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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What the MOQ?

What the MOQ?

Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Industry Know How | 2 comments

I am writing this post from the side of isle G in hall 9.2 of the Canton fair.With over 4000 suppliers attending, to say that my feet are sore and my head is spinning is an understatement. If you have attended Canton Fair you will know what I mean. If you have not then I hope this post and some future posts might give you some idea of what is involved.I would like to share with you today my most FAQ. What is your MOQ (minimum order quantity). On approaching a stall, this is my first question to which I regularly receive answers from 1000 per colour per style to 2000 per colour per style. Straight away it is understood that these factories supply Europe and USA.It does not take long with some key questions and all of a sudden this same supplier is offering quantities of 200-500 pieces per style 2 colour ways.Why did they drop so quickly? It is about understanding what the limiting factor for each garment style is. One of your most important tools in negotiation is understanding what is the key component that cost the manufacturer that they cannot reduce.For example, if you are talking to a swim wear manufacturer it will be foam cup production. If you are talking to a woven shirt and dress manufacturer it will be fabric production. If you are talking to an underwear supplier it will be the size of their production run.You can easily reduce the quantity size down byOffering to use current styles and add onto productionUsing stock fabric from the marketSupplying the factory with completed pattern, sample and specification (one factory dropped from 1000 to 50 with this offer)Offering higher cost per item for a smaller quantity to be producedUnderstanding what a manufacturer needs to produce product with a profit for everyone will give you the quantity you need and the quality you...

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Looking for a Point of Difference?

Looking for a Point of Difference?

Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

The fashion industry is always changing. Trends in how to design and manufacturer a product change just as often as hem lines.  One of the biggest changes I have seen in the last year is that a lot of traditional developers/retailers have started to design. Now this may sounds a bit strange but what I mean by this is, in the past designers have often travelled overseas and purchased samples, come back and designed ‘based’ on these styles.With the ‘onslaught’ of overseas retailers, it has made it increasingly hard to ‘develop’ product from these buying trips. On top of this, there is the financial pressure to reduce travel etc. There are a new breed of developers who are quickly climbing the ranks and we are liking it!These developers still research the trends on buying trips and trend forecasting websites but they also bring more experimentation into the design process. They design unique garments!But this makes it harder to develop your product with overseas manufacturers who are very literal and require detailed instructions and specifications to make a pattern. This new way of designing requires a closer relationship with a pattern maker to create unique patterns and problem solve any issues before heading back overseas for production.Well not all pattern makers are set up for offshore production. The minimum requirement is a computer pattern making system that can export patterns to DXF, a universal file format that means you can open in most pattern making programs. Other skills a pattern maker needs to successfully work with offshore manufacturers include a knowledge of offshore specifications, and how a manufacturer thinks and works as well as an understanding of what can go wrong to set up instructions to elimiate the risk. At Sample Room we are onshore and offshore friendly.You might come up against some resistance from your manfacturer and it is important for you to know why. They may want to control the patternmaking process to lock you into a ‘contract’- if you need that particular style/fit then you have no choice but to stay with them. They may not have a computer pattern making program and don’t want to tell you (we can always send a paper pattern by mail). They may not know how to import a DXF pattern (believe us this happened just the other day when we showed a Tasmanian manufacturer what a DXF pattern was and now he has discovered a whole new world to his manufacturing business!).Anyway, whatever the reason, we just want you to know that if you are looking to do something a bit different and you have no idea how to get your idea across. Don’t worry, have a chat with us and we can get you to market quicker with unique design that no one else has thought of. How cool is that!You can email us at info@sampleroom.com.au or give us a call...

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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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