Fashion Designers Pre Production Survey

Do you have Fashion Designs you’d like to have made into patterns and prototypes to test your designs?

As the Founder of Orlando Fashion District its my mission to help you!

This is Step 1 on the pre production path to getting Your Fashion Designs into production and becoming a bonafide Fashion Designer!

Most of my clients ARE NOT educated or experienced in Fashion. Most have day jobs they want to eventually quit and are transitioning into fashion as their exit strategy.

You do not need a degree or experience in Fashion to become a successful designer. When you surround yourself with people who can guide you through the process by connecting you with the experts, you can get there from here.

I can work with you one of two ways. I can teach you as much as you’d like to learn or know to manage the daily details yourself OR you can hire me to manage it for you while you design and make all the big decisions.

Take this survey about how far along you are with your designs and get a free consultation from me on what next steps you can take to move forward.

https://form.jotform.com/81332938508158

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10 Ways To Pre Sell Your Fashion Collection

As the Founder of Orlando Fashion District, my mission is to help Fashion Designers succeed in business.

Here’s some of my best advice on how to leverage the money you spend on patterns and prototypes to fund the production of your designs vs spending thousands of dollars on a production run that hasn’t been tested on the market yet and hoping it will sell.

  1. Wear them! I highly recommend making yourself the fit model for your Designs whenever possible. Why? Because when I wear what I’ve designed (last night for example) I handed out 20+ business cards at a rock concert to people who said they loved the Steampunk Themed Top Hat, Jacket and Boots I made. I had 2 different people offer me $150 to buy my hat right off my head! Stand out in a crowd. Make yourself a walking billboard and engage your admirers by stopping right then and there and have them follow you on your social media accounts. Boom. Wearing your designs will also let you test the reaction, fit, fabrics, laundering aftermath and so on. It’s a necessary part of the research and development of your brand.
  2. Do a professional looking photo shoot of your designs. Hire models if needed, have a nice background, good lighting and get some great shots of your designs from all angles. These photos can be used for multiple things, which I will outline further below.
  3. Post photos to your social media. This is huge and if you don’t already have a website, Instagram or Facebook page for your designs you better get on it! Use your social media to showcase, debut, take pre orders for your designs and get feedback from your followers. If you need help building an Instagram account, I highly recommend KelpSocial.com they took our Orlando Fashion District account from 200 to 3,600 and growing, organically in a matter of weeks. Tell them you were referred by Orlando Fashion District and get a free month plus 10% off after your trial. You can set your Instagram account up to share your posts to Facebook, saving a lot of posting time.
  4. Launch a crowdfunding campaign. One of the best gurus in the industry on how to do this is Shannon Lohr at Factory45.co Presell your designs and fund your first production run with advanced orders using Your prototypes and photos. You’ll need to have your fabrics sourced and production numbers together with everything ready to rock and roll when the pre orders come in.
  5. Do a Runway Show. This will get you some great professional runway photos of models wearing your designs, good feedback from the crowd and potentially some buyers. I know Designers who sell their fashion right off the runway and take orders for their designs.
  6. Show your Designs at Convention, Tradeshow or Expo events. Some of the biggest events are the Surf Expo for swimwear designers, (surfexpo.com) Magic Las Vegas is one of the Fashion industries biggest sourcing events. http://www.ubmfashion.com/shows/magic I know designers who walked in with prototypes and walked out with Production contracts in hand.
  7. Negotiate retail contracts. I know a woman with an extensive list of top department stores and retailers who she can negotiate retail contracts with of your designs. Contact me directly for this inside information at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com
  8. Start small on Etsy. Use your photos. Find a local seamstress who can make your designs as needed and sell them with up to a 6 week turnaround time. Get paid in advance and then ship it out made to order.
  9. Ask for Boutique orders. Pack your designs into a garment bag or suitcase and take them around to local boutiques with swatches of any other available fabrics. Show them your collection and ask for orders with a 50% deposit of at least 2X your cost and get the balance on delivery. They should be able to resell your designs for at least 2X what they paid you. (Keystone Pricing) If you can charge more then definitely do!
  10. Use Influencers. Ideally you should give your design to them for free, have them take photos wearing it and write you an unlicensed review you can use, post or share to your social media. Ideally an influencer should have at least 10k followers, be willing to blog their review, post photos to their social media and tag you. If you’d like me to review your design email me at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com to see if we’re a good match.

