Basics Fashion Design 01: Research and Design

I had been doing costume and fashion design for some time now but a recent project which I was asked to work on had me running down to the nearest bookstore to brush up on fashion research and design. Nothing beats a shark in our lives to wake us up and push us to the edge of our comfy lives. This universal truth has never been more alive than that day when I got that scary project. It’s scary because I have never worked on that kind of project before and new materials and new construction demands for some level of expertise and specialization on these things.

I was very fortunate to ransack through the thick and intimidating volumes on fashion in the big city book shop and I came face to face with this seemingly unassuming reference book by Simon Seivewright, “Research and Design”. I was immediately drawn to it and was captivated by its meaty and no-nonsense contents and yet the small volume, all of its 175 pages including the index and resource pages, was not only packed with a systematic and street-smart advice on the what and why of research and where to find research but also how to compile your research, the three-dimensional approaches to research, designing from research and finally communicating your ideas. Voila! Truly small but terrible. It seemed like all the wisdom from Edith Head’s long years as a respected costume designer in Hollywood or the life’s work and words from an iconic fashion style guru was encapsulated in that small but definitive work by Mr. Seivewright. What clinched it all for me was the engaging way that the book was laid out. The format is clear and crisp with marvelous photos of creative works by designers that best embodied the design or research principle being featured. Most fascinating is the quotable quotes that both aimed to inspire and stretch the imagination of the readers.

I find this book most helpful in establishing research as the backbone to the fundamental success of any design-related project with focus on fashion. And it has done this very successfully with not only a systematic approach but also a creative format that would appeal to the young designers who grew up in a multi-media and internet-savvy environment. The powerful visuals and the quotable quotes would both inspire and add to the imagination of the fashion student and expert alike.

Fashion Industry Debates What Size Models Should Be

“You can’t reason with crazy, you can’t argue with stupid.” Whose quote is this? I saw it as a status on a social networking site. (I’d like to offer credit where credit is due.) Sometimes, we all are guilty of being so sure about something that there was no way anyone could change our mind about a certain topic, but when the situation is reversed and other people are the ones who are acting “crazy” and “stupid”…it’s just frustrating.

This point is mentioned because I’m not trying to “be stupid” and debate something that is supposed to be controversial, but when doing research on one of my topics I thought of that quote as I held myself back from commenting on a popular modeling site. I was less than impressed with what, where and how the argument was going amongst some models, photographers, and some other representatives of the fashion industry. Everyone has their own subjective opinion on the topic of beauty, who should be a model, and their role within the fashion industry. Models come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and experience levels, but when you get a bunch of industry professionals together and watch them chat in an open discussion online regarding Plus Size Models…watch out!

Disregarding the term “Plus Size Model” and just mentioning the topic of “Size” is a heated discussion. Some things are currently facts in the modeling industry:

• It’s not just for “pretty girl” types or “Ken-doll” males.
• It’s not just for the tall and skinny.
• You can be a successful model without being famous.
• Models work for clients and are paid to represent that hired image.
• And EVERYTHING ELSE regarding work ethic, personality, and professionalism is very much the same in the industry no matter what TYPE of model you are.

So, people who argue about the standards of what a REAL model IS should watch what they say as being a FACT that can’t be “argued” with. The bottom line is that the CLIENT or people working on behalf of the client are the ones that HIRE THE MODELS. That is a FACT. Whether it is a Fashion Designer, Corporate Commercial Client, Magazine, Photographer, Advertising Agency, etc… they are just some of the people who decide what type of model that they want. It is THEIR standard of how they want their product seen by the consumer. It is their choice.

If a High Fashion Magazine wants a tall, size Zero model for their editorial spread… that’s their choice. If they don’t attract a large group of consumers to buy their magazine because they alienate a large group of people of size then that’s their loss, too, but it’s their choice to make their brand exclusive of those consumers that are worldly, trendy, and have money to spend on their advertisers. Sometimes they forget that people over size 8 can be worldly, trendy, and have money, too.

Some of those magazines dabble with smaller Plus Sized models, so again, it is still their choice regarding size. They do it for their own reasons, but it has nothing to do with equality in modeling. Modeling is not an “Equal Opportunity Employer”. They are considered contract employees that can usually work for many different clients and are strongly hired on their looks and exposed to physical critique often. There are not too many who care that they work under sometimes harsh conditions, long hours, and no guaranteed 15 minute break or lunch hour, etc. Not many other careers would ever tolerate that intense scrutiny without threats of a lawsuit, but models are exposed to it on a common basis. With that said, there still can be a passion from models that enjoy what they do. Many models have a tendency to weed themselves out of the industry especially when they are not prepared about how the business works, don’t find their niche, or don’t make enough money and become frustrated with the industry.

