1. Draw up Inspiration and Research the Market
January for Autumn/Winter Collection | July for Spring/Summer Collection
Essentially you need to get out there and collect inspiration, attend trade fairs, touch fabrics, select trims. This will open your horizons, give you fresh ideas for your garments and allow for you to create a mood board. For now, you just have to focus on having a general idea of the materials, colour directions and concept.
Get yourself up to speed. What’s selling? What does your costumer seek? You should be able to respond to these questions. Research the trends and draw inspiration from the forecasts. Although you know who your consumer is, the market is in an everlasting spiral and you must keep up with it in order to be successful.
You could have the most genius idea, but it could be rendered a fiasco shall there be no need for it in the market. There must be a balance between your brand’s identity and current trends, you shouldn’t blindly follow either one. Information is essential, even if you opt to go down another route.
One thing to always keep in sight as well is pricing. You need to be realistic when developing a collection, as you’ll have to take the budget into account in every detail, shall it be the materials, the styles themselves or the accessories. Be honest with what you have and what you can achieve.
2. Design the Styles for your Collection
February for Autumn/Winter Collection | August for Spring/Summer Collection
Gathered the inspirations, fabric and colour swatches, both the most terrifying and exciting part of the process begins: designing the styles for the collection.
First things first, you need to define the size of your collection. This depends on the size and concept of your brand, as well as your budget, however it is important to limit the number of styles you’ll have when finishing up the collection.
Do not be too ambitious and base the size of the collection out of other notorious and established brand. Every brand is at a different stage in their business, so focus on your own needs and on what you can accomplish. Too much choice can be overwhelming to your customer and can be seen as a sign of poor decision making.
You can start small, just simple sketches without colouring, and build up from there. Think of what sets you apart from your competitors and draw from that aesthetic.
Next would be the colouring and deciding the number of colourways each item should have. Try to think of your collection as a mix and match and create it so that the garments can be worn together and tell a story.
Editing is a very important part of this process. You should start out with various sketches and then edit down and stick to the styles you find essential, maintaining the essence of a collection.
There are mainly three kinds of garments you’d benefit from having, which are the statement pieces, the bestsellers and the add-ons. The statement being the bold piece that catches the attention of the buyer but are the most expensive, and the bestsellers the garments you think will perform better in sales according to your research, and their price should fall in the middle of the collection’s price range. The add-on would be the cheaper items, which allow for new buyers to enter your brand, they can be impulse buys, gifts or a last-minute add-on.
3. Development of the First Samples and Settling on the Details
March for Autumn/Winter Collection | September for Spring/Summer Collection
The collection should be settled by now, only a few details could still be pending, which must be tackled on this stage, such as final colours, accessories, labelling and packaging in order to start developing and producing them for the final collection. You can come to us on this stage to develop the garments and finalize these questions.
We work with you in order to reach a final decision regarding the materials, sourcing them and presenting options we find suitable for the project. Simultaneously, we interpret your drawings or tech packs, to be able to create the pattern of your styles.
All these steps accomplished, we can proceed with a first prototype of each style, which will serve to check the fit of the garment and its construction.
You should analyse these garments thoughtfully, as the changes to the patterns moving forward will be made accordingly to your feedback. It is needed that you comment the fit as well as the shape of the garment, in order to nail both on the next samples, and to speed up the development process.
4. Development of Following Samples
April for Autumn/Winter Collection | October for Spring/Summer Collection
Moving forward, while the collection fabric and accessories are in production, further samples can be made in order to check if the changes made to the patterns are final, or if there are any more tweaks to make, as well as to test out the sizing.
Size sets are essential as they guarantee that the sizing is correct and will fit your main audience. You can request for a size set to be made in order to try it on models of different sizes, and work with us from there.
You should start planning the launch of the collection and the photography session at this point, which are essential to its success. It’s not only about the new products you’re putting in the market, it’s mainly about raising awareness and building up the hype around the products.
5. Development of the Collection Samples
May or June for Autumn/Winter Collection | November or December for Spring/Summer Collection
Lastly, the last step of the development, where samples of each style, in each colourway are made, for the photoshoots, to serve as Salesman Samples, to communicate your collection online, and much more.
This is the moment when you’ll finally have the finalized garments, in the final colours, trims and labels. Thus, it is necessary that you check if everything is in order, as expected on a production.
If there are minor details you’d like to see changed or corrected for the production, it is necessary that you give us that feedback, in order to improve the garments for the following production orders.
Other than that, you have to do your magic, spread out the word and communicate the collection so that you have the so well-deserved success.
That being said, and everything being on point, let’s move to the production!
by Letícia Gonçalves