For more help, resources and information on how to launch your own fashion brand, many of my clients have hired me as a consultant.

I can help you get through your patterns and prototypes, get graded and digitized, source fabrics, get your social media and branding image together, launch an influencer campaign, find a production house, show your collection on a fashion week or celebrity attempted runway show anywhere in the world and more.

Fashionably Yours,

Gina Vincenza Van Epps

Fashion Influencer

aka Psycho Seamstress

Founder of

Orlando Fashion District

Fashion Destination

#ofd

http://www.Psychoseamstress.com

http://www.OrlandoFashionDistrict.com

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Quora

7 Ways to Make Money Sewing

1. Sew for hire. I’ve been doing this since 2008 by placing an ad on Craigslist under Creative Services. People who need things made but don’t know how to sew, will hire you. Use photos from completed projects for your next ad and make social media profiles and posts to further market your work.

2. Apply for sewing jobs. I work at Universal Theme Parks as a Costume Fabrication Specialist, making costumes, doing repairs and alterations.

3. Provide Mobile Wardrobe Services, this can include sewing and other related services like laundry, steaming, ironing, dressing assistance and more. I’ve been doing this since 2011 for an event production company that staffs the local crew at arena shows. I’ve worked for over 50 touring celebrities and dozens of Broadway shows.

4. Design and Sew your own ideas and use sites like Etsy or Shopify to sell them online. I have a friend (above Alienphant) who makes a living renting booth space at Cosplay Conventions selling her fun fashions. You can also partner with local boutique to consign your work or do trunk shows.

5. Create a collection for a runway show. Once you have about 10 looks, you can use your prototypes for a photo shoot, runway show and even continue on into production. Above is CJ Golden of Starboy Swimwear. You can sell your designs right off the runway or take custom orders.

6. Teach Sewing. I teach sewing to all ages with in home private lessons and hold group sewing classes at local community centers.

7. Do Commissioned Replica Work, I’ve made several reproductions of film, characters, rock start tribute band costumes and Fashion.

What creative ways have you used your sewing skills to make money?

Gina Vincenza Van Epps

AKA Psycho Seamstress

Founder of Orlando Fashion District

Mobile Wardrobe Services

Costume Rigging Illustrated

House Of Vincenza

Orlando, FloridaGina@PsychoSeamstress.com

Garment Designers Pre Production Checklist

For the last several years I have been balancing my time between fashion and costuming for companies including Disney and Universal Theme Parks.

Since 2011, I have worked with over 50 celebrity clients like Beyonce and was featured in her Formation World Tour Behind The Scenes Fashion video.
I've worked on costumes for Justin Bieber's Believe Film, Taylor Swift's Red Tour, Rihanna's Diamonds and Anti World Tours and many, many more.
Last year I even restored Janis Joplin's Cape for the Hard Rock International, which is now on display in San Francisco, CA. You can read all about these adventures in my other blog posts.

I now have my own design and production house, where I specialize in pre production work, wholesale fabric sourcing and managing domestic and international production runs on all kinds of garments, shoes, bags and even tactical and combat training gear through House Of Vincenza.

As the Founder and President of Orlando Fashion District we've taken on the mission to make Orlando a Fashion Destination and to support and encourage fashion designers everywhere.

Designers hire to help them take their designs from concept to creation and into production, many of them aren't exactly sure how the process works.

To help you understand how this process works, I created this checklist of things you need to start working on, if you have designs you'd like to reproduce.

