Monday, January 28, 2008


My Inspiration Monday has taken a bit of a twist today. With all of my new work projects taking priority, I have decided to take you on a journey through the processes involved in completing all requirements. I hope this inspires and enlightens you in some small way, or at the very least sheds some light on some of the processes I go through to bring ideas and products to life.

Feel free to leave comments, ask questions or leave any tips or advice you may have.

Today I am starting on my Apparel project. I am still waiting on the final quote approval, but this deadline is so tight, (and I have not yet had the go-ahead to start the other projects)so I am taking the risk and starting anyway.

This project begins at the research stages of the design process.If you are keen to read more, just click on the link below.

This apparel project is one of those rare opportunities for a freelancer. Most apparel freelance work that gets outsourced is purely graphic/design work with occasional opportunities to get involved in the garment styling. Much of the research has usually been done and freelancers are usually given a pretty tight brief which includes colour palettes, themes and exact graphic requirements.

However in this project I have been given the responsibility of compiling the look and feel of an entire new label/brand - from the corp ID and marketing, to the actual look and feel of the products. This is pretty exciting and allows me to get a real ownership of the project and to really make a contribution.

So - first things first!

1. CUSTOMER: the first thing I needed to do was to get out and walk the store of the major retailer we are targeting, to see what they are currently doing and to learn about the type of customer they are appealing to.This allows me to get a feel for the type of product that will be required, what that product mix should be, and how it might fill any potential gaps or satisfy a particular customer need.

By looking around the store you get a feel for what appeals to the buyer, and stock levels are usually a good indicator of consumer responses to particular products. Masses of particular items that are on sale at a crazy bargain price usually indicate items that may not have worked so well, while ranges that may have only one or two items left may indicate a more popular product. This can vary depending on what stage of the season you visit the stores and this is where it pays to be a regular observer of what is going on at store level.

Large retailers often have their own individual buyers who wholesalers sell their products to. In this case there are two different buyers. One boyswear designer and one girlswear designer. Our presentation will need to gel together as final "look and feel" of the ONE label, as well as catering to the different requirements of EACH of the buyers, as well as the end consumers! This means that as a designer I need to gain an understanding of what the buyer is looking for to satisfy their customers, as well as some notion of the final end consumer. This retailer also has their own in-house design team and label, so we need to offer them something that they can't do within their own team. Lots to think about! It's a big challenge, but not uncommon in the fashion industry.

At the end of the day, the more research I can do at this stage, the easier the design process will be.

2.COMPETITION: I need to get and see what other retailers are doing and offering their customers in order to gain an understanding of why they might buy our product as opposed to our competitors. What can we offer them that our competitors can't or don't.

3.PRICE POINTS: This is also a great chance to look at price points and to see what customers expect from their products at various price points. Ultimately it will be my client who will prepare and set the pricing policy here, based on the relationships they have with their factories and suppliers. As a designer, I will need to have an idea of the target retail pricing of this label and design the products accordingly.

4.GAPS/OPPORTUNITIES: Such thorough research allows you to see gaps and opportunities within the market place. Without this background and understanding, then you are designing blind.

Ok - I have done all of the above, and have a good background now to start formulating a starting point.



nina seven said...

I love that you are doing this, how fun it will be to follow along!
Good luck with everything!

Rachelle Anne Miller said...

Oohh this is really interesting.. I'm looking forward to the design process!

Chickengirl said...

Very interesting. Long ago, I was a childrenswear textiles designer very briefly (less than a year) before going into editorial/magazine graphic design....all this is bringing back memories. Thank you for sharing, I'll be back to see what you do next!

Danielle McDonald said...

Hey, that's great. Thanks for the feedback. I was hoping it would not bore you too much!And yes I AM up this early! Busy day ahead!

Kelly Medina said...

This is fantastic. I haven't had any experience with this type of project, so I am staying tuned for all your updates to learn from. :)

Marie-Louise said...

Australien, it´s so far away from Sweden. I found your blog because of the "You make my day".
It´s greate!