Above and beyond some questionable conditions that the models are exposed to they still do it and do their personal best. If they don’t, they won’t last long complaining to “the boss”. Modeling is a choice for the individual, so if the good doesn’t outweigh the bad most of the time… maybe it’s not the right career. Models may be the center of attention, but they are not the ones that make significant change in the industry without a client giving them that chance to shine. The same choices hold true for whether or not a Fashion Designer is represented during a Fashion Week by Plus Size Models to show their line of Plus garments on the runway. Heck, many designers don’t even have Plus Size designs. They will hire whoever shows their garments in the best way. Some designers see the consumer demand for larger sizes being represented in fashion, but only a few are truly inspired by designing for this group.

Over the past decades, the industry standards regarding High Fashion modeling sizes have trickled down from size 4/6 down to 0/2. The same decline in size of Plus models from Size 14/16 down to even size 8 shows the same trend that smaller sizes and body angles that photograph well are still sought after. Models are human mannequins, or rather human “hangers”, so it’s their job to sell it. Note: Some designers simply don’t have the creative motivation or talent to develop flattering garments in larger sizes. That’s not their fault if they don’t have the passion to create specific garments fitted to an average to plus sized individual. The artistic eye within the modeling industry can have a distorted view of themselves and the things that they consider flaws in others. Regardless, models of both smaller ends of these size ranges can be hired to represent their clients, but the other left out sizes of plus models and consumers debate this as unfair. I’ve seen their argument, too, and they are just as willing to argue and demand respect, but many Plus Models take it personally when they are overlooked for a smaller model. It can be discouraging for ANY model that believes that they deserved the booking that some other model got. That alone is a common experience that all eventually face, so whether they are Size 2/4/6 or Size 12/14/16… it’s up to the client to interpret what they think represents them the best to the consumer. Nothing personal… it’s business and the bottom line.

Ultimately, modeling is a subjective career choice, so before the industry makes any drastic changes and raises the size range of models that represent them, everyone must treat this industry as a business. Just being a really good MODEL is not easy, so for those that have that talent, they aspire to finding the right work for their career. Yes, there is an artistic element to many parts of the industry, as well as image, character acting and proper posing techniques, etc., but the role of a career as a model is to be “whatever” the role that the client hires them to be. It’s not meant to be a personal insult to you as a person, but rather a lesson in flexibility to go with the flow of what you are hired to do. There are many models that give up or never find their “niche” in the industry, but there’s no need for people within the industry or the general public to “pour salt on an open wound” by making people feel that they aren’t REAL models just because they are not famous or a Size Zero.

If you are ever in a position to comment, judge, or just read about the industry… please be open-minded that it takes all sizes, looks, ethnicities and types to be in this career. The process can be grueling on a person’s self-esteem especially for the long haul as a career choice. Sometimes when you read comments and discussions about some of these industry topics you will see people who are supposed to know what they are talking about because they are models, photographers, etc. themselves. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but when you see individuals that claim only one way is “right” or one type is “beautiful”… know that “You can’t reason with crazy, you can’t argue with stupid”.

A.K.A. Models is a new online industry trade magazine for models, photographers, designers, stylists, agencies, MUA’s, and anyone that seeks to research or contribute to the modeling industry.

Shopping For Auto Insurance Quotes Online – The Main Advantages You Can Expect

The online shopping is not only a fashionable trend. It is easy, quick and reliable. More importantly, it is much cheaper to get all sorts of goods and services. The same things apply to the shopping for auto insurance quotes online. There are also lots of other advantages of this type of service that you should definitely take into consideration. You can readily forget about the old fashioned way of buying a car insurance policy.

The main advantage of obtaining auto insurance quotes online is that you do not have to incur any expenses whatsoever. You do not need to pay for gas in order to travel around town in search for the best deal out there. You do not have to get charged for calling a provider and wait for them to give you a quote. All you need to do is go online, find the website of a reliable company providing this type of service and get the offers. These will be given to you for free.

