Monthly Archives: June 2017

Fashion Design Skills

In fashion school, most of your time was spent learning to create fashion illustrations, draping, sewing, and flat patternmaking. While these are good skills to have, they aren’t very practical when you’re trying to land your first job in the fashion industry. In the real world you’ll be expected to know how to create computerized flat sketches, develop garment specs, CADs, and presentation boards. And I know some of you are thinking “But I learned those things in school too!” To which I reply: You think you know, but you have no idea! Take it from experience: fashion schools don’t focus on those skills nearly enough to fully prepare you for your first design position. In this article I will discuss each skill and its importance in the fashion industry.

Draping and Patternmaking – Low Importance
While patternmaking and draping are valuable skills, they usually only come in handy when you deal with a lot of fits. However, fittings are usually conducted by technical design teams so if you got into fashion for creative reasons, you’ll most likely be miserable in this type of position. On the creative side of design, all you need is a basic understanding of what creates a good fit, and how to fix a bad one. In the majority of design positions, hands-on patternmaking skills are not necessary, unless you plan to enter Project Runway!

Sewing – Low Importance
On the creative side of design, sewing isn’t that relevant. Yes, it’s good to understand the general concepts of garment construction, but you don’t need to be a great seamstress. On the job, if you need to know how a certain garment is constructed, there are tons of references available: from clothes at the stores, to “how to” books and online articles. The point I’m trying to make is: if you’re sewing skills leave something to be desired, don’t stress over it.

Illustration – Almost Unnecessary
Sadly, fashion illustrations are a dying art in the industry – they are scarcely used by designers in the real world. The fashion illustration has been replaced with computer drawn stylized technical sketches (floats) or more accurate technical flats, which are faster to sketch and much more practical. Not only do they present a clear representation of design concept, but they are a must have for production. Flats can be turned into CADs and can be used in mood/presentation boards. Fashion schools have not followed this shift and still focus more heavily on illustrations, and not enough on flat sketching.

Computer Programs – Must Know
I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing popular computer applications for creating floats, flats and CADs. Most companies expect proficiency in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Microsoft Excel since they are relatively affordable in comparison to more industry specific software. Unfortunately, the coverage of Illustrator and Photoshop provided by fashion schools does not meet the actual demands of the fashion industry. Many companies are also requesting knowledge of WebPDM, so if your college offers a course in this program, it would be to your benefit to take it. If your school does not teach this program, find a school or venue that does offer this program and take it!

Flat Sketching – Must Know
While interviewing candidates for design positions, we’ve seen applicants’ portfolios filled with beautiful illustrations and then say “That’s nice, but can you flat sketch?” If flats are included in their portfolios, they are usually basic, lack important details, and are not visually appealing. If the candidates sketches are halfway decent; my next question is “do you know Illustrator and Photoshop? ” Almost everyone says yes, but it’s usually far from the truth.

A lot of fashion school grads seriously believe that they know these programs well, but what you learned in school isn’t enough – fashion schools don’t teach these skills well enough for entry level designers to be competent within the fashion industry. Schools just cover basics, which are usually forgotten without practice. Take the extra effort to practice and become comfortable with Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and other programs beyond what schools teach: read books and take additional courses (offered in either classroom or online settings).

Creating Specs in a Copycat Industry – Must Know
Knowing how to spec (measure and detail) a garment to create garment specifications, or “specs” is a fundamental skill. Many companies create their spec sheets using Excel. Although garment sizes and measurements vary from company to company, depending on different market segments and categories, if you know the principles, you’ll be able to quickly adapt to the standards of any company. You don’t even need to know how to develop specs from scratch!

As a head designer, to set spec standards for a company, I usually went to different stores, found garments with a good fit and copied the basic measurements. This is quite common – the fashion industry is a copycat industry- most fashions hanging in the stores are knock-offs of another company. Once, during a shopping trip in London, a store salesperson noticed I was a fashion designer collecting style ideas. He mentioned that his store received a constant flow of American design companies such as Calvin Klein, whose designers come to knockoff their merchandise. That’s right – even top designer brands use knockoffs for their ready-to-wear collections. There are even official terms: a “knockoff” is when a style is copied and a “rub-off” is when patterns are copied.

Express your Fashon

Let’s express fashion as another beautiful manifestation of life. In fact the biggest fashion designer of the world is Mother Nature herself with her beautiful, imaginative and vivid expressions all around. For humanity from the olden days itself fashion was a source of joyful and creative expression of life just like the art, the science, the dance, the music and of course sex.

