University of Fashion Blog

Category "Fashion Tips"

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE DRESS FORM INDUSTRY 2019 – LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING

Permission granted from Alvanon

Dress forms and body shape – can the standard dress form hourglass figure be improved upon?

Continuing the conversation of consumers demanding size inclusivity and better fitting garments, this blog post focuses on large-scale manufacturing.  The industry is being forced to take a more serious approach to matching design aesthetic to body shape. This blog reviews the dress forms that are available, for large-scale manufacturing, to make body shape inclusive garment design possible. A previous blog post, What’s Happening in The Dress Form Industry 2019 – Part One, focused on small-scale manufacturing.

Note: The companies below are examined from a U.S. perspective.  Any companies wishing to be added to this list should contact the University of Fashion. Information contained in this post reflects the known status as of March 2019.  Cost ranges are noted in U.S. dollars and do not include shipping or taxes. Please double check links for the latest information.

LARGE SCALE MANUFACTURING 

Traditionally, dress forms used for production were available only within a narrow size range and of only one body shape.

Women: Most dress forms for women are modeled on an hourglass figure in which the hips are slightly larger in diameter than the bust. The waist is about 8-13 inches (20 cm – 33 cm) smaller than bust and 9-13 inches (23 cm – 33 cm) smaller than hips, depending on the size and manufacturer. Dress form companies don’t always separate missy and full sizes for women – sizes range from U.S. 0 to 24, as listed on one size chart.

Men:  The male dress forms usually end at US size 46 with the waist being smaller than the hips.  Since many American men no longer have this body shape, additional padding may be required for a better fit around the stomach.  If men’s clothing is based upon standard dress forms, is the fit of men’s shirts truly correct?

Children:  The child and toddler dress forms tend to be full body forms with certain measurements for each size. Since the obesity rate of the children is rising globally, the question becomes, do the currently available children forms still match the same shape and size that are needed for today children’s wear?

A little review: If you need a background on dress forms, The University of Fashion has a video that categorizes various types of Dress Forms.

Link:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/introduction-to-dress-forms

 

TRADITIONAL MANUFACTURING DRESS FORMS

Permission granted from The Shop Company

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

There are many companies that make direct pinnable and partially pinnable dress forms in the US.  The shape differences are intended to define features (buttocks or busts) or maternity shapes for women. Most companies who make the directly pinnable also sell partially pinnable forms and display forms.  The companies who manufacture traditional dress forms include Dress Forms USA, Superior Model Form Company, Dress Rite Forms Company, PGM Dress Forms, Ronis Brothers, Roxy Display, Only Mannequins, The Shop Company, Subastral Inc., and Classy Dress Forms.  See Table 1, Pinnable Dress Forms at the end of the blog for more details on pinnable dress forms.

Direct Pinnable: The foam thickness is deep enough to handle pins going straight into the form.

Partially Pinnable: The padding thickness is deep enough to handle pins going in at an angle into the form.

 

Should standard forms represent many different body shapes or only hourglass?

Dress Forms from Demographics

With consumer demands, companies are now expanding beyond the traditional sized dress forms.  Even brands not focused on size specific body shape (e.g., plus size) will utilize a range of mannequins and dress forms that have variations in waist-to-hip or waist-to-bust ratios.

 

Alvanon

Permission granted from Alvanon

Alvanon performed extensive anthropometric research to better address garment fit for the branded target customer market.   Custom forms (AlvaForm) are focused on sales regions and demographics of interest.  Alvanon forms are industrial grade and equipped with full functionality for fit evaluation.  The shape of the forms is accurately shaped and proportioned from physical characteristics derived from relevant consumer data.  There is an extensive selection of size categories, for different regions and industries based on population characteristics. The cost range for the Alvanon forms is $1625 to $3450.

Alvanon not only has the data and physical forms available, but also provides Virtual AlvaForm avatars that can be shared between garment designers, technologists and across the supply chain for initial prototyping or sampling.

 

If brands sell garments solely by region, will it be harder to buy clothing on vacation unless you are in the same size range as the locals?  Note to self: Do not forget any clothing before you travel.

 

LARGE MANUFACTURING CUSTOM DRESS FORMS

Some of the companies that make traditional manufacturing dress forms also make custom dress forms that are modified by the customer measurements.  Requirements for the customer information are obtained by measurements or casting.

 

Superior Model Form Company

Professional Missy Fullbody Form, With Arms and Chrome Base. Permission granted from Superior Model Form Company

The Superior Model Form Company has custom and standard dress forms. Customer measurements can be used to create a unique dress form or to fit certain demographics.   The custom forms cost about twice as much as standard forms.

The custom forms are available in the following:  Women, full body or half body forms; Men’s full body and jacket forms; and Children and Toddler full body forms.

