iFashion Member Blogs

The bloggers are members of the iFashion community who write about their views and experiences. The views and opinions expressed in this section are strictly those of the authors and do not reflect those of iFashion or their affiliates. Any blog posts that are slanderous, advertise a company/business or are unfitting for the blog format (e.g. they are questions that should be posted on the forum) will be deleted.
Jul 26

Stylist Tip...The Beauty of Simplicity.

Chic! Posted by: Chic! | Comment (3)
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The thing about style is that its effortless and simple. I think this photo from Vogue China April 20o9 shows just that. Whenever we try hard we miss the beauty of whats already there...

Jul 23

Models vs Celebrities

Casey.B Posted by: Casey.B | Comment (4)
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Personally I'm so tired of seeing the same celebs ( TV personalities, soccer players and the likes) for cosmetics ads and on fashion magazine covers, etc. I don't want to mentions names. This new trend is so boring and not appealing anymore. I believe models know what they are doing and look fierce while doing what they good at that is why the called models. Seeing a celebrity take away the mystery and the elegance of the product. I'm not sure who is being promoted the product or the celebs.

Some International Super models who are of the same Opinion 

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Jul 22

Production: Workshop Feedback (Producing a Sellable Range)

AmandaLeighOC Posted by: AmandaLeighOC | Comment (2)
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Production: Workshop Feedback (Producing a Sellable Range)

Recently, the focus of my blog posts has been on the Producing a Sellable Range workshop series hosted by CTFC and the Technology Station at CPUT. Module 4 was about production - something every designer needs to tackle if they wish to see their ideas turn into an actual tangible garment. I remember a time when I did not know the difference between an overlocker and a sewing machine. Thankfully, I've made some progress but this module really took my understanding of the technologies available for the garment industry to another level.

While it is true that 'hand-made' garments can be of a good quality - think haute couture where most of the construction is  sewn without machinery - when it comes to ready-to-wear, consistency, speed, and accuracy are better achieved using industrial machinery and industrial manufacturing techniques. This was the basis of this module. To give you an idea of the content we covered topics like stitch types and applications, seam types, machine types, needles, thread and attachments. Asking (and answering) questions like: how do you determine the correct seam types (we were given the international standards for 50 differnt seam types) to use for a given fabric/garment performance/finish requirement/etc?

We also learnt a bit about attachments - like bias binding and hem feet - that fit on industrial machines and make complicated or time consuming tasks a breeze (we even had a little practical session with some of the machines so I can vouch for this). The specialist machines we were exposed to include the industrial bar-tack machines and button hole machines; attaching a button is simply a matter of aligning the button and the needle and watching the machine do the rest - in a couple of seconds! Literally!

Based on discussions after the workshop, this module was really valuable for the designers. I think its because it's a topic which one can see immediate benefits if techniques etc. are implemented, compared to visualising the benefits of implementing a total quality management system; for a start-up at any rate - the latter is actually just as critical but you need more time to get your head around it.

As mentioned before, the technology station makes these specialist machines available to start-up designers - so make an appointment and take a visit if you're in the Cape Town area. You won't be disappointed!


Other Posts:

Quality: Workshop Feedback (Producing a Sellable Range)

Garment Costing: Workshop Feedback

Workshop Feedback: Producing a Sellable Range

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Jul 21

A great opportunity for Fashion Designers!

meganwall Posted by: meganwall | Comment (3)
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We have started our own little clothing business ( yes we are very proud :)

We are looking for talented designers who are interested in letting us sell their clothes. We are great marketers and have a very large database in which we sell the clothes to. This is done in various strategic ways that enable us to succeed. This is an opportunity for you to not only sell your clothes but establish your name within the market. We can sell on Consignment otherwise we are willing to work out a deal that suits you.

 

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Jul 20

Quality: Workshop Feedback (Producing a Sellable Range)

AmandaLeighOC Posted by: AmandaLeighOC | Comment (0)
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Quality: Workshop Feedback (Producing a Sellable Range)

Instalment three of the series of workshops being organised by CTFC and the Technology Station at CPUT dealt with the issue of quality as it pertains to the manufacturing of garments. Our lecturer (Ntombie Nonxuba) is a garment technologist who works for the technology station and she spends a great deal of time working with companies and CMTs to help them improve the quality of their production through the implementation of quality management systems.

So how does one produce a quality garment?

The workshop first tackled the theoretical underpinnings of quality management. We started at the very beginning - putting together a definition of quality. I think she summed it up best when she said 'it starts with the customer, and ends with the customer'. Ultimately, it is the customer that will set the quality standard for your business.

As always, I really enjoyed the anecdotes and references to actual industry practice. Achieving a good quality garment is not necessarily related to the size of your business or how much experience you have. As a small business, we can actually achieve really high levels of quality; the key is to have a system that ensures this.