Fashion exists as two worlds today, the real and the superficial. I feel fashion is grossly misunderstood and maligned in the contemporary sense. In the superficial world of fashion, it is perceived as the privilege of the so called upper strata of the society. This is the tragedy of today’s fashion. Some people with the money, power and glamour flaunt the so called fashion and the rest of the world are made to believe that this is the real fashion.

This is a type of fashion that is being hyped and flaunted by select few and which is not accessible to most of the people. This is the shallow and superficial world of fashion that exists as we can see today.

Express fashion: The real world of fashion

Nevertheless we need to understand that this is just a small minority group and the real world of fashion is much richer and larger in proportion. Real fashion is about how people express their traditions and culture through their clothing, ornaments, the art, the science, the music and dance. This is the real world of fashion which has to be discovered by us. So let’s express fashion that is the “real” fashion.

Express fashion: Real fashion radiates from deep within

From the individual perspective, the real fashion radiates from deep within. Here, you never ape anybody. It just naturally comes to you. It is nothing but a deep desire of the heart and the soul to be full and complete from deep within and project it outwardly. To discover the real fashion you need to understand your inner self and its deep desire to connect with the external world through the joyous and colorful patterns of expression.

I feel “express fashion” is nothing but expressing fashion from deep within you. Next time you think about fashion, think about your needs and your comfort and then see the magic of fashion getting expressed in you in a real express way. When you just do it the natural way that is your way, you will start finding that people take a note of you.

So when we say express fashion, it is not just limited to your clothes or ornaments that you wear but it involves expressing your radiant personality. It is an expression of your inner happiness which is reflected through your body, your mind, your heart and your soul. It comes out naturally and radiates outward because of the feeling of being complete and one with nature. This is a very feminine and soothing manifestation of the self irrespective of the gender. Fashion is therefore a beautiful manifestation of the feminine principle itself.

 

This site envisions the rise of womanhood in true sense that is the rise of the “essence” of womanhood in the physical, mental, intellectual and the spiritual planes. It calls for the beginning of a campaign for the true rise of women in all spheres of life for the restoration of the balance in nature.

Somewhere we have to make a beginning and it’s always better if we make the initiation at our own self. We can strengthen this mass movement for the “rise of womanhood” by bringing about the necessary changes in our own life as felt by our inner self. Further we can transmit the new thinking to others who care to listen. A small step today will definitely lead to a giant leap tomorrow.

Fashion Jewelry 5 Shortcuts to Retail Success

Something in the human spirit is always itching for independence and this itch translates to a constant flow of new entrepreneurs that so often gravitate towards fashion jewelry. What is so irresistible about this accessory? Beyond the high profit margins that wholesale fashion jewelry can open for retailers lies an intrinsic beauty that creates truly wearable art. Yes, wholesale fashion jewelry offers plenty of profit potential that enables retailers to turn small investments into the longest mark-up in the fashion industry, but the magic of fashion jewelry’s beauty stops consumers in their tracks and this magnetic attraction, more than anything else, brings the entrepreneur into retail sales specializing in jewelry.

Many of these new fashion jewelry businesses begin on the simplest level with retailers buying wholesale fashion jewelry and presenting it to friends and co-workers. Easy sales and new found profits ignite a fire to grow the business, but what step comes next? As a twenty-five year veteran of the wholesale fashion jewelry industry, I have seen business after business start in this way and often grow to become the major supplier of fashion accessories in a community. The learning curve never ends as fashion jewelry evolves as well as retail tactics, but some things never change and these key techniques will have positive impact on your fashion jewelry business.

But first, how are you going to sell your treasure of wholesale fashion jewelry? Outgoing personalities love the active sale. Visit businesses, do parties, set up in flea markets or craft shows, and bubble over with enthusiasm as you introduce stunning fashion jewelry to consumers. All they need is a crowd and permission to set up. Bingos, festivals, school picnics, car shows, sporting events-the list is endless. Overhead is low and actually stops when not engaged in sales activities. But so does sales, so many prefer brick and mortar businesses with a higher overhead, but continuing business even when you’re not there.