 

PGM Dress Forms

Special Size Custom Made Dress Forms. Permission granted from PGM Dress Forms

PGM custom forms can be made from measurements provided by the customer either at a PGM show room or at an on-site service center.  Alternatively, the customer can provide their own measurements.  PGM provides another service that duplicates the brands’ current dress forms.  The forms can be constructed as half-body, full-body, as a sculpture model or a gypsum model, obtained from mold fittings or from measurement fittings of Women, Men or Children.  The cost range for custom forms range from $1400 to $4000.

 

Classy Dress Forms

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

At Classy Dress Forms, a custom-made series of soft mannequins can be made based from customer’s desired measurements and photos or from an existing mannequin.  A 3D model is created first for customer approval. The cost is $1390 per dress form.  The mannequin has a soft jersey cover without draping lines.

 

ROBOTIC MANNEQUINS

Another level of mannequins and body shape involves robotic mannequins from two different companies:  one in France and another in Hong Kong. The cost for the robotic mannequins is very expensive and these solutions are only practical for larger companies.  Robotic mannequins can be used to test clothing for medical, sport and fashion.

 

Euveka

Permission granted from Euveka

Permission granted from Euveka

Euvka has developed Emineo, a female robotic mannequin and its companion design software, Mineo. Emineo is a scalable robot for sizes 36 to 46 with rapid deformation in less than a minute.  Mineo can be used integrally or by zone to change height or width in less than 30 seconds in accordance with the body and garment size. Busts are modeled with a breast box that varies in size from A to E.  Spare covers are specially designed to aide visualization of the plumb lines.  Robotic mannequins for adult males and children are in development.  Cost range of the robotic mannequin is available by quote. To learn more: https://www.euveka.com/en/blog-2/

 

Winswin

Permission granted from Winswin

A Hong Kong based company Winswin has robotic mannequins (called iDummy) in female and male products lines, in shapes of full body, top body and bottom body forms. The body panels are based on human body research.  The range of proportions are closer to Asian sizes.  For example, for women, busts range from 78 to 100 cm (30.7” – 39.4”), hips range from 89 to 108 cm (35” – 42.5”) and heights range from 154 to 172 cm (5’ to 5’8”). For men, chests range from 88 to 108 cm (34.6” – 42.5”, hips range from 91 to 111 cm (35.8” – 43.7”), and heights range from 172 to 190 cm (5’7 ¾” – 6’2 ¾”).  The cost of the robotic mannequins is available by quote.

Covers would need to be fabricated to make it partially pinnable.

Should adjustable forms be made for commercial level durability without the robotics?

Summary

As described in Part One and Part Two blog posts, the physical forms that allow brands to test designs for size inclusivity are improving. The cost of true custom forms is still very expensive relative to the cost of the “off-the-shelf” forms.  Virtual forms are becoming more popular (and a topic of a future blog). However, the capability to change physical form is important to designers and students to understand body shapes and garment interactions.

Clearly the field is open to innovations – either by using robotics or easily fabricated body shaped dress forms.  

How should dress forms to be more inclusive?

 

Table 1: Partially or Fully Pinnable Dress Forms

Dress Forms USA
https://dressformsusa.com/collections/display-dress-forms
Pinnable half body forms, Realistic buttocks: Women’s 2-24; Male 36-46;
Pinnable Children Full Body Forms, 3 M to 14 T (G &B);
Display forms (that allows for use of pins) as well: Women’s 2-20, Men’s size 40
Form Types: Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: Sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: Display, $120 – $200; Dress Forms, $257- $679

 

Superior Model Form Company
http://superiormodel.com/community/
http://www.superiormodel.com/52-custome-dress-maker-forms
Standard forms for Women’s 4 -16, 22; Men’s 38 to 46, Bridal form with Derriere Women’s 4-14;
Certain Dress forms, ¾ forms, Leg forms not custom
Custom: Women, full body or half body forms; Men’s full body form, jacket form and Children, Toddler full body forms
Form Types: Pinnable, Display, Vintage
Shape Differences: Make custom forms from measurements
Cost Range: $470 to $1200+

 

Dress Rite Forms Company
https://www.dressriteforms.collections/dress-forms
Pinnable Dress Forms – both half body and full body forms;
Half body Women’s 2-24, full body 2-20; Men’s half and full body 36-42, Pinnable Children Full Body Forms, 3 M to 14 T (G &B); half scale Women’s 2-16
Form Types: Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: Make custom forms by casting of person
Cost Range: $300 – $800

 

PGM Dress Forms
https://www.pgmdressform.com/Plus-Size-Women-Dressmaker-Form
Women Dress Form and Full Body, 0-20; Women Lingerie, 4-10; Juniors Dress and Full Body, 5-15; Women Half and Full Body size 16L- 30L; Men’s Half and Full Body, 36-52; Men’s Half and Full Body 36Y – 48Y; Children Full Body, 6M – 24M; Girl Full Body 7G- 14G; Boy Full Body, S, M, L; Full body with legs, double function, allowing to insert pole through center or through leg.
Form Types: Pinnable at angle
Shape Differences: Makes Custom forms from measurements and sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: $300 – $500

