Archive for the 'grad collection' Category

Phase One: Identifying Niche Market

June 2, 2009

Kwantlen’s fashion design program requires as the focus of the 4th year, the research, design, and production of a line based on a niche market. The 2009 fashion show featured markets such as commuting businessmen, apparel for dog walkers, and business wear for short, Asian men. Traditionally, I have seen niche markets more commonly identified through demographics, statistics that can easily be quantified. However, I have always been more fascinated with psychographics as a starting point that affects and is affected by the likely demographics of a population.

In preparing for September, where we will start researching and presenting our chosen niche markets, I have already started to identify and narrow down what niche market I want to work with, which would fulfill the following criteria:

A) Align with my future career goals

B) Accurately represent what sector of the industry I want to work within

C) Challenge my current skillset

D) Have runway impact

E) Have real world relevancy

I have thrown out several ideas over the past few months, but there is a particular market that is close to me, and that seems to have taken a life of its own since I started noticing it. This new market can best be defined as the creative class. If you know about social trends, then you probably know about the creative class. A Whole New Mind is a book that urges people to move forward into the conceptual age. This movement is one that fascinates and resonates with me.

Not only that, but there is an extremely viable niche market here in terms of apparel needs that are not being met. Why? Traditionally, it is only people within extremely creative industries that can wear fashion-forward clothing – that typically means people who work within the fashion industry. Over and over again, I am noticing the differences between how the average person dresses and how fashion people dress. And then I thought, what is the point of making great clothes if only the people who work within your same industry can wear these clothes (otherwise, they must be a socialite). The rise of the creative class has given way to a great new sector of the market – people who have creative tendencies and appreciate well-made unique pieces, but who have the desire for functionality and practicality (something most fashion people overlook).

This group of people (designers, artists, writers, scientists, technologists, engineers) are fascinated with possibility and novelty, but need clothes that work for their everyday lives. They are mindful of details that add extra value to garment because their lives are all about appreciating innovation. Creative people make connections before the rest of us can – they can easily see how art melds into science, how design can be holistic. This market is underserved, where the rest of the consumer world is primarily overserved. We have fashion for fashionistas, and career clothes for people who work in corporate environments, yet we do not have anything that blends both and does it seamlessly. I can think of some RTW collections that would appeal to this market, however, I am looking to create a company that serves this market completely, rather than as an afterthought or by accident.

I always think of scientists who dress poorly or blandly (as that is pretty much the stereotype, and one that rings mostly true, I think), and the reason why probably has something to do with the fact that they are too busy to think about how to dress, they think fashion is superficial and dare not waste time thinking about it, and/or their creative minds look beyond simply aesthetics and therefore, they find it hard to fall in love with clothes, which, for the most part, are uninspiring. But, they have the capacity to appreciate and understand innovation, and the way to make it accessible is by making it functional and wearable, and thinking holistically about design.

This is a very rough description of the market I am identifying as my chosen niche market. Lots more research will be done over the next few months so that I know this market inside out. But I have my start, and here it is!


Piece of My Mind / “Stuff”

May 13, 2009


I am in the midst of cleaning out not only my closet and giving it a complete rehaul, but my room as well. Humans have the unique ability to acquire LOTS. OF. JUNK. I am definitely no exception, but am making it a priority to live as simply and streamlined as possible.

This post from Think Simple Now was really enlightening. My parents are notorious pack-rats, and growing up in the environment that I did, I came to the realization early on that I didn’t want a lot of stuff. I saw the impact having lots of stuff had on them in physical, emotional and spiritual ways, and I knew that it was not the way I wanted to live.

Sometimes it is a bit of a struggle. I am in a highly materialistic industry, let alone society. Fashion is built on seasons, and on acquiring more stuff. I want to appear stylish and creative, professional yet artistic. It is a part of playing the role. It’s not as if I don’t have enough clothes, though. I just don’t have the right clothes. I like fashion. I appreciate art and beauty. And yet, having so much junk, I’ve realized, makes me appreciate the things I love less. I really don’t need that much stuff. In fact, I won’t even miss any of it.

Of course, some things I just can’t get rid of for their sentimental value. I keep all my childhood projects and work in a box, but other than that, I have been trying to be as ruthless as I can about my stuff. I promised myself that I would not start buying anything else until I have finished getting rid of what I don’t want now. I have my eye on some pieces that I actually need. This was a good opportunity to finally be able to see with clarity what I actually have and figure out what I actually need to be living my desired life.

In the article, Tina speaks about moving residences as the opportunity to take stock of what she had and let go of some of it. Perhaps this is what prompted me to try to clean out what I have acquired over the past almost-21 years of living in this house, as I am anticipating the way I want to live (independently, simply, and passionately) and preparing my life for that moment. I have had to let go of 4 garbage bags of clothing, which, I have to say, was mostly not mine in the first place.

I feel like these changes in my life are at the same time a reflection of me growing up as well as a stepping stone for me to grow up. This letting go of material things is paving the way for me to acquire more intellectual and creative awareness, something I believe makes sense for the world right now. I think that people are going to be streamlining their lives, as we move into an increasingly technology-driven world, where information and communication will take the place material goods have in filling that void in our lives.

This change will no doubt be reflected in my design philosophy as I go into fourth year in designing my grad collection. I know that I will focus on creating clothes that are beautiful, functional, and well designed so that they retain their worth season after season, year after year. I want my clothes to be treasured as well as worn. I want them to be high quality. As the economic downturn has taught us, bad times make people think more carefully about what they buy. I want people to think about what I design, and still buy it. I want them to love it the more they wear it. I want my pieces to have true value, to not be thought of as frivolous, but as a necessary and worthy indulgence that aids in their lives, not detract from their dreams, values, and lifestyles.