on grading, markers and ratios, as well as many other questions in order to successfully reach your launch day. On the flip side the fashion industry is not a...

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Transform your IKEA Kura with the Safe Night Net

Transform your IKEA Kura with the Safe Night Net

Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Mentee | 0 comments

 So often people have an idea for a ‘Thing’… this ‘Thing’ is made from fabric but it is not ‘Fashion’ or even Clothing. In today’s blog you will find out about one of our clients, Megan, and her journey to create a bed cover using an IKEA bed. The Safe Night Net looks like a normal mosquito net, but it’s not. It’s designed to keep some things out and others in. The mesh used is 100% made in the USA — used for industrial applications. It looks and feels good, but can also survive all kinds of mistreatment without developing tears or holes. See just how strong it is in this video when put to the test against normal mosquito netting.This specialty product is made by a small family business operating out of Australia, and they are dedicated to producing a quality product for Safe Night Net (plus they will back it up with a 12-month guarantee against tears and holes). We asked Megan some important questions on how she started the process of creating the world’s strongest mosquito net1. What is your label and who is it for?My brand is the Safe Night Net. It is a very strong net that fully encloses an IKEA bed. It is for parents of children aged 3 and up. It’s a mosquito net, but it can work for children with a variety of issues, including sensory processing disorders.2. How long ago did you start the process of your own label?Over two years ago. It’s been a much slower process than I expected. A big part of this was waiting on shipments of materials from overseas. And finding a Patternmaker!3. What is the biggest thing you have learnt through the process?That other people’s input is VITAL.If it wasn’t for other people’s expertise (including Julia’s), I would never have got this far. I’m not really a collaborator by nature – being a bit of a know-it-all and an introvert – and I’ve got away with it on previous projects where I have a lot of expertise, but NOT THIS TIME. Trying to enter a new industry is a massively challenging and complex undertaking. You need a guide.Also, discussing your project with others – even if they aren’t experts – can throw up very useful ideas. Here’s a recent example: I was telling a close friend I had booked the first photo shoot for my product. She asked how I was styling the product. I said “I’m not styling it – it’s a practical product, not really a décor thing”. My friend was horrified and said I was missing a big opportunity to market my product on social media with cute photos. She was totally right. If I hadn’t (manically) gathered together some quilts, cushions, etc, – and ordered some adorable stickers for the bed – my photos would have looked super dull and medical. Looking back on it, I...

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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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