 

Ronis Brothers
http://www.ronis.com/category_s/3.htm
Women’s Dress and Full Body, 4-16, or 12- 24; Junior’s dress and full body 7-15; Men’s dress and full body 34-46; Children’s dress and full body 2 to 6X; Boy’s and Girl’s dress and full body 7-16; Infant dress and full body 3M to 24 M; Young men’s 34-46;
Form Types: Partially Pinnable, Display
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $845 – $1350

 

Roxy Display
https://www.roxydisplayinc.com/webpage/dressforms/femalehalf.html
Women’s Half dress forms, size 2-24; Full dress forms, 2-20; Men’s Half and Full dress forms 36-42; Children’s 3M- 12T
Form Types: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Sell own pad kit
Cost Range: $200 – $500

 

Only Mannequins
http://onlymannequins.com/Pages/Male-Female-Dress-Froms.php
See Row 2: Women Magnetic, Pro Size 2- 20; Men Size 36-42
Form Types: Fully Pinnable, Mannequins, Displays
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $135 – $215

 

The Shop Company
https://theshopcompany.com/
https://theshopcompany.com/dress-forms/professionals.html
Women Dress 0-24 and Full Body, 0-20; Men Dress and Full Body 36-46; Children Full Body 3M – 14, Children Half body 54-70
Form Types: Pinnable, Display, Mannequins
Shape Differences: Sell Fabulous Fit System
Cost Range: $200 – $550

 

Subastral Inc
https://www.subastralinc.com/dress-forms.html
Women Dress Form 2- 12, Dress From 2-18; Women Plus size 14- 24, 18L-24L; Women Plus size Full body 14L -20L, 16L-26L; Men and Children display and mannequins
Form Types: Partially Pinnable, Displays, Mannequins
Shape Differences: None on website
Cost Range: $80 – $640

 

Classy Dress Forms
https://classydressforms.com/catalog/
Women Half Body Form 2-16 US, 34-48 EU; Arms and Heads available
Form Types: Fully Pinnable, Polymer construction, cotton cover
Shape Differences: Make Custom forms from measurements or from existing Mannequin
Cost Range: Dress Forms $450

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE DRESS FORM INDUSTRY 2019 – SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING

Permission granted from Alvanon

Dress forms and body shape – can the standard dress form hourglass figure be improved upon?

With consumers demanding size inclusivity and better fitting garments, garment manufacturers are forced to take a more serious approach to matching design aesthetic to body shape. Design and pattern-making must adapt to consumer driven needs and wants. No longer will a single-size dress form suffice for an entire product line.  Dress forms used in the fashion industry are also referred to as dress makers dummies, Judies, mannequins; however, they must not be confused with store display mannequins. This blog reviews the dress forms that are available, for small-scale manufacturing, to make body shape inclusive garment design possible. Large-scale manufacturing will be covered in a subsequent blogpost entitled, “What’s Happening in The Dress Form Industry 2019 – Part Two.”

Note: The companies below are examined from a U.S. perspective.  Any companies wishing to be added to this list should contact the University of Fashion. Information contained in this post reflects the known status as of March 2019.  Cost ranges are noted in U.S. dollars and do not include shipping or taxes. Please double check links for the latest information.

SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING – ADJUSTABLE FORMS

Adjustable Forms

Adjustable forms, which have been around for many years, are targeted to the home sewing and low volume sewing markets.  Note that any active movement (this includes breathing) by the customer affects measurements of the upper body including but not limited to the waist, bust and under bust.  Only one brand (Ronis Brothers) has an adjustable breast location. The measurement range for adjustment varies by form brand, so understanding the dimensional variations is required.

Permission granted from Singer

Permission granted from Ronis Brothers

The adaptability of these forms is limited to girth and height, and the resulting shapes will approximate traditional sizing charts. Even after accounting for nominal size, these forms still need pads to adjust for proper shape.  The adjustable dress maker forms cannot be used for draping, as direct pinning is not possible.  The companies who manufacture adjustable forms include:  Singer, Dritz, PGM Dress Forms, Ronis Brothers, and Rozy Display.  See Table 2, Adjustable Dress Forms at the end of this blog for more details.

 

SMALL SCALE MANUFACTURING – BODY SHAPE PADDING KITS

Available Foam Pads Kits

Foam Pads Kits are being used to further adapt and customize dress forms, full body forms, and adjustable dress forms/mannequins. These pads can be used with any sewing mannequin or dress form or full body form by any brand for both women and men.

