Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Mai

Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Mai

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Lifestyle, Manufacturer | 0 comments

In honour of Fashion Revolution Week we would like to introduce Mai, one of our valued sample machinists. Originally from Vietnam, Mai has lived in Australia since 1995 after closing a tailoring shop she ran for 15 years.Mai was recommended from a family member to take the big leap and move to Australia with the promise of good working conditions and pay.Once in Australia, Mai commenced working at a large fashion factory, and stayed loyal to this position for 16 years. This was a huge contrast to her small business in Vietnam, where clothes were measured from a body and then cut. In this 100+ employee factory, Mai learnt about technical elements of producing samples and manufacturing to Australian standards. Mai sees herself as very lucky, as once made redundant from her long time employment, she walked straight into a position at Sample Room. Julia recognised her experience and expertise quickly and hired Mai straight away. Now with Sample Room for over 2 years, Mai says the main difference between Sample Room and per previous position is that at Sample Room everything is done under one roof, where previously elements of development where shipped off-shore. This increased during her time there, when she started her first job in Australia the factory had 100+ employees, when she was made redundant this was halved.Here at Sample Room, we are huge supporters of Fashion Revolution Week and are glad we could share a snippet of Mai’s story. Our founder, Julia Van der Sommen cut her teeth in the fashion industry on the factory floor herself. So has a deep understanding of the importance of respecting the knowledge of her staff, regardless of the job they are...

Read More

Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Sharon

Sample Room + Fashion Revolution: Introducing Sharon

Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Fashion, Fashion Design, Follow the Label, Industry Know How, Lifestyle, Manufacturer | 0 comments

Here at Sample Room we are proudly ethically accredited and value the importance of a safe and fair workplace. We have staff from all over the world including people local to Melbourne, creating a diverse and experienced team. Julia’s (founder of Sample Room) ethical practices are founded by the passion to respect the knowledge and skills people have. Coming from years of experience on the factory floor herself, she really understands the depth of knowledge and expertise the Sample Room team possess.We are very flattered to have been referred to as the “utopia of pattern development” by a number of people and work hard to keep this alive in our workplace.In honour of Fashion Revolution Week we have interviewed a valued member of our team, Sharon our Fabric Cutter.Introducing Sharon WickramarathneSharon has worked at Sample Room for almost one year, starting with us six months after arriving in Australia from Sri Lanka. Following the completion of a textile diploma in Pattern Making, he commenced his textile career in 1998 as a trainee Pattern Maker in a small factory where the main focus was school wear. This suburban factory had about 20 employees, and three short months after starting the traineeship his trainer went on maternity leave, which left Sharon to take the reins. The factory had strong safety processes, if a needle broke the staff would be required to return each piece of the needle or they would not be given a new needle to work with.From here Sharon moved to larger factories, where the buyers enforced approved conditions, keeping the factories to a satisfactory standard.Sharon noted that in Sri Lanka the textile industry is huge and there are also a large number of people to fill the jobs which can push the wages down, making it challenging to make enough money to support a family.The journey to Australia came with its challenges, mainly around language and also an expectation from employees to have local experience. So he was reliant on someone willing to give him a chance to build that sought after local experience. Six months into his job hunt, Sharon secured a job at Sample Room. With different systems and processes to what Sharon was accustomed to, his job role changed and developed shaping around the areas he excelled at.When asked what Sharon values the most about Sample Room his answer was “everything, it’s...

