While many people believe that a fashion designer is involved only in creating the idea for a new garment, the fact is that the designer is actively engaged in just about every aspect of the process of bringing new fashions to the attention of the public. Here are some examples of how fashion designers create new designs and see the vision become reality.
There is no doubt that the task of the fashion designer begins with creating the basic design. Fashion design initially begins in several ways. Some designers create storyboards with sketches of new ideas. Others prefer to work with a sewing dummy and begin to use various pieces of cloth to come up with a new design. During this phase of the creative process, the fashion designer is translating the vision that he or she has seen in the mind’s eye, and giving it some sort of outward expression. Often, the initial design is refined as the designer comes up with the first basic prototype.
Taking the sketches or the rough model of the new design and providing a more detailed working pattern is the next step for the fashion designer. This is achieved by making what is usually known as a toile. The toile is simply a rough model of the design, sewn from some basic material, such as calico. In the United States, the toile is often referred to as a muslin, perhaps because muslin fabric often is an inexpensive type of cloth to use in the creation of the rough model. Muslins are ideal for placing on a dress stand to make sure the design allows for properly draping and hanging on the human form.
Once the toile is considered to be perfect, the fashion designer will oversee the creation of a card pattern. This is simply all the sections of the garment made from cardboard, and assembled to ensure the pieces fit together properly. Once the designer approves the card pattern, the final task of the design process takes place, which is the creation of the finished garment.
Here, the fashion designer will make final selections in the choices of material, buttons, zippers, and all other elements of the garment. All the materials, including color selections, are provided to a competent dressmaker, along with the card pattern. Upon completion of the garment, the fashion designer will either approve the garment for showing in a collection, or choose to modify or abandon the design.
The fashion designer will also be heavily involved in the arrangements for a fashion showing, often selecting the models, arranging the presentation of the garments in the collection, and determining the final price for each garment. While most designers utilize assistants to handle many small details, the fashion designer usually retains full control of the process, from the initial vision to the first public presentation of the garment.