If you have an inverted triangle shape, you will need to size the dress form based off your hips and pad the bust. If a diamond body shape is appropriate, you will need to determine which is the smallest between the bust or hips, and then pad the waist.  Most derrieres on dress forms are pretty flat, so if your shape is different, padding will be required, and you may need to start with a smaller size and add padding to attain the appropriate shape.  Depending on the garment (corset versus sports bra), the configuration of the breast can take on different shapes and the padding may vary.

Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System

Permission granted from Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System

The Fabulous Fit Dress Form Fitting System is an off-the-shelf pad system which has 17 pads and two body covers and is sized to fit various dress form sizes (small to extra-large).  The padding allows for adding 1 to 3 inches (2.5 cm to 7.6 cm) in various areas on the dress form. Due to the number of pads, various body types can be accommodated.  These can include straight/broad/round shoulders, wide/small back, high/low rib cage, high/low/large bust line, large stomach, high/low upper hip area, full upper hip, thighs and large hips, and others.  Extra pads for bust, stomach, side back, side hips and thighs are available.  Dress form covers are available in either side-seam cover, princess seam, or with a neck-to-ankle princess cover with a back zipper.  There are instruction videos on the company’s website for adding appropriate padding in proper locations.

Roxy Display Standard Pads

Permission granted from Roxy Display

Roxy Display offers yet another dress form padding system.  It consists of a 12-piece system that can be applied to all standard dress forms.  Pads are listed for shoulder, bust, stomach, hip, and waist. The stretch cover is shown fitting over a size 6 form.  Instructions are shown on the Roxy Display website. The cost is around $30.

 

SMALL SCALE CUSTOM DRESS FORMS

How to Create Your Own Custom Dress Form or Have One Made

To save money, there are many DIY posts on creating your own dress form.  Methods can be summarized as body casting, good-old duct tape, or patterns. The links in the following table are not all inclusive but give examples of different methods.

Table 1: Home Methods

Body Casting

Jezebel

https://jezebel.com/how-to-make-a-custom-dress-form-part-one-5803791
https://jezebel.com/how-to-make-a-custom-dress-form-part-two-5806327?tag=diy

Verrier

http://verrier-processes.blogspot.com/2010/02/body-casting-with-plaster-of-paris.html

 

Duct Tape
Howcast

Threads Magazine

https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2008/10/24/quick-and-easy-duct-tape-dress-form

 

Patterns
Boot Strap Fashion
https://patterns.bootstrapfashion.com/diy-dress-form-sewing-pattern.html
Instructables
https://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-Dress-Form/
Mermaid’s Den
https://mermaidsden.com/blog/2017/05/25/make-a-custom-dress-form

Would you want to try any of these methods?

Dress Forms from Scanning

Custom forms tend to be for an individual and therefore, creating a body form for everyone is not scalable in the retail market. One form per customer would not be practical.  However, if a brand wants to have dress forms of various shapes for design purposes, custom forms developed from fit models or models that match closely with the brands market may be a good place to start.   Requirements for customer information are obtained by measurements only, phone app or body scanning.

Beatrice Forms

Permission granted from Beatrice Forms

Process Flow, Permission granted from Beatrice Forms

Beatrice Forms focuses on creating custom dress forms.  They do not create standard forms at all.   It is a multi-step process.  The customer uses an iPhone app (only iPhone – no android) along with a body scanning kit to record the customer’s shape and measurements. The scanning process is shown on a You Tube video linked from the Beatrice Forms website. From app-produced videos, a 3D model of the body is created to cut the dress form from the foam.   A cover for the dress form is provided. The privacy policy for Beatrice Forms is listed on the company’s website and is listed in the links below. The EU privacy guidelines are listed for any EU citizens living in US or Canada.

If the customer changes their mind and does not want a form, there is a charge for the scanning kit. The cost for the first custom form is around $1200+ range. If a customer needs a bodice update, the cost is about half of the first form.

 

 

Personal Fashion / Ditto Form

Permission granted from Ditto Form

Ditto Form, Michigan LLC working thru Personal Fashion is another company that makes a copy of the customer’s body into a dress form with crotch.  The company has set up a scanning schedule for U.S. customers for calendar year 2019.  Further information is available on the PersonalFashion.us website.  The process involves a 3D scan using a Styku scanner. The resulting digital image is overlaid onto a durable yet flexible foam form.  The finished product comes with a custom cover that is matte grey knit with black markings.

Customer data is not shared with StykuStyku does use the aggerated data, as stated in the customer agreement, but there is no way to identify individuals.  However, Ditto Form does keep the original and working files from orders up to one year.  Scans not immediately placed into dress forms are kept for up to six months.

There is a charge for the scan that is incorporated into the dress form cost.  The total cost for the custom dress form is around $1400+.  An independent full body 3D scan is available as well for $500.

