Archive for February, 2009

Trend Forecasting

February 25, 2009

We had Promostyl come in for a forecasting seminar for Summer 2010. I would love to be a fashion forecaster – that is one of my far-reaching dream jobs. Renee Labbe was our speaker, and I decided to google her to see if I could dig up any information about her career path. No such luck. And then I found this article, an interview conducted by Toronto Fashion Incubator’s Carolyn.

There are less than 500 people in the world working in the trend forecasting industry. It would be so awesome to be one of them.

However, its not something that seems realistic for me to pursue. For me, I guess I’ll stick to using my amateur raw forecasting abilities to design my own stuff for now, and see where that takes me.

There is a lot of talk about the future, both generally and within the fashion industry. Today’s presentation reaffirmed this with their directions. Final Fashion made a great post the other day about what to do in the face of a recession, and one thing is that people need to be more creative, to take a step back, and re-evaluate. It’s a perfect time to develop skills and learn more. One of my instructors at school was speaking today about the need to brush up on our technological skills – mine are pretty good, I think, but months do go by when I don’t work on these skills at all. This summer is the perfect time to brush up and learn.

And that includes learning more about trend forecasting and the world while I’m at it.

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GTD: An Intro for Fashion People

February 22, 2009

My trusty Moleskine has been a great partner in organization for me, however, with my avid interest in technology and GTD principles, I have been playing around with some tools to help me in both my personal and professional life.

Team projects and collaboration

In class, we are doing a group project in product development. I suggested that we use Backpack to share our research and information in a collaborative manner (and this way, we have everything in a handy reference place.) In the context of fashion design, I see this tool cutting down meeting times and simplifying the research and design process. We’ve posted our SKU plans, company information, charts, inspiration images, etc. I see us posting our flat illustrations on there when we get to that stage of the product development process. (Note: At my internship, we tried implementing this as well, but because the company is such an intimate environment where everyone is always in the same vicinity, there wasn’t really a need for it).

Note taking and research

There is so much information on the www for designers to make use of. Most of the time we glaze through it, see things we like, and most often, it gets lost after that moment of “aha!”. I found myself experiencing this all the time, so decided to search for solutions. The catalyst for this was realizing that I was constantly coming across possible research material for my grad collection.

Prior to this, I have been using Notepad (y’know, the one that comes with Windows) to write my to-do lists and notes (it was a weekly mish-mash of to-dos, notes, and dear-diary type thoughts), but that hasn’t really been effective. Google Notebook is my new best friend. Here’s a little how-to to get started.

My categories make sense for my life:

– Inbox (where everything goes before I have the time to sort it)

– Fashion –> Marketing/Promotion, Design

– Technology

– Notes to Self

– Grad Collection

– Personal Finance

– Future Projects

– Etc.

I use it for professional and personal purposes. It is fully integrated into my internet browser, and the simplicity and ease of use is really great. I mastered this in 10 minutes and now use it for everything.

Why?

As a freelancer, I could see this working as well. Basically anything that you would require taking notes for could utilize this very handy application. As designers, we really have to be on top of trends, especially ones that cut down work and makes life easier. One thing I have noticed time and time again is how unorganized most designers are – the basic principle of GTD is through simple organization, work efficiency and productivity go up. Plus, designers are creative people. Use this practical tool and make it work for you. People in the technology industry are ahead of the curb in this aspect, but fashion people can benefit immensely.

Once you find the tools that work for you, take a little time to set it up for what you need it for, and after a little getting used to, I really believe that it makes a profound difference on productivity, which makes a profound difference on creativity and the amount of energy we can expend on this.

The most creative and effective people are not often the hardest working – they are the ones who can identify problems and provide solutions.

This is something I believe is crucial to people who work by themselves, for themselves, own their own businesses, set their own timelines, etc. Again, a lot of time is wasted by not being productive. You could be designing, drawing pretty pictures, daydreaming even!

What  else?

I also use del.icio.us to bookmark articles of interest to me. Its easy, and my bookmarks show up on this blog for my readers. I guess if ever I was really bored, I could go through my delicious account and reread all these.

Gone are the days of using your internet browser’s bookmarks or favorites section (that was useful probably back in 1998 when the internet was not nearly as vast and expansive as it is now).

I also have live RSS feeds of my favorite blogs up in my toolbar. They serve as my headline section basically, customizable to the topics that are of interest to me, and change up every few months. Right now, Zen Habits, Fashion Incubator, Geekologie, The Business of Fashion, Freelance Switch are up there. This forces me to keep up and allows me to learn something new about the fields I am interested in without having to actively spend time searching for it everyday.