  1. Solid Concept – this can come in the form of sketches, photos or even an existing garment you'd like to use as inspiration for your designs. The more detailed the better. Refining these details in the process will cost more money than having them figured out in advance.
  2. Pattern – this has to be created in order to build a prototype of your design. It will be the foundation of everything and may need to be altered several times to get it perfect.
  3. Fabrics – using the fabrics you'd like to go into production with, is the best way to build your prototypes. If you don't have them sorted out, custom printed and sourced in sample quantities prior to moving forward, it could delay the process. Changing fabrics later means making another prototype. Skipping this step can be an expensive mistake if the production fabrics don't behave, look or feel the same way as your prototype fabrics. If you "can't afford" to make a new prototype, then you need to rework your funding.
  4. Notions – zippers, buttons, snaps, elastics, threads and any other materials you'll be using for your design needs to be sourced up front in sample quantities. These items will all need to be tested as part of your prototype. Changing this later means another prototype will need to be made in order to avoid production problems cause by these last minute changes that won't work right in your design.
  5. Labels – start working on your clothing label designs at the same time as your prototypes or it could delay production. These can take a few weeks to get these the way you'd like.
  6. Prototypes – this will be the first reality test of your designs. Don't expect it to be perfect the first time. This process can take several revisions. Be prepared for that. Emotionally and Financially. It might seem like a long and expensive process, but if you fail to test everything here and now and then move forward into production it could cost you a lot more time and money to go back and correct something after you've had hundreds of them made wrong or in a way that doesn't fit or work properly.
  7. Tech Pack – Once you've got a solid design prototype you can move on to the next step, which is creating all of the technical specifications of your garment. This is commonly referred to as a "tech pack" in the industry. Moving forward into production without this, especially with a new provider can leave a lot of things open to their interpretation. Not a good plan. Technical specs will clearly define and communicate to the production house, how your garment should be assembled, what types of seams go where, what kind and colors of thread, how to install your elastic, notions and so on are all explained in this document. Look at it as the assembly instruction that go along with your pattern and parts. What you get without it is an expensive crap shoot.
  8. Digitizing – This is the process of converting your paper patterns into an auto cad program like Gerber. If you've got access to someone who uses this or a similar program in the beginning stages it can save time and money down the road. It can be used to create your grading instead of having it done by hand. You can also use it to creat your "pattern markers" or "cut sheets" which I will talk about more in my next post.
  9. Grading – This is the process of creating all of the sizes for each design. It can be small, medium and large or numbered sizes. There are ASTM.org industry standards that can help determine these guidelines based on algorithms of global sizing standards. (There's also a thing called "vanity" sizing. A lot of brands run big so that you will fit into a smaller size and hopefully buy it because we all wish we were a size smaller. Ugh. It's a thing.) Making a sample of each size before you go into production with it is an important part of proper grading. Having an ASTM dimensioned fit model for each size will help make your sizing fit average size buyers.
  10. Production – Deciding on a production house is the next step. I will talk more about this in my next posts. Domestic production in the USA vs International Production is a complicated decision. Staying in the USA is possible for most items, but expensive compared to international options. Why? Mainly because the minimum wage in the USA is several times higher than other countries. There are also fabric issues to consider. Going international means it will be more cost effective to use fabrics the factory has either readily available or choosing from what they can source for you. Getting fabric samples from your production house in advance can streamline the pre production process.

Some of the other things you can do with all of these prototypes is enter runway shows, do photo shoots, trunk shows and start working on pre marketing your designs.

My next post will be about going into the production process. I'll write about it from a USA domestic perspective and from an international perspective.

Good Talk!

Got any questions?
Did I leave anything out? Gina@HouseOfVincenza.com

Stay Tuned.

How to get your own fabric designs professionally printed by the yard!

How to get your own fabric designs professionally printed by the yard!

A few years ago I was wondering how to get custom fabrics made for clients who were asking for a one of a kind design.

Well I’ve since found and used 2 different ways to do this, even if you only need 1 yard of fabric!

The first way is a little more hands on and the quality is good, but you’ll need to have some basic design skills. You should be able to figure out this DIY method online through a website called Spoonflower.

There are some other websites out there, but this one, I have actually used myself to print a fabric out of my Psycho Seamstress logo, which I cut out and use as labels to sew onto clothing I’ve made. You can design fabrics for yourself or to sell to others for a commission using this site.

