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 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

Angie Posted by: Angie | Comment (0)
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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!

dyeandprints Posted by: dyeandprints | Comment (0)
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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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Jul 03

Why our catwalk fashion not affordable?

MODISEM Posted by: MODISEM | Comment (3)
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The Catwalk fashion industry in South Africa is growing each and every fashion week.The runway fashion is the most expensive?How can our designers make thier garments affordable?

Jul 02

Trademarks: Protecting Your Label

AmandaLeighOC Posted by: AmandaLeighOC | Comment (8)
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Trademarks: Protecting Your Label

In a recent blog I expressed my excitement about partnering up with another designer and I'm delighted to say that the venture is moving full steam ahead. Yay! Happy days. One of the things I'm most pleased about is that the name of the fashion label has (finally) been settled upon. My new partner is to thank for this of course and I - happily - didn’t have to rely on that flash of brilliance.

Do I Really Need To Register?

With names come trademarks. Your label will be the most important piece of intellectual property you own and the sensible thing to do is to get it registered. The obvious reason to do so is to prevent someone else from using it. But, just as importantly (if not more), you need to find out if someone else is already using something similar. If they are, you may receive a 'cease and desist' letter from a lawyer...when you're 18 months down the line and then have to start all over again.  Think labels in garments, business cards, websites, hang tags. All of that would have to be redone if your trademark infringes someone else’s. The Johannesburg band Dear Reader had to change their name from Harris Tweed - after receiving a lawyer's letter from Scotland  (Harris Tweed now cut from a different cloth).

The difficulty with being ‘sensible’ is that ‘sensible’ costs money. Lawyers cost money. And lawyers (I’m sorry if I offend) also give advice to try to get you to spend money.  If your business model is about selling services for money, you will try to sell more services. Nothing wrong with that per se, but if you’re strapped for cash you’re looking for an affordable option to mitigate major risks, not an expensive option to mitigate all risks.

Risk and Materiality

As a risk manager a term we often referred to was materiality. For example if there is a bond trade that can cost the bank R500 000, we’re less concerned about it say when compared to a trade of R50 million; not all trades are created equal. We worry about the big stuff because it is impossible to worry about everything – or we should anyway.  Another term we considered in risk is probability. While many things can go wrong, not all things are equally likely to go wrong. Some things are more likely to go wrong than others.  And not everything is likely to go wrong at the same time.

Going back to trademarks, I found it hard to have discussions with lawyers about that appropriate level of materiality as well as the probability of risk events occurring.  The question that I want answered is “What is that minimum that I need to do, to reasonably protect me, from the most likely risks, considering my budget restraints?”

The Registration Process

There are two main steps in registering a trademark. First you do an availability search to check whether that name, or anything that looks or sounds like it, is being used. Trademarks are registered in classes so you could in theory have the same trademark registered in two different classes by two different people.

The second step is the actual application for registration of the trademark. This can take anywhere from 12 months to 24 months – perhaps even longer. That means you’ll only know in a year or two’s time whether the mark or brand name belongs to you.  Along the way, the registrar and/or 3rd parties may raise objections. So, even if you do a search, you’ll still run the risk that your application may be turned down. You can see now why a preliminary search makes sense: If you’ve looked into what is available and what exists you will reduce the probability of objections and/or rejection.















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Jul 01

Emerging fashion designers can beat the recession

Renato Palmi Posted by: Renato Palmi | Comment (3)
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Although the financial recession is compelling consumers to curtail their spending, there are opportunities for emerging South African fashion designers to establish brand recognition in this tough economic climate.
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