Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Starting From Scratch - Part 2 - Knowing Your Craft

One of my biggest pet hates in life is celebrity’s who start their own clothing lines. There are exceptions to this rule of course – such as Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen who I love. But generally speaking the reason this frustrates me so much, is that these celebrities have a whole tonne of money, and pay a team of people to do the creative work for them and then attach their name to the product at the end, without having any idea how a garment actually comes into being.

As someone who works incredibly hard to run all aspects of my business, the thought of paying someone else to design and do my patterns and fittings is just laughable, because that is where most of my ideas happen.

Having training in garment construction and pattern-making is ESSENTIAL to creating a successful brand. There are probably lots of cases in which I could be proven wrong, but for me, designing, sewing and patterns all go hand in hand.

I keep numerous sketch books around the place and note ideas almost every day, but when it comes to creating the garments the end product is usually drastically different from my starting point. And this is one of the things I love about starting from scratch. If I were getting paid to do illustrations and have a team create my vision, I know I would be a very different designer. Conquering fit and elements of design is incredibly satisfying, and even though I have a very long way to go with my knowledge of tailoring I know I will be a better designer in the end for having a complete understanding of how every shape, fabric and cut works together to create a look.

I remember reading a book about Vivienne Westwood some years ago, and her dedication to and study of historical costume amazed me. Its obvious to see how much her collections are influenced by historical costume, but it is her manipulation of those old patterns and techniques that makes her work so astounding.

So if you have decided starting your own clothing business is something you want to tackle. Go and study. Learn the basics of dressmaking, and then specialize. Find someone in your family who can sew and get them to teach you. And never stop practising your craft, and learning new techniques.

In the future as my business grows, there are obviously elements that I will have to give up and give responsibilities to other staff. But I hope that I will always be the one doing the designing and creating the first samples.

Images: Betty Grable in 'Pin Up Girl' Source: Google

Gaby xoxo

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Thanks for writing this series! I recognize that frustration with those who can toss a bundle of money at a fleeting idea. Sometimes I think it's because working with so little restricts choice, but that's also what makes the end result grand. Cheers to the struggle and keep up the good work!

<3 Caitlin