Fashion Design A Collection 10 – Spring 2020 – Challenges & Opportunities

Fashion Design A Collection 10 – Spring 2020 – Challenges & Opportunities

November 9, 2019 0 By Bernardo Ryan


The current big-picture challenges of a
spring 20/20 collection. One is making a made-to-order collection. I decided to
only make garments that people order in exception to the collection samples that
need to be presented to customers or stores. I’m not going to make a garment
that doesn’t already have a customer ordering it. Customers often want to
customize some part of the garments and that’s not possible with already-made
inventory. With made-to-order I can change the color, the size, add long sleeves, make
the length longer; I can semi-customize the garments that customers order.
Fashion is such a wasteful industry. I didn’t want to contribute to that
identity of fashion. It’s not environmentally friendly to try and
guess what customers want by pre-making lots of inventory. It’s easier to just
ask my customers, ‘what do you want?’ So I’m focusing on semi-customizable pieces and
also fully customizable pieces. I do think it’s important to design a
collection and make samples because that shows the potential of what I can make
for customers. It hopefully gets them excited which hopefully results in more
orders so they can be inspired by a piece in my collection and then they can
change details of it to make it exactly what they want. I also do fully
customizable. If you know exactly what you want let’s work together and
materialize it. It’s way too risky to have my cash tied up in inventory. This
is how I ran my previous fashion line in Shanghai. I could tell pretty quickly the
business wasn’t going to scale up very well. It didn’t feel right. Selling a
made-to-order collection, previously I’ve worked with small boutiques that work on
consignment meaning they put some of your pieces in
their shop and then they see if they sell. If they sell then you get a
percentage of that sale and the shop gets a percentage of that sale. This
requires the designer to take on the full financial risk of putting their
money in the inventory that sits in the shop and might or might not sell. The
boutiques risk, I’m really not sure because I’ve even had contracts with
boutiques that stated that if something was stolen from their shop either I
would get nothing and the financial loss would completely be my own because my
money was in that inventory completely already. Or the boutique
and the designer would split the financial loss fifty-fifty. Which okay,
that’s definitely slightly better than the designer taking the full loss, but in
my opinion the whole thing kind of just sucks. It’s just as a designer working
with boutiques by consignment it just didn’t feel sustainable and there’s too
much risk for the designer in my opinion. Wholesale business and business accounts
are made for large quantities. For example Lycra told me their minimum
order quantity that I could purchase from their distributor is 72 tubes or
cones of bare Lycra. How many tubes do I need for sampling? I need one tube or
cone right now and I can’t get it. It’s 72 or it’s nothing and I have to go with
nothing because 72 cones cost more than my whole budget for this collection. Also
business accounts like for example DHL, don’t seem to be made for small business
owners either. Getting small cone quantities shipped from Asia, the shipping
can easily cost more than the actual yarn. I’m not really sure how that
happens but that’s what seems to happen. In a nutshell those are our big picture
challenges or we can call them opportunities for growth and improvement. The current sort of personal challenges that I have are one being a one-man show
small designer. I’m doing everything by myself with equipment that I have at
home. It’s a lot of work for one person. My previous collection I worked with a
small factory in Shanghai that produced my garments so all I had to do was
design. I didn’t have to make anything myself which was really nice. Production
limitations. As I design I need to be aware of what I can easily produce on my
own so my designs can’t be too elaborate. This machine is capable of a lot but the
man-hours necessary for elaborate designs isn’t realistic if I actually
have to reproduce garments for orders. I’ll save the more elaborate garments
for one-off fully customizable orders. So some current technical challenges we have
now is making a spring 2020 collection on a 7 gauge knitting machine. It’s a
it’s a little bit of a chunky gauge for a spring collection and knitwear in
general is not known to be a spring season garment. Number two is that I’m
not able to source the Lycra yarn here in the United States. I’ve talked about
this a lot it’s been really difficult. Number three is finding
other yarn stocked in the United States in single cone quantities. The reason I’m
doing a recap of all these challenges is because you can see how big picture
challenges quickly trickle down and effect and create the sort of technical
and small day-to-day challenges of designing a collection. It’s all
connected and it’s good to understand why we have the current collection
challenges. So options to move forward. There’s a lot of opportunity. I keep
searching for Lycra and other yarns that are stocked and available in single cone
quantities here in the United States. It’s not impossible and I do have a
great supplier that keeps many yarns in stock with single cone order quantities.
I don’t know what I would do without them. They are sending me some yarn
reelings to look at including a Lycra yarn option and some other natural
fibers so I’m gonna explore those a little bit. Because the Lycra yarn has
been a challenge I did some stitches in just the bamboo viscose yarn. I’m not
worried about tops because a single end in jersey works just fine but I was
worried about pants, shorts, any kind of bottom where the fabric tends to be
heavier. I have to figure that out. Some things we’ve learned is that having
restrictions does give us predetermined guidelines to move forward. Having some
requirements in design is usually a good thing. If we had an unlimited budget with
unlimited resources and no deadlines it would take all the problem-solving out
of it and it wouldn’t be as interesting. As Orson Welles once said, “The enemy of
art is the absence of limitations.” So let’s make some art. Thanks for
watching. I hope you liked this video and the update on the spring 2020 collection
and the challenges that we’re sort of facing. And I think they’re a good thing.
We’re just gonna kind of move forward. This is how you create a collection. You
have to make it through some challenges and some difficult things. The industry
is not always on your side especially when you are a teeny tiny
designer that nobody knows and your order quantities are super teeny tiny
not a lot of people want to work with you. Not a lot of yarn mills want to work
with you. But that’s all part of the challenge of being a small designer.
Thanks for watching. Share this with your friends that also want to start fashion
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