Final Collection Notes Chapter 3-5: Creation and Development

CHAPTER 3: Creative Research

  • CREATIVITY: more generally it is seen as the transmutation or transformation of something already in existence
  • Sources of creativity could be:
    • a muse: ex. Catherine Deneuve for YSL (not the same as the target market woman)
    • sketchbook: place to refer back to inspirations
    • societal and technological developments; youth culture and street fashion; achievements in the arts from architecture to graphics, film, and music; celebrities and public figures; and of course current fashion
  • Theme boards: While naming your influence helps to set its perimeters, the material that you include on your theme board goes a long way in explaining how it might influence you, and showing which element of its design inspires you
  • To produce a successful collection, therefore, you will need to balance the convergent and divergent thinking that support critical judgment and creativity in light of the understanding you have acquired of your market and competition.

CHAPTER 4: Development and Sampling

  • Your primary aim is not to design full garments but to investigate ideas that may contribute to their design later. These design ideas may be seen as further pieces of the jigsaw puzzle; they must work together and contribute to answer the brief.
  • D&S is also the appropriate time to source the necessary material and, if allowed, additional labor for production.
  • Fashion designers cannot limit their work to pen and paper; their designs need to be feasible as garments that can be worn. To achieve wearable clothes designers often rely on tried and tested techniques


  • Ex. some colors are more acceptable than others to some markets; while shell pink is regarded as sophisticated, candy pink is traditionally a younger color.
  • Color palette: identify the block colors, the highlights, and how colors may be combined and in which patterns


  • Lots of considerations between care / wear (purpose) / fee;
    • Outerwear and jacket linings are soft and lustrous to help them slide over an already clothed body; acetate, rayon, and lining silk are popular choices
    • Day wear in many markets requires easy-care fabric, while more delicate materials, such as silk satin, are reserved for evening and occasion wear.
  • Cellulosic vs. non-cellulosic: Fabrics produced from man-made non-cellulosic fibers have poor absorbency and are mildew resistant. Worn close to the skin they encourage bacterial development and may cause body odors; their qualities are put to better use in outerwear.
  • Filament yarns are made from long strands of fiber, usually silk or man-made, that require less spinning (smooth and lustrous materials)
  • Spun yarns are produced by twisting together shorter fibers (make soft, warm, and light fabric)
  • High twist yarns, such as crêpe and mechanical stretch, are usually made from filament yarns with a higher number of turns per inch (TPI) than necessary
  • yarn is also characterized as single spun yarn or ply yarn (produced by twisting several threads together) and by its yarn count, a number inversely proportional to the weight of the fabric it produces
  • Speciality yarns (e.g. stretch, novelty, chenille, or metallic yarns) are usually spun by blending different types of fiber together to produce fabrics with specific qualities.
  • Traditional weaving techniques include plain, ribbed plain, twill, satin, pile, and leno weaves. In each case the warp yarn (running lengthwise down the fabric) and the weft yarn (running widthwise) interlace in a specific and distinctive pattern that affects the look and the quality of the fabric
  • Satin also wrinkles less easily than other weaves. The two faces of satin fabric—one of which is comprised mainly of warp and the other mainly of weft threads—can have different colors or qualities, as with crêpe-back satin. The low interlacing also makes satin a good candidate for bias cutting; with its smoothness and high sheen it is ideal for intimate apparel and evening wear.


  • All knitted fabrics, whether produced by hand or machine, are different combinations of four basic stitches: knit, purl, miss or slip, and tuck.
  • Always test  fabric for stretch and elasticity. High-pile fabrics such as faux fur are usually knitted and, therefore, also offer some stretch.


  • Finishes with an effect lasting anywhere between permanent and temporary are usually applied at the end of the production process. Their purpose may be aesthetic (calendering and mercerization) or functional (coating, waterproofing, and creating crease resistance).


  • Recycled material—the lace from a wedding dress, for example, or the fabric from construction workers’ coveralls—can be cost effective and also contribute to the image and concept of a collection.