Links:

https://dittoform.com/high-resolution/

https://dittoform.com/products/

https://personalfashion.us/

https://dittoform.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Getting-Ready-for-Your-3D-Body-Scan.pdf

 

Classy Dress Forms

Permission granted from Classy Dress Forms

Classy Dress Forms is another company that uses 3D scanning to obtain customer data and after processing the data, manufactures a 3D model by a 5-axis milling center accurate to 0.5 mm.  A jersey cover is individually sewn for each dress form. The cost is $1690.  However, this does not include the travel expenses of the measuring specialist. They are paid separately.

If scanning and phone apps become more common, would more shapes of dress forms become available for smaller brands or start-ups?

Summary

The physical forms that allow brands to test designs for size inclusivity are improving. However, the cost of true custom forms can be very expensive compared to the cost of the “off-the-shelf” forms.  However, the capability to change physical forms is important for students to understand body shapes such that garment interactions may change with various body shapes, especially when designing fully bespoke garments.  Students can learn to appreciate different body shapes by using pads in conjunction with standard dress forms as an affordable option.

Students should ask themselves, how they would change dress forms to be more inclusive?

Table 2: Adjustable Dress Forms

Singer
https://www.singer.com/notions/dress-forms
3 sizes: Small/ Medium – sizes 4-10; Medium/ Large – sizes 10-18;
Medium/ Large – sizes 16-22; 360 degree Hem Guide
Flannel exterior with foam backing,
12-13 adjustments (neck, bust, waist, hips, height)
Form Type: Partially Pinnable – can pin to a top layer of fabric
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only
Cost Range: $160 – $180

 

Dritz
https://www.dritz.com/quilting-sewing-supplies/dressforms/
https://www.dritz.com/quilting-sewing-supplies/dressforms/my-double-deluxe/20406/
5 women’s sizes: petite, small, medium, large and full size
Child adjustable – 6-12 years of age
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only, padding tutorials on website
Cost Range: $147 – $320

 

PGM Dress Forms
https://www.pgmdressform.com/Adjustable-Fitting-Dress-Forms-PGM-Sewing-Dress-Form-Chicago
Two sizes, 4 and 8, adjustable 3 sizes up,
Form Type: Pinnable at an angle
Shape Differences: Circumference changes only
Cost Range: $199

 

Ronis Brothers
http://www.ronis.com/Ronis_Bros_Adjustable_Dress_Form_NY_p/ad-001.htm
jz@ronis.com
Size varies from size 4 to size 20, allows for both increasing and decreasing the bust and will raise and lower the bust as well with dual levels at the bottom of the form. Size will be indicated when turning the upper knob
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes, Bust can be raised and lowered
Cost Range: Around $600

 

Roxy Display
https://www.roxydisplayinc.com/webpage/bodyforms/female/other/jf-fh-2.html
One size, Adjustment Dial (Bust, Waist, Hips)
Foam-Backed Fabric Exterior allows you to easily pin dresses, skirts, tops and patterns.
Height Adjustment lets you customize the dress form to your height.  2 sizes,
Form Type: Partially Pinnable
Shape Differences: Circumference changes along with separate Roxy foam padding kit
Cost Range: $125 – $135

Introducing the CFDA’s Young Guns

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond - Photo courtesy of WWD.com

Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond – Photo courtesy of WWD.com

As fashion educators and bloggers, we have a responsibility to cover important events in our industry—for example, the recent 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards—even when the CFDA honors Kim Kardashian (GASP!) with the CFDA Influencer Award. While we are still a little stumped on that decision, we are thrilled to introduce you to the honored newcomers to the fashion industry – also known as the five nominees for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Read More

DROP Everything and Read This

From a death drop…

To a mic drop…

To dropping it like it’s hot…

Retailers and designers alike are taking advantage of the hype that surrounds the newest, hottest drop – or a limited edition release of a product for a short run of time. Most often, one-off drops take place in brick and mortar locations and attract droves of brand fans and devotees.

And in a time when “on the ground” retailers are struggling to stay alive due to online competition, finding creative ways to bring shoppers in is critical.

Last September, Barneys put a drop event to the test when the retailer invited more than 80 brands to release limited-edition goods that could only be found at Barneys. But Barneys didn’t just stop at offering limited edition products by brands with impressive social media followings. The social media savvy retailer also tapped additional influencers—think well-known tattoo artists and DJs—to sweeten the draw for the audience Barneys was trying to attract into its doors.

Add a branded café and a t-shirt bar, and BAM! Drop history was made.

According to WWD, of the 12,000 people that showed up to The Drop @Barneys on Madison Avenue in NYC, half were current customers and the other half brand new customers. The event was held over one weekend and sales increased 35% from the previous year on Saturday and 9% on Sunday. Most importantly, 40% of attendees returned at a later date to make a purchase at Barneys.

The Drop @ Barneys was so successful, a second drop is planned for June 2 and 3 at the Beverly Hills store on the West Coast.

But what can emerging designers pick up from what more established designers are dropping?

