Inspiration to Execution was hosted by Afingo and moderated by Britt Aboutaleb, Style News Editor of Elle.com last night at the Soho House in NY.
Afingo is the ultimate designer resource, helping designers and retailers gain access to expert content with insider tools and industry connections to take your ideas from sketch to sale. Their sister site, Shoptoko gives independent retailers the power to access exclusive merchandise at the majors’ pricing with no minimums.
Panelists discussed the pitfalls and promises of taking an inspired idea and transforming it into a functional, profitable fashion collection.
The big question: How do designers hone their creative process and ideas to a more manageable, sellable, marketable product?
Feeling inspired to launch your own collection? Than read these words of wisdom from those who have been there and back. Evidentially, if you are a designer and have made it past four or five seasons, than you’ve learned most of your lessons.
- Liza Deyrmenjian Co-Founder and CEO Afingo and Shoptoko
- Meredith Kahn, Designer, Made Her Think (see Sword accessory collection photo today)
- Bethany Mayer, Designer, Surf Bazaar
- Duncan Quinn, Designer of bespoke men’s apparel by his name
- Cynthia Vincent, Designer, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent
Tips and Advice from the experts-
- Clothing is one of the most labor intensive products on the market, begin domestically with 12 to 15 merchandised pieces that tell a strong story. Producing stateside will empower you with maximum control.
- Listen to your buyers and your customers to produce the most marketable collection possible.
- When producing overseas (India, Portugal, China, wherever) don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Yes, it is possible to get a three-legged pant sample back.
- Making things elsewhere is fun (read: exotic travel) but you lose control along the way. If you are not perfectly clear, you may not get what you want.
- Find a great agent and remember, the cheapest source is not necessarily the best.
- Find the right people/company who can translate your dream. Cynthia has produced in almost every country in the world. Some just do certain things better. India for silks, Portugal for wovens, Brazil for leather, etc.
- Make sure all details are written down and included in your tech pack and be sure to work off a time and action calendar.
- Before you decide where to produce, look domestically. There are many hidden costs when producing overseas, including shipping, travel and sampling.
- New word alert: “To Skive” is to cut into thinner layers to bring down production costs. For example: Skive down a shoe design.
- Find your garment cost by choosing something similar in your closet and dividing the retail price by 4. Use this number as a guideline.
- Reinvent your best sellers, as this is your bread and butter. Stop producing them for a season or two and then bring them back in different colors or with a new design element.