Seams and Finishes:

  • Seams are an important element of design; beside their practical purpose they can be used to highlight a detail or decorate a garment. They are used to great effect in commercial casual wear. The common seam, or running seam, needs to be serged (overlocked) or neatened if the garment is not lined
  • Some finishes, such as distressing techniques, are surface treatments but garment finishes also include hem finishes, topstitching, facing, ribbing, binding, and lining. Garment finish can significantly affect customers’ perception of quality and should be specified according to the market.
  • Early 1990s the “deconstruction” fashion trend promoted by Jean Colonna, Koji Tatsuno, and Martin Margiela proposed garments that looked unfinished and were often constructed inside out. The reduced production cost of these garments also suited a time of economic slowdown.

Surface Treatments:

  • Dying: Yarn dyed before woven or overdying (resist dying, tie dying or blocking areas with wax)
  • Printing: Printing is the application of dye on fabric in a pattern, either as a placement print or as a continuous repeat. (Industrial techniques are expensive to set up and require volume to be economically viable, but digital printing viable for small runs with no set-up costs)
  • Fabric Finishes: Long-lasting fabric finishes such as coating, stone washing, distressing (acid dye, enzyme wash, sand blasting, and laser engraving) applied to finished garments produce very powerful design effects.
  • Embellishments (labor intensive): embellishment techniques add decorations to fabrics through the use of thread and needle; they include embroidery, appliqué, cutwork, beading, and the use of trims, zippers, and buttons, but also cords, braids, ribbons, rickrack, ruffles, lace, gimp, and piping. While in some cases machinery may be used, most embellishment techniques are labor intensive. Special needles and gluing techniques have been developed to increase production rates.
  • Fabric manipulations (volumes & pleats etc.): Fabric may be suppressed and held folded by pleating, smocking, or tucking. It may be suppressed and held crushed by gathering or shirring. Reliefs can be achieved by cording, quilting, and stuffing. Fullness can be added with ruffles, flounces, and godets
  • Silouette construction: Construction techniques are similar to those for fabric manipulation: darts, suppressions, style/fit lines, smocking, gathering, pleating, tucking, and shirring may all be used to achieve fit or volume to create different silhouettes. Volume may also be supported by quilting, stuffing, padding, stiffening, netting, or boning.

Three different practices may stimulate your creativity and help you to produce and improve design ideas: self-imposed constraints, variations, and pushing ideas to their limits.

CHAPTER 5: Garment design and Line Planning


  • Line planning identifies the types of garments your collection needs to include
  • Commercial lines ~25 designs
  • Logical association of design elements into garments (helps people feel that they’ve understood your design)
  • As a designer you must train yourself to see and analyze designs this way, recognizing the internal coherence of a design and seeing how a grammar may constrain its variations.
  • As a designer you must train yourself to see and analyze designs this way, recognizing the internal coherence of a design and seeing how a grammar may constrain its variations.
  • Window Dressing: Some pieces may be included, despite low sales expectations, because they are central to the collection concept and necessary to its presentation. (Should have strong visual impact and be press worthy.)

Garment Design:

  • Top down (drawing –> creation), bottom up ( mesh garment designs, fabric manipulation etc)
  • Cut, Make, Trim (CMT): the industry term for production of the final garment

My Key Takeaways:

Demystified, the fashion design process from creative research to considering every trim, finish and cut of the garment. With so many considerations and variations to choose from, are the successful designs the byproduct of on-point trend forecasting or a lucky mix of garment design choices? There are so many places for the design to go wrong. Ever been drawn to a particular dress in the store only to touch the material and find it not to your liking, or find some particular see-through areas /  uncomfortable fit forcing you to toss it back on the rack?
Since luck does have a big role to play here and each consumers’ individualized tastes / comfort is the final judge, marketing or at least mass intrigue must pull them in to give each garment a chance.
However, just how much of an impact would it make on the end-consumer if they could pick the finishings to their liking? Custom e-tailers allow consumers to do this. Yet since the particularities of these choices and their impacts (care and wear) are mostly unbeknownst to the end consumers, would allowing them to choose REALLY be EMPOWERING?
Why don’t brands describe concretely the rationale behind their choices to educate the public? Yes, at the end of the day we can always choose to wear it how we like and for whatever occasion, but designers’ rationales HEARD would perhaps give us better understanding, increase perceived value and quality of the garment as well as broaden the wearer’s use-case for the particular garment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s