The Fashion Student poses this question and instead of rambling excessively on her blog, I thought I’d address it here. Her question:
I’ve been pondering over the actual process of designing my collection. Do I design a collection then source fabrics to suit my designs, or do I source fabrics that I love and inspire me and design a collection based around them?
If you don’t mind, I’d like to offer my two cents.
Fabric selection and design has to be done simultaneously, or hustle back and forth. What I do is to have a list of fabrics I want to work with, and possible alternates. I design several pieces, I revisit my fabrics. In the real world, I order my sample yardage as soon as I have a basic idea of what I need, and then design with those fabrics in mind. Not all fabrics make the cut, pardon the pun, and at the last minute, you will desperately need the perfect 18 mummy silk charmeuse in Pantone 18-1751 TC, but such is life in this industry. When in school, I would swatch extensively in the beginning and part of the design process is to create the beautiful fabric stories. Your designs are nothing without the right fabric so you have to consider them as part of your design process, not something you do before or after designing.
And edit fiercely. The best skill you can hone for yourself is the ability to self-edit. Do not fall in love with anything–if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and you have to teach yourself to have that discipline.