Several ideas:

1. Use what you know to give the people what they want.

If you’re lacking Barney’s vast resources and connections, not to worry. You can take a lesson from Barneys “mega drop,” and use your knowledge of your own brand and product success to create a “mini drop.” Take a hard look at your best sellers or perhaps your garments/accessories/items that get the most attention on social media.

In other words, many designers recreated their biggest sellers for The Drop @ Barneys, and the crowd flocked to the event. No need to make more work for yourself or reinvent an already popular wheel.

Reincarnate your best seller with a slight twist or alteration in a limited edition run. Set up shop at a local market, arrange for a pop up event at a local boutique or permits permitting, sell on a corner in a shopping area that caters to your audience. Blast your social media following a special date/time and look forward to existing fans of your brand bringing their friends for a peek at your drop!

2. Get creative—think of the long game.

This tip takes a shift in thinking. When your resources are limited, it can be hard to think about putting your time and energy into a “hype” event that may not garner too many sales. However, if you are in it for the long haul as a designer and business person, giving some focus to “getting your name out there” can pay off down the road.

Barneys didn’t just focus on garment sales during their first drop event, they thought beyond sales to provide an environment that would appeal to the demographic they hope to turn into buying customers in the future.

As an emerging designer, consider organizing a panel about fashion, design or owning your own business and invite your local community. Try offering to style customers at a local boutique for one afternoon a week. Seek out networking events in your area—offer to speak, help organize or provide a branded item for attendees’ swag bags.

3. Form like-minded partnerships.

Just like Barneys researched DJs, tattoo artists and other influencers that their desired audience might want to take selfies with, so can you.

Who do you follow and admire on Instagram? How might you partner with them, eventually turning their fans on to your brand? Can you swap a post for a post and somehow bring your like-minded followers together?

Think about your customer’s day, week, month and year. Sure, they might wake up and put on one of your accessories, but considering their 24/7 can give you great insight into who your beneficial partners might be. If your customer spends her weekends at the club, you might consider hosting a party in exchange for a pop up shop during the club’s off hours.

If you design golf shirts, networking with county clubs and offering a unique “meet the designer” buying experience for members during busy brunch times might be an option.

If sustainability is part of your design philosophy, try partnering with a recycling facility or donation organization, giving your customers (and new customers who will be appreciative of your efforts) a literal Drop Off the Old, Shop the New opportunity.

What are other ways you have attracted new customers?

We’d love to hear—and so would our students and followers. Maybe we can get creative and form a like-minded partnership? Drop your comments below.

A Designer Dilemma: Staying True to Your Brand as Trends Shift

- - Fashion Tips

 (Photo Courtesy of Refinery29)

In today’s digital age where news and trends are delivered at lightning speed, it is important for fashion designers to remember to stay true to their brand’s vision. With a plethora of influences out there, like Instagram, Pinterest, fashion vlogs and blogs, it’s hard for them not to succumb to current trends and create a plat du jour collection that may ultimately compromise their brand. Successful designers realize the importance of maintaining brand identity and staying connected with their customers’ expectations as trends shift.

But what should a designer do when their brand signature is not the trend of the moment?

Answer: Designers must adapt their signature style to the changing market, while not confusing their customer.

Here are a few designers who, throughout their successful career, have stayed true to themselves and their brand, while adapting to the ever-changing trend churn:

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada surprises her clients season after season and yet one thing remains consistent; Prada always delivers a unique style that skillfully mixes intellectual purity, art, eccentric elegance and futuristic minimalism. Here are two examples of Prada’s love of art through the years.

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren

Although never one to follow trends, Ralph Lauren has built an empire on updating American classics that reflect elegance and sophistication. Here is a preppy nod to nautical chicness.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne

While his ‘shrunken’ grey suits put him on the map, Thom Browne is known for his avant-garde fashion and conceptual fashion shows. In an interview with BoF, designer Thom Browne told of his brand’s ‘conceptual-meets-commercial’ balancing act. Browne stated, “I just knew I needed to stay in business. I’m stubborn, but I’m not foolish. Fashion is a business. As conceptual as you want to be, you do have to make sure that you approach it as a business. There has to be a commercial element to what you do.” Here are some examples of his quirky take on men’s suits through the years.

Thom Brown Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Brown Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have never abandoned their cool, artsy girl customer. At a Fashion at FIAF festival talk, moderated by Vogue’s Sally Singer, the duo stated, “If you do think you have the vision to set out on your own, confidence is key, especially since your designs or ideas might seem crazy and impractical to some. It’s always good to piss some people off. Our teachers at [Parsons] hated us,” Hernandez laughed. “They were like, you guys have to stop making clothes for art girls. Make some easy separates. We were like, What? No!”  That spirit has stayed with us to this day. You can’t cater to every single person. You have to do what makes you feel happy.” Here are Proenza Schoular’s fashion-forward girls.