We received a very detail pack of notes on the theory behind quality management, including some excerpts form international spec sheets which were really interesting. One German company produced a 139 spec pack for one garment. ONE garment! From how the garment needed to be laid out, what the grading parameters were, each and every stitch type diagrammed and scanned in for appearance, machines and their sewing parameters - all of this is sent to a CMT (and we only got to see 9 of the 139 pages!!!).

Notes on how to measure garments post production for quality checks were also included to assist with the practical application of quality control.

As I noted in my last blog, these are really sophisticated subjects but these workshops really do provide great insight into them. As you business grows, so your systems will develop - the key is to have a quality as a primary objective. That said, I would suggest that you want to start with a high quality garment and maintain your quality level – your reputation will be built from the outset and changing initial perceptions may be more difficult that anticipated!

The technology station does provide assistance to designers who are looking to improve their quality outside the parameters of this workshop series. They truly are a great resource!

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Jul 14

Garment Costing: Workshop Feedback

AmandaLeighOC Posted by: AmandaLeighOC | Comment (0)
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Workshop Feedback: Producing a Sellable Range (II)

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the current series of workshops I'm attending organised by CTFC and the Technology Station at CPUT. Module 2 tackled basic cost accounting and garment costing.

Module 2: Garment Costing

Many of the designers attending had questions about how to cost their garments accurately - particularly in a custom design environment when you need to quote a price before you've made-up the design. Being able to accurately estimate how much it's going to cost in labour and fabric is only part of the problem though - other costs like studio rent, electricity and telephone costs must be incorporated into your price if you wish to recover all your expenses (intuitively, if you don't recover all your expenses you're not making a profit).

Basic Cost Accounting

The area of accounting that we were introduced to was cost accounting, and cost accounting falls under the discipline of management accounting. To give you an idea of the breadth of this subject, I did a 3rd-year level semester course at university on managerial and cost accounting (I vaguely remember the textbook but that's about it); a 6-hr workshop can expose you to concepts and basics but cost accounting can get quite sophisticated.

Is It Important?

I've got a couple of reasons why I think you need to establish an accurate cost for your garments:

It's important to establish product viability. Look at the price of garments that are comparable in quality, style and target marktet, as they will be an important reference in your own pricing. Then, look at how much it's going to cost to make this garment. If there is not enough margin (or none at all) one really shouldn't even go ahead with production (unless it’s a pricing strategy... which goes beyond the scope of this post...).

If one uses outsourcing, it will also be helpful to know if the cost quoted for work is fair. Overcharging and undercharging are both problematic for business, but the latter may also end up costing more in terms of time and effort (think rejects, repairs, returns from customers).

Costing and Pricing

Once one has a handle on garment costing, one can proceed to more sophisticated pricing strategies. For example, in Christian Dior's autobiography he wrote about how he had to increase the price of evening dresses to recover the costs incurred on the tailored suits because his clients were more inclined to pay for beading and sparkling - even if the suits cost more to make.

In any business in the long-run income must exceed expenses; this can only be accomplished if you all expenses are allocated to the products which will be sold (to generate income).

An Overview

The module introduces  some of the terminology used in cost accounting. There were lots of practical examples including doing mock pre-cost and cost exercises and cost classifications. If you've done a business plan, you'll probably be quite comfortable with garment costing but this module may give you some idea about how garment costing is approached by industry - a framework if you like. This is definitely an area that will develop and become more sophisticated as your business develops. As with all things, it's about finding that balance of relevance and accuracy that makes sense for your business.  

If you can't wait until the next set of workshops, the technology station does have a 2-day course that it runs which you can enquire about .  It also provides comprehensive costing services to businesses including small designer entreperneurs. 

Other Posts:

Workshop Feedback: Producing a Sellable Range

Quality: Workshop Feedback (Producing a Sellable Range)































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Jul 14

Stylist Inspiration!

Chic! Posted by: Chic! | Comment (2)
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The greatest thing about Fashion styling is really bringing your vision or concept alive.Whenever I come across strong images like these I immediately wonder who was the stylist on the shoot, the photographer and the make up artist as they all work hand in hand. Such talent and art... so imspiring!

Jul 14

Black Coffee Berlin Fashion Week Video

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After winning the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Award for Fashion Design 2009, Black Coffee showed their Summer 2010 collection at Berlin Fashion Week on 1 July 2009.
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Jul 13

Catwalk Pictures!

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Catwalk Pictures!

It has taken me some time, and I have finally managed to get my hands on some archival pictures of my catwalk work. Visit my home page to see pictures of garments that I dyed for Stoned Cherrie, Black Coffee, JJ Schoeman, Marion & Lindie and Sun Goddess in 2005.

Remember, I teach what I know!

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Jul 08

Stylist Tip of the day...Chic hand gloves!

Chic! Posted by: Chic! | Comment (0)
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I love hand gloves, especially winter gloves!

I'm still trying to get myself into wearing summer gloves, I must admit I'm not used to the idea  as yet. I think for the simple reason that I want my hands to be free to touch and hold just about anything. In winter we all know how cold it can get and I'm not keen to even handshake. Once my hands are warm I want to keep them that way.

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