Read More

9 Steps To Be Manufacturer Ready

9 Steps To Be Manufacturer Ready

Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 in Emerging Designers, Established Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Manufacturer | 0 comments

Here at Sample Room, we have a number of meticulous steps in place to ensure the highest quality patterns and samples, ultimately providing you with the best chance to create the perfect garment with your manufacturer.Read on to see the 9 steps we take to ensure you are manufacturer ready and on your way to creating an amazing collection!1. Design the style When we are creating patterns for our clients there are a variety of ways they communicate their design ideas. Some might come to us with sketches that have been developed by a graphic designer, others with physical examples. Communicating your design ideas can be challenging. In our Fashion Label Launchpad course this is where we start guiding new designers through the process. From here, we flesh out the design as the building block to make the pattern from.2. A pattern is made Our expert pattern makers use a digital system called CAD. Using a system like this allows us to make patterns quickly and efficiently. Where altering and adjusting of patterns is needed, working from a digital software allows us to make edits much quicker than if the pattern was on card. This ultimately reduces time and money for all our clients.3. A toile is sewn A toile is a type of garment we create in order to test the pattern. The toile is often made from inexpensive material that holds the same characteristics of your sample fabric. This stage aims to test the fit, length, proportions and other important aspects of your design. Think of the toile as the perfect prototype to test your design and to gain a complete overview. This stage is very important. If your pattern does not work on a toile, then it is likely it wont work when creating a sample from your desired, more expensive fabric.4. Fitting We fit the toile to a model to ensure sizing, design and proportions are correct.5. Changes are made We pay attention to any specifications or changes that are needing to be made before moving on to create the sample. These initial processes are one of the many ways we test efficiency and accuracy in each garment. The toile process allows the designer to play with their design prior to the finalising stages. If any changes are made during the toile/ fitting process, this is then translated back to the pattern and altered.6. A sample is sewn Once the toile is correct, a sample garment will be sewn out of the desired fabric.7. Sample is fitted Final fitting takes place to correct and finalise any required changes Image: AvanturProcess is repeated for perfection The processes are carried out until the client is happy with their garments, and no further edits are needing to be made.8. Graded into other sizes Where grading is required, our expert pattern makers will grade each pattern. Our highly skilled...

Read More

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;...

Read More

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...

Read More

Off-Shore versus On-Shore Manufacturing

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in Manufacturer, Marketing, Sample Room Solutions | 2 comments

At Sample Room, there are many questions that we are often asked. One of those is ‘Where is the best place to have my designs manufactured?’Whether you choose off-shore or on-shore, remember that you are creating a partnership. They are considering you, just as you are considering them.Click To TweetWe don’t mind answering this question however many times it is asked of us because our job is to support you. But there is not one answer that fits all designers, all products, and all fabrics. Even if there are a number of designers who are creating similar products, there will still be more than one answer to this question. It comes down to many things, one of which is cost. How much are you prepared to pay for manufacturing, and how much can you increase your price point to cover this important part of the process?Firstly, no matter if you decide to go on or off-shore, you need to ask the right set of questions.These include:Do you work with small companies? What is your limit on production runs? Do you specialise in certain fabrics? How do you handle production flaws? What are your payment terms?If you decide to manufacture off-shore, be prepared to travel there as often as this builds trust and forms the base of a good relationship between you and your supplier. It also gives you a chance to see the factory and know the manufacturing capabilities, as well as the conditions. Be prepared for language and cultural barriers and understand that this is an area from where most mistakes germinate. Most factories have a specific person who speaks English and therefore the conduit to a perfect design. But accept that there might still be mistakes. Do your best to work within the confines of these barriers and be patient. Also, keep in mind that some countries are better equipped for manufacturing certain garments. For example, Bali is a good option for manufacturing swimwear. India manufactures excellent silks and natural fibres, and Fiji is great for sportswear and team uniforms.Some things to keep in mind when you are weighing up offshore production. You need to factor in all of these costs. You will no doubt be looking at the very attractive low manufacturing cost but the extra costs need to be included —Development costs to get a sample right (or at least the cost of freight back and forth which is approx. 8 x $100)Freight, import duty and GST (unknown until it is too late),At least one (1) visit to the factory (flights, accommodation, a week off work).There is also hiring a QC company to check your production and of course, there is faulty stock. I was told recently that some companies factor in 30% loss straight away. That means they only expect to sell 70% of what they paid for and the rest goes on sale or...

Read More