The quieter, methodical personality may not be up to this bubbling enthusiasm and choose a passive sales mode. Successful businesses often build without the entrepreneur ever engaged in active sales to the consumer. They connect with beauty shops and other locations to provide fashion jewelry on consignment with the owner profiting as well as the entrepreneur. Methodical personalities think out the details like how to handle shrinkage of missing items with no sales recorded. Increasing price and lowering consignment fees compensates for losses when fashion jewelry has open exposure that can result in more shrinkage. The flip side is reduced sales in secure environments like showcases or behind the counter, which reduce shrinkage, but unfortunately, also sales.

Okay, both personalities have a selling method they are comfortable with and both can expand their business with online marketing by working on websites while their sales support them as the websites grow, climbing higher in the results of major search engines. But what about the 5 shortcuts to retail success? They boil down to pricing, selection, presentation, knowledge, and benefits.

-First comes pricing the wholesale fashion jewelry. New entrepreneurs often feel shock waves as they see the wholesale cost compared to retail prices they paid as consumers. The first temptation is undercut all the competition. Stop there!-because fashion jewelry is cyclical and low prices generate low profits that don’t carry retailers through the tough times. Do you want to spend all your earnings on restocking wholesale fashion jewelry and covering overhead? Of course not, you want to grow your business and make a profit and pricing is important.

Retail uses a term called keystone-a nice word for doubling the wholesale price. Make keystone the minimum for mark-up in fashion jewelry and look for the items that give you room for far longer mark-ups. The upside has no rules. Let your intuition guide you because prices can always come down, but it is difficult to go up.

-Next comes selection and this is a factor that major retailers like fine department stores are always struggling to get right. Stroll through one and you will see they have reduced staff on the floor so selection often has to sell itself. The fine department stores need “no miss” choices and have resources, forecasts, statistics, and trained buyers to make these decisions. Small retailers don’t need to be discouraged because this isn’t rocket science and you are closer to the clientele in your location than any major retailer.

Making the perfect selection rests on the age and demographics of your main customer base. Add this to the fashion trends of the season and you are close to perfect. How do you keep up with all those rapid changing fashion trends? Well rapid change is a myth. Trends change very slowly-often over a decade. Yes, colors and subtle adjustments occur every season, but today we are in the midst of classic trends that started in the early 21st century and have a promising future. More on this when we cover knowledge.

-Now for presentation-making the fashion jewelry look special. Ever notice how necklaces clumped together on a tee bar on top of a showcase seem to scream “I’m on sale” while the stuff in the showcase whispers “I’m special”. That’s presentation and how it has changed even for fine department stores.

Teri Agins in The End of Fashion details how department stores that were once “the first visual contact with fashion” and “introduced merchandise concepts to customers” changed in the late 20th century to a collection of brands. Agins quotes one upscale shopper who “was appalled when she discovered $19.99 Nine West shoes displayed right next to $350 Chanels” in her favorite department store that was compromising its image of elite fashion. Make an item look special and it takes on the perception of higher value.

-Next comes knowledge that is worth more than price. Don’t believe it? Think of items you bought because the sales person impressed you with a deep understanding of the product. That was worth more than price. I personally experienced this lesson when I did a trade show with a colleague. I told my customers the fashion jewelry was a real value at the price. His sales person painted a word picture of the wholesale fashion jewelry with the season’s apparel and wrote more orders without the customers even knowing the price.

Knowledge is knowing the trends and knowing the item. Consumers trust a well-informed source and when you know what is today’s style and why it looks right on the customer, you remove the burden of choice from the buyer.

Knowledge today goes deeper because classic trends in fashion jewelry bring gemstone components, shell, Murano style glass, Millefiore, and more to jewelry designs. A story is worth volumes in explaining glass jewelry and knowledge of gemstones that removes the doubt about whether it is real. Don’t be overwhelmed about understanding the trends and knowledge of today’s components because everything is detailed in a report, Wholesale Fashion Jewelry-The Magic of Trends (find a link to the report at the foot of this article).

-Finally there are benefits. Think of benefits as vision-what the customer envisions. Anyone that buys fashion jewelry wants to make a positive statement. They want a look that is flattering and appropriate. So like the car commercial running on the radio, features describe the details like length, color, texture, and shape while benefits say “matches apparel while complementing your complexion”, “draws attention to your slender neck”, or “creates a youthful look that is so you”. The old adage of sell the sizzle, not the steak, gets to the point. Pick the right item for the customer, be sincere, and sell the sizzle.

