What you need to keep in mind while designing your own fashion collection

It's my last year at fashion technical school. I've met so many fantastic people, sharing the same passion. I've gain more knowledge thanks to various contests, lectures, exhibitions and trade shows.

I decided to share some of it with you, starting with designing your own fashion collection. It might seem simple, but it's not. Not only creativity matters. You need to think about tiny details that may make your collection a success or a failure. Remember, fashion is a business. Very brutal one.

Before I start just a quick reminder - all of these informations are based on my experience and knowledge. They might be useful while designing a single garment. Keep in mind that every case is different and each designer has their own methods. However there are some aspects than are crucial for successful collection.

To design your own collection you need to go through few steps that might not seem related. Some people don't know that fashion designer is not only an artist, but also a tailor, a patternmaker, a psychologist, an accountant, a marketing expert, a salesman and most of all, a businessman. Of course they're not working on their own, but they should know the basics of all of these professions.

Fashion industry is well-developed and every person needs to find their own methods, but each of them should remember about some things. Before the designer will start the first drawing they have to think about every detail. It must be consistent, tasteful and smart. Every single step must be planed out. What designer needs to keep in mind while planning a collection?


Creating the full fashion collection takes a lot of time. Designer should start working on it about year and a half before the beginning of the season and organise fashion show 6 months in advance. There are four main seasons:

  • SS (Spring-Summer) - fashion shows in September
  • AW/FW (Autumn-Winter / Fall-Winter) - fashion shows in March
  • Pre-Fall (transitional collection between SS and AW/FW) shown in January
  • Resort/Cruise - in other words holiday collection for people spending their winter time in warmer places, shown in June

Types of collections

There are two types of the collections - haute couture and prêt-à-porter. Each has few other subgroups in which products have different quality, prices and the amount of produced pieces. They can be mass-produced or made for a private client.

  • Haute couture (fr. high fashion, high dressmaking) is a very exclusive fashion, often considered as art. This type of collection requires a lot of time and work, it's usually done by many craftsmen.
  • Prêt-à-porter (fr. ready-to-wear) is the easily accessible fashion usually made for average person.
Beside that designer should define the style of the collection. No need to be strict. Fashion should be fun. Mix sport style with some elegant elements.

Target group

While making the collection the designer must remember about the client. The clothes needs to be created for people that will eventually buy and wear them. What you should do is make a profile of your perfect client. What you need to keep in mind?
  • gender - if we look at human anatomy there are some differences in women and men body that needs to be included to the designs.
  • age - there are few age groups - infants (less than a year), kids (1-12), youth (13-18), young adults (18-25), adults (25-45), mature adults (45-65) and seniors (over 65). You need to remember about important aspects of every stage of human's life.
  • demography - what you need to consider is different geographical position, culture, etnography, earnings and mores of the society. Demand will rest on the location.
  • lifestyle and social class - different social gropus requires different clothes. Businessman needs elegant and classic look. Mother-to-be usually picks something comfy.
  • anatomic differences - not only we are different within our society, but silhouettes vary between regions of the world. People from China or Japan are more petite than Americans. On the other hand there are people that can't find fitting clothes in typical clothes shops because of, for example, height, weight, disabilities or even pregnancy.
  • subculture - this one is not essential, but collection might be dedicated strictly to chosen subculture.
  • religion - some religions are very strict about clothes. If designer wants to sell clothes in religious country they should remember about those restrictions.


Collection should be the mix of designer's aesthetics and current trends. Thinking about them a year and a half in advance can be tough. There are companies speciallizing in forecasting future must-haves. You may also want to check textile faires or Pantone's colour of the season.


The key to the success is to stay in budget. You need to be realistic and cut the costs if you have to. Remember, the more work, the more money you'll spend. You should also think about utility. Make more dresses and shirts than coats.

Raw materials

Even the best idea might be a failure without suitable supplies. You must check if it's available, profit will be bigger than costs and if there'll be a customer for the product.

Brutal reality of fashion business

Quoting Heidi Klum "One day you're in, the next day, you're out". This business has its own rules. It's not easy to create a customer base and maintain your own brand. You must always think about it, adjust to the reality, but at the same point don't lose oneself.

In my opinion those are the most important things you should enter into consideration while planning your collection. Thinking about them will help you with other stages, sometimes make them easier and faster. Everything will be deliberate.

What might ease designer's work? How to find your aesthetics? What's the best way to get inspired? Next designer's guide post soon. Maybe there's something you want to know about fashion designing? Leave your suggestion in the comments.

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