Here’s the link to my Psycho Seamstress logo design:
http://www.spoonflower.com/designs/2316838-psycho-seamstress-skull-scissors-half-brick-by-psychoseamstress
Feel free to buy some!! LOL

Not only can Spoonflower print your designs on several types of fabric, but you can also use the images to create wallpaper, wrapping paper or stickers! It was super easy and super cool!

The second way is easier if you know what you want, but don’t exactly have the graphic design skills to make it happen. It’s a little more expensive than the DIY method, but the results are stunning and very high end.

I use a company called Solid Stone Fabrics. This company has several dozen gorgeous fabrics to choose from including spandex, swimwear fabrics, silk chiffons, organza, duck, jersey, neoprene, fabrics with sequins, foiled color, metallics, even carpet!! If you contact them, they can ship you out a swatch ring of some amazing high end fabrics you’ll have to choose from. Ask for Luke Harris, he’s one of the owners and the main sales guy. Tell him I sent you!

Here’s a link to their website:
http://www.solidstonefabrics.com

Solid Stone will assign a graphic designer to your project and THEY will create a graphic design file to your specifications, for a reasonable set up fee.
Once your design is initially approved by you in an email, they will send you a sample of the design printed on the fabric of your choice. Once you approve the sample, you can order it as needed with a one yard minimum.

Using custom designed fabrics is a great way to raise your price tag. You can create a much more unique and cohesive fashion collection by using the same pattern or design on multiple items in different fabrics. Finding coordinating designs and fabrics on the open market can be a challenge. When you design your own fabrics, you can create matching stretch jeans, silky tops, make sheer cover ups paired with swimwear and more, just like all of the high end brands do and order your fabrics as needed.

If you’d like more insider tips on how to excel as a fashion designer, join my group on Facebook called “Clothing Designer Resources” and feel free to share your best connections, collections and advice!!

You can contact me at Gina@PsychoSeamstress.com

10 Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Production Facility for Fashion

For the last few years, I have been consulting with clients who are just beginning in fashion. They usually come to me with a pile of sketches or inspiration photos of garments they want to create and have no idea what journey they are about to embark upon to get from these humble beginnings to a finished product, ready to sell. The process can literally take months. (here is an outline of THAT process… How to Start a Fashion Line Realistically and Ethically)  Although there are many steps that have to be complete before you can go into production, here are the steps to take once the design and prototype process has been completed. Doing this yourself is a big job, but here are some basic questions to ask when shopping for a factory to produce your clothing:

1. Are they a fair wage factory?

Chances are, if it’s in a foreign country they aren’t and won’t answer honestly. Nowadays people are asking more and more questions about where and how it’s made and are judging your line accordingly. People ARE willing to pay more to ensure they aren’t endorsing slavery. (Click this link to find out how many slaves work for you) ETHICAL production is available at an affordable price CAN be found if you contact Organizations like Fashion Hope. They can will assist you worldwide, in finding a production facility that doesn’t involve human trafficking, slavery, forced or child labor. Tell them I sent you or contact me for help with this.

cropped-toplogohomepage.png

2. Where are they located?

This factor is important for a number of reasons:
– Get shipping estimates to and from the factory, those expenses should be considered as part of your production cost in both directions.
– You will need to ship them patterns, prototypes and materials and they will be shipping you material samples, garment samples and finished products. – — Import fees should also be considered, estimated and added to your bottom line.

3. Can you affordably visit their facility?

I highly recommend you do so. Having a face to face with your factory and touring the facility is an important part of making a smart investment decision and maintaining a profitable relationship. Go with your gut. If anything seems sketchy it’s better to keep looking and write off the trip expenses than to invest thousands of dollars in a production house that doesn’t have their act together, too much could go wrong.

4. Do they have all the right sewing machines to make your garments?

If they have a website make sure they are currently making similar items. It’s unreasonable to expect one factory to sew your entire collection if you’ve got jeans, dresses, t shirts and swimwear. Each of those items uses different sewing machines and fabrics to construct. It’s better to find a factory that specializes in one type of garment for each item in your collection if they differ greatly in how they need to be constructed.