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang

No one has captured the M.O.D. (Model-off-Duty) look better than Alexander Wang. The eponymous label embodies a cool, slightly disheveled, utilitarian chic, downtown style that is favored by hipsters, rappers, ‘It girls’ and critics alike. Here are some Alexander Wang cool, downtown girls.

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel

Tweed, pearls and quilted bags have been among the ‘codes of the house’ at Chanel for decades. And yet, season after season, Karl Lagerfeld adds a youthful and fashion-forward twist to these iconic classics. Here are some signature Chanel looks through the years.

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So tell us, which designers do you think have best adapted their ‘signature’ to current fashion trends while still maintaining their brand’s identity?

 

5 Surefire Ways to Get Inspired Today

I’ve always wanted to teach a class on how to find inspiration as a fashion designer. I’ve often thought, “How dreamy to spend my days finding and exploring what inspires me, never mind the satisfaction that would come from fostering inspiration in others.” For me, finding inspiration is the most thrilling part of what we get to do as designers. Read More

Buying Luxury Without Breaking The Bank

Buying Luxury Without Breaking The Bank

 

Bags from: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel (Courtesy of  What Goes Around Comes Around)

Bags from: Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel (Courtesy of What Goes Around Comes Around)

Millennials are the future of luxury – from fashion and accessories to homes and cars – they are the target of every relevant brand. Millennials are free-thinking, they are an individualistic generation that are over 80 million strong.

According to WWD’s Think Tank segment published on April 25, 2016,  “By 2035, Millennials will have the potential to become the largest spending generation in history, according to the white paper, “Five Luxe Trends for 2015” by marketing expert Pam Danziger. Millennials’ influence will be felt by 2020 as the oldest Millennials (let’s call them “Millennial+”) are beginning to enter their peak earning years and will have disposable income for luxury experiences. We can expect this shift to continue as more Millennials become Millennial+.”

 

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid  (Courtesy of Getty)

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid (Courtesy of Getty)

Today, Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne, and Gigi Hadid are on top of the pop culture world; they are influential fashion icons and are featured in all the hottest runway shows and campaigns. These young women have influence over Millennials, and they are drawing them into luxury brands. So which brands are winning them over? How can they afford to splurge on such high end items?

Although luxury brands may not be so transparent when it comes to what is actually selling, thanks to the online resale market, shoppers can easily track what’s hot and what’s not (ref.: Drop Shipping Made Easy – Drop Ship Profitably With Drop Ship Lifestyle). No longer looked at with disdain, the pre-owned market is growing in both dollars and prevalence. According to the mid-year “State of Luxury Resale” report for The Real Real, one of the most popular resale sites, consumers have an insider glimpse into what people have been buying during the first half of the year.

Walk in Closet filled with designer shoes and bags (Courtesy of Pintrest)

Walk in Closet filled with designer shoes and bags (Courtesy of Pintrest)

Surprise, surprise! Gucci is the fourth best-selling brand on The Real Real (just behind Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton), riding its wave of success thanks to Alessandro Michele’s eclectic charm and the return of the logo mania trend. Gucci now has a 10 percent better sell-through rate than Céline; used loafers from the brand manage to sell for 80 percent of the original retail price. Footwear favorite Christian Louboutin ranks as the sixth best-selling brand on The Real Real, which makes sense because the site now says high-end shoes at the $500 range are selling faster than bags at the same price.

 

Gucci Spring 2016 (Courtesy of Purseblog.com)

Gucci Spring 2016 (Courtesy of Purseblog.com)

According to the resale site, the accessory of the year has been the backpack; selling 40 percent better than other handbag categories and have seen the largest growth resale value.

(Read post: Find biodegradable printed burlap bags at wholesale prices on the website of Custom Earth Promos)

Chanel spring 2014  (Courtesy of Spottedfashion.com)

Chanel spring 2014 (Courtesy of Spottedfashion.com)

 

Thanks to street-style darlings and Instagram stars, shoppers are splurging on Vetements, Saint Laurent, Self-Portrait, Rosie Assoulin, J.W. Anderson and Zimmerman, all of which saw triple-digit growth, because these young designers have such a strong and individual point of view. The Real Real’s buzziest new brands are Supreme and Off-White — their search rates surged a whopping 1,500 percent and 730 percent, respectively, over the last six months.

Chiara Ferragni in Vetements  (Courtesy of TheBlondSalad.com)

Chiara Ferragni in Vetements (Courtesy of TheBlondSalad.com)

Today’s millennials really understand value in a unique way from previous generations. According to Alexis Clarbour, director of pioneer luxury accessory consignment website Portero.com, her customers are now seeing beyond the original purchase and considering how the value of the item will hold up if they decide to resell it. They’re true luxury seekers — the average sale price on Portero, for example is $2,200, and its most popular brand is Hermès.