Another great thing is that you do not have to waste your time in order to get the auto insurance quotes you are looking for. You can readily forget about spending hours going around offices or dealing with a person over the phone. The online shopping is extremely quick. You need to answer a few questions in a short survey. After submitting the information you will get the offers in minutes. Moreover, you can choose to do the search any time you want. The websites are there for you 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You can find a quote in the middle of the night or over the weekend easily and quickly.

Shopping for auto insurance quotes online is extremely easy as well. There are no people that you have to deal with so there will not be any misunderstandings. You can collect a long list of offers that are presented to you with many details. All the information will be ready for you to read and to analyze. You will not need to write down anything on your own worrying that you might get a detail wrong. You can readily print out all the offers and compare them even more conveniently.

Perhaps the main advantage of using the internet to find the most beneficial car insurance deals is that you can buy the actual policy immediately after choosing the right offer. Once you get the quotes you will also find links to the websites of the companies that sell insurance. It is now possible for you to accept their terms and pay for your policy online. You will get a document confirming you have made this deal. It can be used as a proof. So, you do not have to go to a separate office to make purchase an insurance package. You do not even have to leave your home to do so. This is simply great for all busy modern day professionals.

Overall, getting auto insurance quotes online is free, quick and easy. It is extremely convenient as well as safe and reliable.

How to Write a Fashion Business Proposal

The world of fashion is huge and international, and it includes many different types of businesses.

There’s the design group: businesses that design patterns, fabrics, notions, accessories, makeup, and lines of clothing.

There’s the manufacturing group: businesses that create and package all those items. All those goods have to move around the planet, so there are specialists in importing or exporting clothes and accessories.

And then there are specialists in showcasing and marketing fashions, such as catalog companies, modeling agencies, fashion show production professionals, fashion experts at magazines and on television, photographers, makeup artists, and hair stylists. Even a few niche businesses are included in the fashion realm, such as costume design and makeup for movies, collectors of vintage clothing, and even doll clothes and accessories. The list is endless.

The competition is endless in the fashion world, too. So if you’re in charge of one of these businesses, you’re always looking for new clients and new projects. How can you beat the competition and land those contracts? You need to learn how to write a business proposal. This is true whether you need to impress a potential client, secure funding to grow your business, or even sell your business or find a partner.

Writing a business proposal doesn’t need to be a daunting project. After you understand the standard structure and focus of a proposal, you’ll be able to fill in the pages pretty quickly. And when your first proposal is complete, you’ll find it much easier to write the next one, and the next.

The first and most basic idea you need to master is that a good proposal is not focused on you. It should be focused on your prospective client or partner–the person who will read your proposal. That reader might be the loan officer at the bank where you’re applying for a business loan, the designer whose clothing line you want to manufacture, the production company you are pitching your services to, or the retail chain you want to sell clothing to. Throughout the proposal writing process, put yourself in that party’s shoes and consider what they want from you at each step.

All good proposals follow this structure: introduction, client-centered section, description of proposed goods and/or services, and supplier-centered section. The pages in the last three sections will differ depending on your business and what you are proposing, but this sequence of sections should remain the same whether your proposal is four pages long or twenty.

What would you, as a prospective client, want to see as an introduction to a proposal? A Cover Letter, of course. When writing your cover letter, be sure to answer these four questions for the reader: Who are you? Why are you sending this proposal now? What do you want the reader to do next? How can the reader contact you to get more information or accept the proposal?

Next, provide a Title Page, which is precisely what it sounds like. Just give your proposal a logical descriptive name, like “Fashion Show Proposal for QRX Design Company” or “Fabrication and Shipping Services Proposed for West Coast Shops” or “Proposal to Establish a New Consignment Clothing Boutique.”

If your proposal has a lot of pages and details, next you might want to include a Client Summary (a one-page summary of the most crucial details you want even the busiest reader to absorb) and a Table of Contents. That’s all you need for the Introduction section.

On to the client-centered section: this is where you need to prove that you understand your potential client. Provide all the information you know about their needs and requirements for this project. If you’re writing a proposal to get a loan, this section could be as simple as a list of requirements you know you must meet. But if you’re writing a complex proposal, this section could be much longer. For example, if you’re producing a proposal to stage a fashion event, you might write pages about the client’s need for a venue of a certain size and type, the need to hire models, makeup and hairstyling experts, specialists in lighting and sound, possibly videographers and photographers, the need to notify and invite the media, and so forth. If you’re proposing to sell your clothing line to a store, you might discuss their sales seasons, advertising needs, packaging and shipping concerns, and so forth. As well as detailing all the desires of the client, write down any constraints you’re aware of–budget, special needs of any kind, deadlines that must be met, etc. The goal of this section is to prove you understand what the client needs. At the very least, you’ll need a topic page labeled something like Needs or Requirements or Specifications. But if the project has many different aspects, you’ll need many more topic pages to cover what the client is looking for.

