There are many things that a professional Fashion Designer must consider when beginning to build a range or collection. These include research, past sales, theme and trend development and storyboard creation.
Range planning and building involves designing a complete range of garments that fit into a chosen trend or theme. There will be a common thread or twist running through all pieces and they will fit together as one collection in a group.
Pieces in the range should complement each other and carry a design characteristic or handwriting that is identifiable to the brand or label.
Range building for large retail chains has to be planned carefully. The plan will determine what type of garments will be included, how many styles, fabric choices and price point targets.
The designer needs to have a good understanding of manufacturing costs in order to be able to design for different price points.
Range planning is based on past sales history and is created to attain maximum sales results and that the designer is appealing to the end consumer.
Plans will also identify key colours for ranges and in what ratios these are predicted to be popular with customers.
At the start of each season, the designer will undertake inspiration trips to other countries as part of their trend research. They will look at new detailing, fabrications and silhouettes which will appeal to the target customer. They may buy samples to refer to during the development stages.
Along with the trend forecasting information and the inspiration trips, the designer is now beginning to obtain a clear picture of the looks that will be right for her customer.
From here, the designer will put together “story boards” or “mood boards” that illustrate the theme or trend that the collection will take. Designers will select themes that are suitable for her target market.
Story boards include images that depict the mood or inspiration behind the theme. Pictures can also include silhouettes of garments that fit into the theme, colour palettes, trim ideas and some text describing the look or direction.
The designer may decide to work from several different trends so that all product areas are covered to offer newness and updates. This ensures also that there will be something in collections to appeal to everyones tastes.
From the story boards, designers will create directional colour palettes. This is a range of colours that compliment the theme and will include core and highlight colours.
Designers choose colours for their colour palettes from fabric swatches, Pantone books, trend research and inspiration from travelling.
Pantone referencing is the most widely accepted and used colour system for designers in the world and they publish colour books that have useable squares of colour that are number coded. This helps all those involved in the production process including fabric dyers, printers and trim manufacturers to ensure that they are all referring to the same colour for matching purposes and continuity.
When the designer has the story boards and colour palettes completed, she can, with the use of the range plan, begin to design the range.