Secrets of Avid Fashion

Any woman who is an avid ladies fashion follower will tell you how important it is to keep up with the latest trends and the latest developments in the world of fashion. Not just about clothing – although clothing is a major portion of what constitutes to women’s fashion – but also about other elements such as the latest jewelry, the latest hairstyles, the latest accessories and must-have’s, as well as what is the latest dress trend out there today. The world of fashion and clothing is ever changing and on the move, so the avid fashion follower always needs to make sure she is on her toes and kept up to date with what is happening around her.

So how does she get all the information which she needs for what the latest trends and designs in ladies fashion are? How does she know what styles are in this season and what are the latest season must-have’s that every fashion diva should own in her wardrobe? By doing her homework of course. And no, homework here does not mean schoolwork, but rather homework in a sense that she uses every tool and means available to her to keep up with the trends in women’s fashion.

Being an avid fashion follower is no secret, all she needs to do is make use of the fashion resources around her. For example, an avid fashion follower would always have her essential item with her – fashion magazines. They are the very first basics she can turn to as there is no other medium that keeps up with the latest trends and styles quite like a fashion magazine does. New fashion magazines are out every month, which means their source of info is always going to be the very latest and the newest, and when it comes to fashion, those two are the key ingredients you would need to keep yourself fashion forward on all things related to fashion and clothing.

The avid fashion follower would also have to learn how to trend-spot. This simply means that she would learn to observe others around her and look at what other fashion followers are wearing or carrying if she wants to know what the latest trends are not just on the catwalk, but on the street as well. After all, being a fashion diva means that she knows even the tiniest developments and what is new when it comes to women’s fashion and dressing and what better way to do this than through observation.

The avid fashion follower will also make use of the greatest tool which everyone has available to them – the internet of course. The internet is going to be her endless source to all things fashion and all things related to ladies fashion, from the latest colors of the season, to what are the latest trends, the fashion gossips and what the hottest styles are, as well as shop online for practically any item she wants from any store, anywhere.

The world of fashion is something that is ever changing, and if you want to be a fashion forward glamour queen, start making use of all the resources around you and make sure that you stay ahead of the pack when it comes to all things fashion.

Actual Fashion Photography Files

The fashion industry and especially the modeling industry in big cities like Toronto would not be the same if fashion photographers downed their tools and declared that fashion photography were no more. This genre is very important as it devotes itself to displaying clothing and other fashion items and trends. Fashion photography is important in the modeling industry because whenever designers need to display their collections they usually enlist the services of fashion photographers to take pictures of models dressed in their clothes. People who do not go to runaways usually get the fashion via fashion magazines as they look for trendy designs. These people would otherwise not appreciate fashion in its raw form were it not for fashion photography.

Fashion photography is an art and fashion photographers have helped designers sell their clothes and items by taking good pictures of models wearing the clothes and posing in various positions at exotic locations. When aspiring models and especially those in Toronto want to have their pictures taken, usually get fashion photographers to take their pictures. Pictures taken by fashion photographers have been known to propel the careers of some models to dizzying heights.

Some people living in cities like Toronto often wonder what the requirements needed to fulfill their aspirations to break into the industry. Since fashion photography is an art, one needs to have artistic skill to ensure efficacy in their work. A natural sense of style and a knack to portray clothes artistically are some of the necessities for one to join successfully this field. One should also have an artistic inclination in regards to composition and modeling. Ethics and etiquette are other requirements a fashion photographer should posses, as they would need to travel widely to meet many people in their line of work. An additional element needed is for one to have is technical ability; as this will help one know how to work with the equipment used for this type of activity. An entrepreneurship spirit and skills can help one get ahead in this field especially if they live in fashion cities like Toronto. Another mandatory requirement is the basic equipment for one to flourish in these endeavors. One cannot break into the field if they do not have an ideal camera.

If a person wants to break into fashion photography, one should come up with a portfolio. They can either put the work they have done in a physical portfolio or develop a portfolio website to post their work. After the putting a portfolio together, one should send them to locations such as modeling agencies and fashion magazines. Alternatively, one can enlist the services of a photo agency to market his or her pictures. One benefit of fashion photography is one gets to travel to numerous locations and meet many people. People who photography and images could find this profession a worthwhile endeavor as it would bring one satisfaction through what they love to do. This profession also pays well; fashion photography is a well paying profession. Professional fashion photographers are always on demand; thus, one will never be out of work longer than they need to be.