Creating a Garment: a Glimpse from the Backstage of Fashion
How does a garment come to life? Where does the design begin? From its inception to the moment in which a garment takes on a life of its own and joins the collection – here's a guided journey to the design process
Every collection starts with an idea, an emotion, a story, texture. During the next few weeks I will share my view and the experiences we go through in the studio to reach our final goal – from the moment in which a garment is created and the moment the clothes are hung in our stores. It is a long, fascinating, fulfilling journey, which has a life of its own in every fashion house. Here I will present my end of the story, as a designer and creator that shares this formidable process with my staff.
While working on the collection, I find every season an abundance of mini-narratives which stand behind each and every garment. Every piece has a life of its own, desires and wishes of its own. Inside the studio, we try to comply.
Our first stop is the sketches, the drawing free hand which sets free the concept formed unto a collection, all the ideas gathered upon travelling the world, observing people and remaining attentive to inspirations from yoga, adrenaline, arts and culture. In the midst, of course, stands the female body – its movement and presence, as well as its needs and the possibilities it suggests.
At times, a complete collection can be conceived out of a sole garment. Some garments evolve on the go, during work in the studio. I see them – imagine them, know what will work within them and which aspects of my handwriting as a designer will make them successful. I can start off with a dress which will transform into a tunic and will end up as a jacket. It is a delicate play of developments which is central and predominant in my life as a designer.
The sketches then make their way to the modeler. At that stage, they are moving on to a different creative hand. As far as I’m concerned, this hand is completely at my level. Modeler, after all, is one of the most important positions in every fashion house. When I finished my residency as a young designer at Elie Tahari fashion house in New York, I stayed for an additional month in New York in order to meet his modelers every day. A good modeler is an artist and in our studio, both of the modelers certainly meet that definition.
In our studio, the modelers work with a special program, suited for their needs. We discuss the proportions together and start thinking about fabrics. Me and my staff, whose been working with me during the last few years, developed a language without words. This is when we start to find solutions to every garment, meaning, to find the best way to realize it. Subsequently, the garments make their way to the cutter; preparing samples and sends them to the seamstress, which specializes in developing the clothes.
First time in fitting always makes me a bit anxious. Like every first date, first impression affects everything and determines every garment’s fate. Whether it’s the third, fifth or tenth time I meet a piece, I observe our creation anew in order to substantiate where it is headed.
As a designer, I specialize in observing 3D and reconstructing every fit. It’s uncommon to find a fashion house in which garments are re-constructed in such advanced stages of the collection. For me, this stage is just as meaningful as consolidating the concept of each collection, especially since I’m so meticulous in each and every detail. I see every garment five times – at least. I test it, examine it in different sizes, match the fabric and do not let go till I find it to be perfect. Based on my experience, I know this quality of my design makes the clothes I create to be so exact and fitted.
When I ok a garment with my red marker, it finishes this stage and is ready to move on – to production and fabric selection, which are ever more meaningful in this process as that is where the garment’s character is decided. Afterward, the garment will return to the modeler which will prepare it as a product. It will then go to the sewing workshop and will receive, finally, a life of its own.