End-to-end fashion design: A guide for the fashion entrepreneur

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With the growth of e-commerce through platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Jabong, many would-be fashion entrepreneurs found an opportunity to fulfill their aspirations. While fashion holds the potential to create a successful business, it is not as easy as it seems. Many entrepreneurs who thought fashion to be an “easy” business to get into, realized too late that the field is as complicated and technical as any engineering discipline, and requires cultivated skills, says Supriya Ghurye

For fashion entrepreneurs looking to launch their own brand, an understanding of the design process and manufacturing is critical. Knowledge of related elements and processes, such as style, fabric, cut, trim, fall, consumption, dyeing, and embroidery, right up to the end product is crucial to succeed in any fashion endeavour.

So for those planning to launch a fashion brand, here is a summary of the steps that go into creating a fashion collection that people would want to wear.

Fashion forecast

Through research of current and past trends, the designer tries to get a feel of the kind of styles that will be popular in the upcoming season. Every designer’s understanding and interpretation of trends is different. A number of agencies like WGSN and Pantone release their trend and colour forecasts up to a year in advance. These are used as reference points by designers for the collection as well. If you are planning to hire a freelance fashion designer to design your collection, it is best to involve them from this stage to get the best results.

Mood Board

Once an idea of colours, trims, cuts and silhouettes is achieved, a theme, known as a mood board or concept board, is set by the fashion designer. It is a combination of images, words and ideas, which represents the designer’s thought, and from which inspiration to create each piece of the collection is drawn.

Range Planning and Style Selection

A collection consists of a number of designs, all based on the underlying theme of the mood board. Depending on the economics of manufacturing and merchandising, a collection plan is put together, which may range from 5-30 individual designs. This is also the stage at which your product mix (e.g. dresses, tops and bottoms), level of embellishment (print, embroidery, trims, etc.) and final pricing range is determined.

Concept Sketches

These are the first impressions of how the design of each piece will look. Concept sketches are the start of the actual garment creation process. Most entrepreneurs hire freelance fashion designers at this stage to fine-tune their design ideas.

Choice of Colour, Trim, Fabric and Embellishments

Once the concept sketch is ready, it goes into detailing and elaboration, where the final design takes shape, based on the type of fabric, colour and embellishment being used. Another factor is the target pricing of the garment, as the cost of production has to fit into the norms decided earlier.