Friday, 18 February 2011

Fashion Drawing for Manufacture

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel

Matthew Williamson for Pucci

John Galliano

Issac Mizrahi


L to R: Christian Lacroix and Giambattista Vialli

Communication with suppliers and manufacturers on the other side of the world relies on written, spoken and visual methods. Relationships between the design, buying and production staff develop over time and with experience of who does what and when. Clear understandings of what is expected from both sides are vital to getting the right product to the right place at the right time. Both spoken and written communication backed up by legal contracts give clarity to the production process.

Visual communication relies on the skill of the fashion designer to give detailed instruction through fashion drawing and technical specifications. Clear line in fashion drawing to indicate silhouette, garment shape and style features is key for retail buyers to understand how the garments will look and for factories and especially pattern cutters to begin the manufacturing process.
Fashion drawing for manufacture is tighter and more detailed than fashion illustration for promotional purposes. The first speaks to the maker in a language that should result in a successful toile and first prototype. The second speaks to the target market and is used to evoke a mood, atmosphere or brand image. It helps to set the aspirational tone of a collection. Both types of drawing are important but serve different purposes.

Manufacturers are not impressed by designers who only draw in an 'airy fairy way' without respect for the pressures or requirements of the manufacturing process. If they can't see the correct angle of a pocket or the detail of a collar line then it is likely to cost them time and money in prototype re-makes and create manufacturing bottle necks causing delays to their daily production. This will not only make a designer unpopular but unemployable and if self employed, unable to get their orders made. When dealing with manufacturers across the globe or in the UK where language barriers exist too, then clarity of instruction is key to survival past the first season for a young fashion company.

The fashion illustration for promotion angle is all about creating a mood and creative ambience. Here, you can be as loose and free as you like, experiment with different drawing techniques and medium and have fun.

There is room for both in your portfolio!

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