There is something about the fabric creating the mood for a collection that has always fascinated me. Coco Chanel changed the fabric in her famous tweed jacket over 75 times, proving that all it takes to completely transform the look and feel of the same basic pattern is a fresh print or a slight alteration. As a small designer, this strategy can greatly help with the cost of overhead! I’m not sure if this is a topic designers typically talk about… but let’s get real. Not everything is based on creative magic. Sometimes it comes down to being cost-effective and using what you have in your studio; refreshing patterns with a slight tweak or reusing the same pattern in a new fabric can create a completely different look. Maybe that’s its own kind of studio magic… a poor designer’s guide to fashion design!
Let’s start with my first love (and a small confession)...I am a fabric junkie. Seriously, I hoard it. I just can’t help myself – fabric feeds my heart! When I see a fun and flirty floral or a vibrant bold print, I just have to have it! Never mind the fact that I have no immediate use for it, or that I have three similar prints sitting at the studio in a crate. They are not like THIS one. This is “the one” and I neeeeed it!! Yes I know I sound like a crazy person when I get going about fabric… You just never know when THAT floral print will be perfect for a creation!
When starting a collection I always begin with the fabric before doing any sketching. This is because the fabric has a way of telling me what it wants to be (there I go again). When you’re refreshing some looks from seasons past, changing the fabric is a very fast and effective way to make a whole “new” aesthetic! The fabric sets the tone and feel for a collection. For example, in one season you do a long cardigan in black lace, giving a gothic but romantic vibe. The next year you can use the same pattern to remake the cardigan using that floral silk print you had to have, and BAM a whole new look that is light and playful. It's easy to completely change the tone by swapping out the fabric!
Now if you're going for a completely new design, why not start with one of your favorite patterns? You already know it fits great and moves well, so why not add on to this strong base and create something "new". By manipulating patterns, you are not only able to cut some of the overhead, but also easily refresh your design. Add sleeves to a top, make a dress longer/shorter, change the waist line and BAM you have created a completely new garment! No one will even guess that you started with an amazing design you did three years ago and just began adding on. I call this working smarter, not harder.
Well there you have it, I have broken the rules again with this post, and let you in on an insider secret. Never be ashamed of refreshing patterns or remaking the same design with a new fabric (everyone does it!). Heck, that’s just smart business! Build up a great set of pattern blocks and tweak away, because this design technique will save you time and money! And hey… if it was good enough for Coco its good enough for me!
I love fashion, food and southern living! Welcome to my blog.