Portero Site Page

Portero Site Page

“For the same reason a consumer chooses to buy a certified pre-owned car, they also desire to purchase a certified pre-owned watch since it’s a smarter, more financially beneficial way of buying luxury,” said Hamilton Powell, founder of luxury vintage and pre-owned watch consignment site Crown & Caliber.

 

Vintage Rolex Watche (Courtesy of The Vintage Watch Company)

Vintage Rolex Watche (Courtesy of The Vintage Watch Company)

Consumers today are educated and thanks to the internet, research is at everyone’s fingertips; which may be one of the major factors for the growing resale business model. Customers can easily inform themselves about luxury products such as handbags, watches, shoes and clothes. Millennials search for a greater value for their dollar in the luxury marketplace.

While every brand from high end luxury to street brands are courting millennials, The Real Real states that in 2017, Gen Z — that is, ages 22 and younger — is the site’s fastest growing demographic, once again proving that when it comes to shopping, cool teens really know how to do it. Why buy luxury retail when you can buy it used for less?

 

Hermes Bags  (Courtesy of PurseBlog.com)

Hermes Bags (Courtesy of PurseBlog.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Resort Round-Up

RESORT 2018

Clockwise from upper left hand corner: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Christian Dior (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

Clockwise from upper left hand corner: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Christian Dior (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Resort has always been a favorite season for retailers; after all, it’s the longest selling season – hitting the floor around November and selling at full price until May. Up until several years ago, designers thought of the season as just store-fillers, a chance to sell the basic pieces all women need in their wardrobe. Fast-forward to today, resort has exploded into an equally important season as spring/summer and fall/winter.

Resort 2018 season kicked off in early May and has wrapped up in early July. While many designers presented their collections intimately in their showrooms to press and buyers, some designers went all out and showed a full runway show in various locations around the world.

Christian Dior Show held in Santa Monica Mountains (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Show held in Santa Monica Mountains (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection for Christian Dior was inspired by Californian nature –she held a grand show against the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains. This collection is far from the Hollywood glamour one expects when you think of California, but rather Chiuri looked to Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwest for inspiration. Other designers who also looked to O’Keeffe as a reference for their collections were Chiui’s former co-designer Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, Tory Burch, Acne Studios, and Jonathan Simkhai.

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

 

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

 

Nicolas Ghesquière collection for Louis Vuitton was a love letter to Japan and its culture; the show was set within the stunning Miho Museum in Kyoto. Ghesquière used with Japanese references as he featured illustrated sequined dresses and guaranteed-hit Kabuki-eyed bags imagined by Kansai Yamamoto. The collection was filled with prints, layers, and textures, as well as a rebellious, badass attitude. Other tough girl collections include Dundas and Miu Miu.

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele has a love of history and the renaissance.  As the creative director for Gucci, Michele brought the brand back to its home in Florence for resort, showing at the Palatine Gallery of Palazzo Pitti. Michele injected his collection with heritage, irreverence, and plenty of kitschy charm. Plenty of designer followed suit with vintage inspired florals such as Rossie Assoulin, Etro, No.21 and Brock Collection

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Karl Lagerfeld usually shows his Chanel Resort collections in exotic locals, but this season, he transformed Paris into Ancient Greece for his grand show. Lagerfeld showed an abundance of Grecian goddess dresses that were breathtaking. Lagerfeld wasn’t the only designer inspired by  Ancient Greece, Roberto Cavalli, Fausto Puglisi and J.Mendel all had beautiful Grecian invigorated frocks.

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

 

Sure the shows were spectacular, but their were also plenty of trends for resort, here are some of the key looks to focus on:

Game Changer

Designers gave sporty clothes a glamorous spin. The look was especially noteworthy at Valentino, as Pierpaolo Piccioli showed track suits, dresses, and strappy sandals with athletic ankle socks. Other designers who got their game on: Prada, Mui Mui and Stella McCartney.

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Get Fruity

Citrus colors take center stage this season from zingy lime to tangy orange. Designers from both side of the Atlantic embraced the trend from Edun to MSGM.

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 Jean Therapy

Denim has long been a favorite among designers. But this season, toss away your skinnies; the new trend is wide leg denim.

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

Seeing Stripes

Thom Browne, Joseph Altuzarra and plenty of other designers gave the classic stripe a modern update using dynamic colors and unusual placements worthy of a double take.

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

 

 

 

 

 

New year – new studio set-up?

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We know, we know – you’ve probably been bombarded with blog posts about setting your resolutions for 2016. However, we are about to present you with some tips that will make your semester more successful, your home studio more efficient and your life as a designer much easier. It’s time to match your design environment with your design process. Read More

Put a Twist on Designer’s Block

Ever experience designer’s block? The struggle is real. Perhaps you have been staring at your dress form for a little bit too long trying to decide how to reinvent the jersey slip dress you love so much. Maybe your creative mind is wandering as the holidays approach. No matter what the reason, we have all been there and the U of F is happy to help you out of your design slump. Read More