Spread the word. See you there!
In my goal of helping fashion designers move forward with technology so that our jobs are easier and we can spend more energy and time on creating, I would like to share with you some of my tools for being productive. So much of a designer’s job is processing information, and I think a lot of time is wasted and things forgotten because they are often unproductive in their methods for organizing and finding things.
In trying to minimize the physical space I am taking up, I aim to move as much as possible of my research onto my computer. That makes organizational and productivity tools essential for me. Today, I am focusing on how we organize information for research and design.
Way back when (last year), I used Google Notebook to store information and jot down notes, etc. Then the project folded, and I had to find an alternative. And that I did. The better alternative is Evernote, and so enthused about it I am (I managed to capture all of what was available to education subscribers on trend forecasting site WGSN right before they canceled the service), that I am now a premium user. With all the images we use as visual inspiration and text we use as research, fashion designers are among those I see this program working well for. It would probably work great for collaborative environments as well.
Let me explain with visuals:
And a close-up of my notebooks and notes:
Basically, you get a browser add-on, and can simply “clip” items (text, images, pdfs, screenshots) into your notebooks. It’s so easy to use, frees up space on my hard drive, and is accessible from any computer. I clip market research in the form of PDFs, which all can be read directly from Evernote so that you don’t have a bunch of windows open that take forever to load. I also clip screenshots of projects and designs I am working as throughout the process so that I have a reference point to look back on, and process shots if I needed them.
I have Evernote on both my IMac and my laptop, and can clip from a shared computer as well into the Evernote web interface. (If you’re really that mobile, I believe that it can be used on mobile phones as well). Syncs are automatic. No worries about where you dropped that research and finding your computer’s hard drive messy and completely chaotic – so chaotic that all that research goes to waste because you can’t bother going through it. It’s all here (most of it lands in Inbox until I come to organize it, and often I put a bunch of things in to use as reference later).
I just had to write this post, because as I am currently researching my niche market collection (which is coming along, and I am so excited about!), I am finding that everything is going by so smoothly and productively because of this one simple program. I imagine the design process to go by much smoother as well.
School has officially started – hallelujah! The beginning of the end (of the beginning) is here. So I don’t know what my collection is going to be about or even who my market is, but one thing I’ve already decided is that I want to design my own prints. I’m working on brushing up my skills in this area first before getting into the more advanced stuff. So today, as a 21-year-old fashion student, I am, on a Saturday night, getting well acquainted with Photoshop. Exhibit A: skirt with my own print design, just to get the ball rolling. P.S. I added in a clashing background just for fun.
I’ve never been to a forecasting seminar aside from Promostyl, so it’ll be cool to see what other forecasting companies are coming up with. If you’re from Vancouver and are a design student, check this out:
Hi all! Thanks for visiting my blog! Did’ya notice? I did a bit of cleaning up, re-naming the mess known as my categories. About time. I’m starting to take this thing known as blogging a little more seriously. I had lofty goals when I started. I wanted to change the fashion world with my blog, one post at a time. No, really, haha. That’s everyone’s dream when they start blogging, eh?
I wanted a way to take everything I was learning and observing of the world and the changes it is going through (and wow, are there changes…) and connect it with fashion so that when I start out in the real world, what I do is reflective of what I believe. I was already selfish enough to choose a career path that I fell in love with, so the rest of my life is an opportunity for me to be a little more selfless, in using what I have to do something for the world through fashion beyond creating excess waste. I am attracted to the idea of being a contrarian. I think fashion needs more contrarians; I think that we especially need contrarians with ideas worth spreading, not just contrarians with the cool factor and exuberant personalities. Speaking of ideas worth spreading, I heard that TED is coming to Vancouver this fall. Ted is not my boyfriend’s name. TED, if you don’t already know, is this. Really, truly. If that’s the case, I would love to go. I think they’re opening a call for speakers.
The Vionnet exhibition opens in Paris at Les Arts Decoratifs, exhibiting from June 2009 until January 31, 2010. I would love to go and be up close to one of her creations; Madeleine Vionnet is a fashion genius. What I admire about her work is that it removes itself from the conventions of fashion, and becomes much more about the engineering and actual intricate design of a dress. The end result is beautifully engineered and aesthetically freeing. Although her name is less recognizable today than rival Coco Chanel, I think that has to do more with Vionnet’s focus and dedication to her craft rather than of herself as a commodity. Her talent was indisputable.
I was so excited when I heard that they were reviving the house of Vionnet back in 2007, although being the fashion industry, it was surprisingly, hardly publicized.
This article from Vogue promised something optimistic, but the opportune moment fizzled quickly after barely a year. Too bad, I thought the collection by Sophia Kokosalaki was amazing, a great homage to Vionnet and relevant to today’s high-end market.
Then a quick search in Google and I found Vionnet Resort 2010, a taste of what is to come. And, it’s a great collection – the same, but very different. They are taking the brand in a different direction – a little less pure, a little more edgy. I’m thinking glam-rock goddess. I am interested to see what comes of this, and if they will be able to sustain this new Vionnet during these tough times for fashion.
Here are my picks from Obakki’s Spring 09 collection, on sale now. I am loving the ethereal quality of the pieces, yet they are done in such an urban, wearable way, just the way I like it. Obakki is one of the fashion companies in Vancouver that I admire, for both their aesthetic and business sense.
From the runway to the real world, if you can call it that: here’s Nickelback at the 2009 Junos held in Vancouver, wearing Obakki. Yup, they do menswear as well.