After the client-centered section, write your description of exactly what you are proposing and what it will cost. Do you plan to open a new hair salon? Are you selling jewelry to compliment a clothing line? Are you providing marketing services for a product launch? Are you proposing to design unique evening wear for the wealthiest clients? At a bare minimum, this section should contain a list of Products or Services Provided, a description of Benefits, and a Cost Summary. But the odds are that you will need many more topics, such as Style, Trends, Lifestyle, Concepts, Aesthetics, Accessories, Materials, Venue, Personnel, Schedule, Equipment, Options, Specials, etc.–include all the topics you need to explain about the goods or services you propose to provide. At each step of the way, describe how what you are offering will meet or exceed the client’s requirements that were described in the previous section–in other words, how your goods and/or services will benefit the client. If you offer a Guarantee of satisfaction or a Warranty on your products, include that information, too.

Now, in the final supplier-centered section, it’s time to persuade the client that you are the best choice for the project. This section should have at least one page explaining Company History or Experience. If you are the star, this section might even include your Resume. Keep in mind that it’s always more persuasive to let facts or third parties demonstrate your qualities, so if you have lists of Clients Served or similar Projects you’ve done, special Training or Certifications, Awards, or Testimonials from satisfied customers, by all means add those. If you have helpful Alliances or Contacts that would be useful, include those, too.

If you need appendices, such as sketches, maps, photographs, charts, or lists of suppliers, etc., those will go at the end, but otherwise, you’re finished writing your proposal.

But you’re not quite done. This is the fashion world, and you have competition, so take the time to be sure your proposal is error-free and looks good, too. This means careful proofreading and formatting. Special fonts, colored titles or borders, logos, and unusual bullet points can add visual appeal. Remember that you want your proposal to represent you at your professional best.

After every page has been perfected, print the proposal or create a PDF file and deliver it to your prospective client in whatever way is likely to impress that party (email, upload to your web site, print and mail, etc.). It might be worthwhile to hand-deliver a proposal package or pay for a special delivery to make your offering stand out above the competition.

While your first proposal might take awhile to create, you’ll learn that all subsequent proposals will be faster, and you can re-use some of the same information in each. But remember that a good proposal should always be client-centered, and this means that each proposal will be customized to the particular client and project.

It’s possible to create a business proposal with any word processing system, but to speed up the process, you should consider using a pre-designed proposal kit. A kit will come with hundreds of topic templates including all of the those mentioned above, scores of sample proposals, and even contracts you can adapt for your use. Each template has instructions and examples to guide you as you write, and the sample proposals will show you what a finished proposal might look like and include. You can find kits in a variety of graphic designs to represent your organization’s style, or you can use your own company logo. A ready-made kit will give you a big head start on writing your proposals, and a big jump on your competition in the fashion world.

Top 4 Inspirational Quotes That All Fashionistas Should Live by

Being stylish should not only be judged by a person’s ability to follow the current trends, but also in the manner that he or she carries himself in different situations. If you’re going to read inspirational quotes from the fashion greats, you’ll see that there is more to fashion than just designer outfits and accessories. Here are top 4 inspirational quotes that all fashionistas should live by.

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves St. Laurent

Probably one of the most influential, if not popular of all fashion inspirational quotes today. It just shows that although fashions take on different forms throughout the years, having you own sense of style is what’s going to set you apart.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel

Another quote to give you inspiration is from the great Coco Chanel. Fashion is a concept that is vibrant and alive as opposed to the idea that fashion is only evident in the material things that you buy in designer stores.

“Fashion is made to become unfashionable.” – Coco Chanel

And as proof that you shouldn’t become a slave to fashion trends, Coco Chanel reiterates that all things fashion are made to become unfashionable someday. So try not to take it seriously and just have fun.

“Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it’s an open mind” – Gail Rubin Bereny

At the end of the day, what’s important is the fact that you have an open mind. Because as this quote says, it’s the one thing that you can take absolutely anywhere with you without any risk of becoming a fashion victim.