Summary

To sum up, get started on GTD. It’ll make a difference in your life, and the sooner you integrate it into your everyday life, the better. Admittedly, it takes a while to weed out the useless tools from the ones that’ll work, but Google usually is a good guarantee. I’m constantly searching and exploring this, and trying to make it applicable to my life as an aspiring fashion professional.

Spring 2009 Vancouver round-up

February 21, 2009

Now that the Spring 2009 collections are coming out, I’ve picked a few of my favorites from the Vancouver fashion scene.

Evan and Dean: “Future Folk [represents the] study of marrying the ancient handcrafts – specifically appliqué and toll painting – with a modern minimalist landscape. So often the future is presented in a way that is cold and untouched by humans [but] we wanted to give the feeling of a future that embraces the warmth

Dace

of human contact.” – from thestylespy.com. I really connect with this concept, one that seems to be catching on, that the future need not translate into shiny space-age suits.

Dace: They seem to have a really good grasp on product development. The clothes are simple, nice, but together the collection is really well put together. The spring09 offering is crisp and fresh, as Dace is now known for.

Lily and Jae: Their collection has definitely expanded, as they are experiencing growth as a company. They seem to have a better handle on their target market and aesthetic after a few seasons. The Spring 09 collection is super cute.

The clothes are definitely very crisp looking, more lifestyle/casualwear-driven. Obakki has a nice Spring collection, a little more high fashion than these other independent labels. Overall though, most of the clothes are wearable and cute, but not necessarily on my “must have” list.

To be continued..

Valentine’s 2009 + thoughts

February 17, 2009

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Yes, this holiday is incredibly commercialized, but the sentiment of the holiday is always nice to appreciate. BF and I had dinner at Blue Canoe in Steveston. It was our first Valentine’s Day, and a lovely one. 🙂

The next day at work a girl came in so excited because her boyfriend had proposed to her the day before. She was so giddy. The waitress who work at the sushi restaurant next door also got married at 20 last Saturday.

I don’t know if this trend is true, but my boss commented that a lot of people seem to be getting married in 2009. Coincidentally, there has been talk of marriage everywhere I go. I’m not sure if its just that I’m getting older added to the fact that I work in a bridal shop that compounds this, or if marriage really is more imminent this year.

If so, my theory was that it has something to do with the economy. People re-evaluate, fantasize, and take a good hard look at where they are in life and who they are with. Christmas and Valentine’s are break-up periods because of this.

I always like to take a step back and do this regularly, regardless of my “economic” situation. Big-picture thinker, works in fashion as well. I notice and am wowed by the changes going on in our world everyday. If you’re into new-agey stuff, then consider it the beginning of the Age of Aquarius.

Blogging has become such a phenomena. Weddingbee was started by a woman who started blogging about her own wedding planning adventures. (On a side note, I was intrigued by a recent post that gave me a niche market idea in fashion, which I will disclose later.) Media really is a free-for-all now. Wish Magazine out of Toronto just issued their last issue. I’d be curious to see the subscription rates of consumer magazines, because I can honestly see how the magazine industry could feel extremely threatened right now. One of the “hottest” jobs right now is social media marketer. Heck, everywhere people are “creating” their own jobs, most often using the internet as a platform to do so.

I know this hardly seems fashion-related, but my fascination with fashion lies way beneath the surface. I like to look for connections to the world, and if I can make something look pretty on top of that, then I’ve done good. I feel like I’m slightly muddling around these connections right now, but we’ll see where they lead to.

Jason Matlo Bridal, Panty by Post

February 3, 2009

Canadian designer Jason Matlo has just launched a 10 dress collection of bridal gowns. It seems that the decision to do this was to give Vancouver high fashion, and the only way to make money off that concept is to do it with something that people are willing to pay more for in the first place, wedding gowns.

Also on my watch list, Panty by Post. They are a business that well, delivers panties by post. Exclusively offered are Blush Lingerie panties based in Montreal.

Hmm…despite the economic recession, new companies are still popping up, and these two represent a sector that is all about luxury. I’ve been reading articles that say despite recession, people still gravitate towards luxury. In fact, because of it, people desire it more, and that’s why these companies are launching at this time.

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What a strange coincidence that I have found myself working in both these industries…anyway, my position at work has definitely changed. I am now half sales consultant, half photo editor/web designer. Finally, I can do something I actually am good at, though working in actual sales was a definite eye-opener.