One of my daily reads, The Business of Fashion, came out with a post earlier this month, Vancouver’s new Fashion Cycle. I thought, cool, an article about Vancouver and fashion! Turns out the article had slightly more to do with lifestyle than solely fashion, but put a lot out there for me to think about. As part of my program, we have to design a collection in 4th year based off a niche market. In other words, we can’t just design what we “feel like” designing – we have to prove that there is a viable market and an underserved niche. A few years ago, this may seem more like a hindrance to students who think that all they want to design are pretty dresses for “real women”, and by real women, they are thinking women who look and dress like celebrities and socialites. When I first applied to the program almost 4 years ago, the concept of a niche market was foreign to me, a criteria for a school project, at best.
There is a lot to say and observe when it comes to Vancouver’s fashion scene, one that I think links a lot more to lifestyle than the traditional fashion capitals do. Vancouver seems to be starting to make an appearance on the list of “hot” cities on the international cultural who’s-who and what’s what. We’re young and have so much to build on, with tons of creative energy. What I’ve really noticed is lacking are the resources to really harness that creativity and create a strong industry base that could rival New York or London or even Toronto or Montreal (though organizations like Fashion West, formerly Apparel BC, and Fashion High are bravely trying to change that around). We don’t have a centralized location for apparel businesses. You can’t just walk out the door of a fashion company and pop down the street to look at fabrics or get retail inspiration. Everything is so spread apart in this city. I guess that’s because our infrastructure was built primarily before we even had an apparel industry to speak of. Our main purpose as a city is its convenience as a port location between North America and Asia – we weren’t built for manufacturing, we were built around trade. Of course, out of that comes what we are known for now: our beautiful landscape and natural environment. Though, when it comes down to it, what we have is, in my mind, not that unique. We’ve just marketed it well and as a city, have the right balance between an urban setting and a natural, clean, fresh environment, all due in part because of the fact that we are not a very large city in the grand scope of things. And because of this, we’re just the right size to be able to take on the new creative model. And this all leads to my theory, that we are well poised to become a big player in the fashion world not by competing with the traditional model of a fashion capital, but by paving the way for a new one: one that makes sense for the new knowledge economy focusing on holistic aspects of living, not just aesthetics. Gregor Robertson, mayor of Vancouver, is a big advocate of not only sustainability, but creativity as well:
“A world-class city needs to foster entrepreneurial and artistic creativity, and attract innovators from all sectors around the world. It’s time we ditched the red-tape, ‘no-fun city’ label and embraced a culture of creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation, to help our artistic and small-business sectors thrive in a competitive economy.”
I’m interested in how Vancouver’s fashion industry will play out as this city makes strides forward where many cities have already plateaued. Our fashion industry is not at all big, but yet, we have many internationally recognized companies based out of here. As the article on BOF pointed out, there is huge potential for a niche market in lifestyle apparel for fashionable cyclists in the city. It’s interesting how Vancouver was singled out for this – as I was saying, we are seen as a fresh city with room to grow, and our international presence is about to get bigger with the 2010 Olympics slated to take the city in just a short 6 months.
I am excited to see Vancouverites making a splash on the fashion scene through innovative ways of looking at design, fashion, lifestyle, and marketing. Fashionable cyclist wear is one idea, but there are so many others to be dug up in this city that have to potential to percolate internationally. Plus, the only fashion degree program west of Toronto has as part of its criteria that the 4th year collections be based off a niche market. It’s not just a coincidence; someone was smart, and recognized that doing this was crucial in moving Vancouver fashion forward and creating careers in a city that isn’t known for Veras, Calvins, and Karls. I myself am examining niche markets in deciding my market and vision for my grad collection. Hmm, hmm, food for thought!
I love love love this short but sweet collection by Christopher Kane. I never really took notice of his work before now, but I am loving these prints! From Style.Com: “I wanted something natural, but I’m so fed up with florals,” he explained in his London studio. “And then I came across these images of nuclear test explosions from the fifties to the seventies on the Internet. I like the crazy-bright chemical colors. The way they’re sinister—but beautiful.”
There is something just so fresh and evocative about these prints, and I am relishing the simplicity of the cuts in the garments themselves. Though something like this could easily turn trashy or tacky, I think it looks pretty awesome and beautiful.
Check out the rest of the collection at Style.com.
Sorry for the short hiatus! Summer semester has just ended and I’ve been picking up more shifts at work – I am enjoying the winding down days before my final year in fashion school starts. Today I’ve only got 2 clicks for you, but that’s because they are both so full of eye candy and inspiration and fashion delicious-ness. Both are textile centric blogs that give upcoming designers the spotlight; glad to see blogs like this promoting the work of new innovators in fashion design. Enjoy!
An awesome blog showcasing contemporary runway ready knitwear design. I love seeing the innovation and creativity going on with knits here, and how they translate to high fashion instead of the usual suspect: grandma’s cardigans. The blog did a great series on 2009 graduates. Below: Pandora Bahrami’s graduate collection.
This blog by textile design student Ditte Lerche was actually inspired by KNITkicks, but with less of a focus solely on knitwear, and encompassing a wider range of textile design for fashion. I love the interviews which go into the process and development of designing a textile-based fashion collection, and most of the posts focus on current students and recent graduate work. So refreshing to see among a sea of style-focused fashion blogs – this one focuses on design and innovation, and gives upcoming designers a place to showcase their work! Below: Louise Bravery’s 2009 graduate collection.