Being a Designer and an Artist. It's all about the Yeti Hide

So I thought I was crazy to want to be a designer and an artist at the same time.
Very schizophrenic if you ask me, since the process of each can be as different as 2 sisters squabbling over a summer dress.

Fashion, believe it or not, is actually a very structured process with SOP one follows to ensure that the product itself somehow associates back to the body. Whether it's a signature Alexander Mcqueen dress, a Maison Martin Margiela bag, or a pair of Monolo Blanik stilettos; a designer can never forget the human body underneath. Whether the body is playing the supporting role or being accentuated by synthetics, it is the form upon which fashion is built on. 

Concept Drawing, 2012
In Ink Pen & colored pencil 
Once you add mass production and tailoring into the equation, you get below SOP that we utilize in handbag development:

1. Conceptualization - We come up with new ideas every season by studying new trends AND top selling styles from previous season. At the same time we work with the marketing and sales teams to ensure that the "concept" will be applicable to our customers, and that the "newness" of the concept will still work with the body and stay true to the brand image. 
Evening Gown, 2012
Concept drawing in ink pen and pencil
Evening Gown, 2012
Concept drawing in ink pen and pencil
 During this stage we develop the following tools:

- Magazine tear sheets - Yup, you simply tear the fashion magazines you are subscribed to, althought now it's more about using Pinterest and serving on Tumblr. 

- Trend Forecaste service: Yes, you'll need to pay for this. 

 - Trend Boards - Focus on elemental ideas such as color ways, new materials, trims, hardware that are trending now. Made together by the tear sheets you just accumulated.

- Mood Boards - Focus on the "mood," or a lifestyle, a feeling, an emotion. 

- Hand Sketches - YES we still draw by hand in the concept stage 

2. Sourcing. Merchandising - This process takes places either during conceptualization or after conceptualization. It is also possible for sourcing to take places before conceptualization. Remember that rhinestone you found but couldn't use last season? Guess what it's trending now!

This process is entirely collaborative between designers and merchandisers. The merchandiser helps the designer to make the product happen, and in turn, the designer must help the merchandiser to meet the margin set for this product. 

3. Linesheet, Cading, and  tech pack development
While the merchandising team is scrambling all 4 corners of the earth to procure that piece of Yeti hide for you, you and your team is developing black and white linesheet that shows all styles confirmed to be developed for next season. Creating cadings, or color drawings of the new styles, and developing them into tech packs to be sent to the factory for pattern making. 
Measurement, 2012
Now you know MY SIZE!
4. Sample G1 - Infinity
Once the tech pack is sent to the factory, brace yourself for rounds of samples that will be coming for revisions and approvals. From generation 1 sample to infinity, this is a process that will break even the hardiest person. It's repetition on steroid until you get that one sample good enough to be confirmed, and approved to be developed into show room samples, salesman samples, and final production. 

Evening Gown, 2012
Scalloped sheer floral lace applique
Awesome pattern master Cloud Chen!

Evening Gown, 2012
Small train 

Evening Gown, 2012
Hand sewn crystals on floral lace applique

Evening Gown, 2012
in Shimmering black taffeta and sheer floral lace applique 

This stage can take anywhere up to 6 months if Murphy's Law doesn't apply. In all my years doing fashion handbags, Murphy's Law ALWAYS applied!

Oh and remember that merchandiser you sent scrambling far flung corners of earth in search of Yeti hide? Guess what, she found it but you can't afford it so repeat step 2-4 

Art, on the other hand " not what you see, but what you make others see." - Edgar Degas. 

That being said, it is a process so open ended, so free of form that is it everything and nothing we make it out to be. I don't attempt to know what the process of art is but at least for me, it is about an artist creating something out of nothing. 

When there's no form, we create the form. When there's no medium, we create the medium to be called painting, watercolor, photography, sculpture and so much more. 

Art is- to me- a personal process only you know how to define it.  

But just like 2 sisters fighting over a summer dress, they are nonetheless from the same parents of humane expression and creativity. 

Stella, 2011 


  1. So true, very insightful post.


  2. Hi LaToya,

    Thanks for the comment. Since I have the fortune to be in these 2 worlds at once, I tried to offer more industry insight.

    Enjoy and feel free to share the post if it helps with what you are doing!
    P.S. Love your blog!



Follow me on Pinterest

Latest Pins

Follow me on Instagram