Monday, November 3, 2008


"The best color in the whole world, is the one that looks good, on you!"
- Coco Chanel

What's so hard about being a designer? Many people have side-stepped art school and internships to become successful designers - so if they can do it why can't we? And why are we in a fashion doll design contest? To win it; right? If not, for the experience and to have fun - right? But definitely not to stress!! Can I hear an amen!!

However, during this first challenge many seemed pretty daunted! In fact some posts showed we were intimidated or confused. And, for the most part, this confusion centered on designing a collection. Such apprehension mainly speculated on how each design should flow with the next one; and eventually how it will all flow together per our one word challenges!

But flow it must. For to have a cohesive collection every piece in it must relate to the others. And no matter what the challenge is -- what relates these pieces is really up to us. This realization may help us all to have fun with this project, and go with the flow. Remember, anything we do with joy will be quite evident, and possibly more beautiful than anything done under stress.

There is a vast array of things that may inspire us. Some that come to mind are fabric, style, periods in history, color, etc. The important thing is that we choose something for inspiration that has impact - impact enough to make someone lust after OUR (MY/YOUR) collection.

It's a real balancing act to design a collection. Sure, we can get some great visuals by surfing fashion sites, watching fashion-type programming on the television, or reading fashion magazines. These venues can not only inspire; but can also help us develop the crystal-ball attitude necessary when trying to forecast future trends - another thing we need to be aware of. But, the most important tool a designer has is their imagination. After all the research, we really don't want to copy anyone; we want to take little bits and pieces of what we've seen or read about, and meld them together with our unique imaginings into a collection that screams "IT'S MINE."

Once we have our inspiration, we need to get it out of our head where we can see, touch, and feel it. To do this will require both illustrating our thoughts and selecting our fabrics. Let's do it as adventure! Ssssssssssssh, it's true! Even if we cannot draw there is an easy way to get our thoughts on paper. We can trace; right?

First let's find a croquis. Sounds complicated - but it's not. It means sketch in French, and was the original term for the schematic fashion figure designers draw. However, today the croquis is more commonly know as a template of a human figure to put a design on. I use some from a very old (out of copyright) fashion illustration book, but we can easily get a free one from this site - in fact there are several to choose from:


We simply select the one we like, save the image to our hard drive, size it to fit our needs, and print enough copies to do all our designs. Then the fun begins. We’ll sketch in each item that is an integral part of our design. Do we want short or long sleeves? Is it an Empire waist or very fitting? Well, we get the picture; right? Oooh, and we can add color - especially if color is our main inspiration! And we can also begin to pick our fabrics. We can do this as we sketch each design, or wait and select all fabrics at one time - it's definitely subjective.

Speaking of fabric, we all seem to have a great stockpile of it. But, what are we saving it for - our spouse's next spouse when we're gone? I think not! So let's prove it and really begin to use some of those precious pieces we've collected and kept all this time. Let's revisit our stashes and try to find fabrics that will further inject that wow factor into our collection. Let's take a tactile trip down memory lane!!

As we do each drawing we’ll not only be keeping our inspirational theme and our fabric in mind, we will also want to consider the articles of clothing we actually want to have in our collection, and how we want to accessorize or accentuate (trim) each item. Step back and make a list of each item we think fits in our collection. Do we need a bathing suit since it’s not a resort collection? Are hats necessary to complete our theme? Consider everything, and incorporate it into each drawing. This is the time to get specific and draw in those accessories and accents; time also to allocate what each piece will be – evening wear, day wear, sports wear, etc. We’ll be designing for an overall wardrobe in this competition, so let’s not just hone in on any one of these.

Then we’re basically done. Done? Well, yes, because we weren’t aiming to make the collection at this point – just get it designed. Then, as each one word clue comes out we can select a design that fits that word and use it. Or, if nothing fits, perhaps we can literally impose (draw) that word into one of our designs. But, if nothing we have can fit even with alterations, we may have to design a whole new outfit. However, hopefully, this will be the exception, not the norm. At least we have our basic direction that we want to travel in – so we’re set.

Does this mean those of us that didn’t know how to design a collection in the beginning are at a disadvantage? Not really. At this stage of the game, we have presented a vintage outfit that should clearly show our inspiration – so let’s work from there. We’re doing the second one now, so we want to make sure we incorporate pleats, make it flow with #1 and then that it flows with the rest of the collection. So those are set. But, after finishing challenge #2, we can still design the rest, just to ease our minds and ensure all of the designs flow within our collection. And then we’re set – we’re free to put fear and apprehension behind us, and, most of all, we’re free to embrace our joy! Let’s do it!!

For our blog of the week we will be looking at good, previously developed collections - after all, inspiration can definitely be found in a winning collection. These top two from the original Project Dollway wrote concise blogs on their collections that are worth a read!

Andrea's Jaques' collection:

Judith Markich's collection:

Our featured doll fashion designers this blog are: Peggy Burney, Stacy Shreve, and Sande in San Antonio.

(Please note: If you would like to be featured, be sure you either post to the group or send me a private email so that I have your email to communicate with you. Designers are picked by random draw. Also, if you have a burning question for the designer interviews, send it in and it might be used.)

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