5. Can they send you samples of their work on similar garments?

Ask them to mail (even if you have to pay for them) you similar items and check the quality of their work inside and out.
– Look for dropped stitches or stitch defects that mean their equipment needs to be better maintained or that quality control might be an issue.

Here’s an example of what a stitch defect looks like… it can eventually unravel and cause problems with the construction of your garment, making it open up at the seam.


– Check to make sure the fabric is cut properly and on the grain and is perfectly straight up and down where it needs to be in the garment. If anything is cut crooked it will not drape properly and when you wash it, it will get “wonky”. Here is an example of a cuff that was either cut off the grainline or sewn in a bit crooked. When you wash this item it will go sideways and then not drape properly.

Off Grain Banding

This is an example of the bottom band of a sweatshirt that was either cut off the grain of the knit or was sewn in crooked. See how the knit of the Grey Knit is not straight up and down to the Yellow Knit.

Wash the item(s) if you can to see how it holds up. If they aren’t cutting the pattern out properly it can ruin an entire production run.
I have a friend who had a 3 piece outfit made in China. They cut one piece wrong and it couldn’t be salvaged. The whole outfit had to be scratched for that season even though the other two pieces were fine.   That was about a $5k loss.

6. Can they provide fabric and notions sourced locally or do they have adequate storage for you to send them the fabrics and notions you’ve sourced for production?

Get samples of what they have access to before you have anything made in their fabrics. Get swatches and samples of their fabrics, notions, buttons, garment tags, even elastics.
Send them reference photos or swatches and samples of what fabrics and notions that you want to use and see what they come up with locally. I know one designer who had everything specified to the China factory on her swimwear collection and even sent them a sample of swimwear elastic. When they constructed her swimwear they substituted her swimwear elastic with what was essentially a “rubber band” type of elastic. It caused a fit issue with her collection and was a cheap and substandard elastic. She didn’t even know it had happened until her pattern maker took apart on of her factory made swimsuits on a redesign.

7. How much do they charge for a factory sample?

This price can vary depending on the complexity of the garment.
If it’s a pretty basic pattern block that is common in fashion then it could be $20 or less.
If it’s an original design they should be able to give you a ballpark estimate from a photo or drawing and description by email.
The average price that I’ve found for a factory sample seems to be right around $80. Standard Proceedure is to send them a pattern and prototype and they will send you a factory made garment.

8. What is their average turn around time on an order?

Planning ahead and allowing for all of the standard turn around time is a huge factor if you have seasonal items.

9. What other services do they offer?

Do you need anything else done to your garment that could be done at the factory? This can include screen printing, custom garment tags (vs the cheap plastic looking ones that scream low budget production!!) distressing, adding riveted buttons, zippers and so on can frequently be outsourced locally by the factory.

10. What is their policy on orders that are made wrong or what happens if you don’t get what you reasonably expected?

If you’re saying to your self, “damn, this seems a lot more complicated, expensive and time consuming, than I thought!” You’re right. It is a long and drawn out process, but it can be done. Contact me and I can help you through the process. Managing this yourself, as I said earlier is a big job and can result in huge losses if you don’t ask all the right questions or skip a step in an attempt to get your items made quickly.

Join my Clothing Designer Resources Group on Facebook for more information on how to go to market with your designs.  Continue reading

“Can We Talk?” Rock Fashion Radio Show Coming Soon!!

As some of you may know, Joan Rivers was my first A List Client back in 2011.

Joan Rivers and I

 

Working for Joan, rattled my soul, sealed the deal and launched my career as an A List Wardrobe Seamstress. If I can survive her, I can survive anything! She was the ultimate trial by fire client and I now choose to be inspired by and channel a woman who rocked the fashion world with her famous words “Can We Talk?”

Since then, I’ve worked for many celebrities that came thru Orlando and Tampa on tour, including most famously Sir Paul McCartney, who’s story landed me on the front page of my hometown newspaper!!

Front page News

Some of the bigger jobs I’ve had over the last few years, included making 17 costumes for Justin Bieber’s Believe film and doing some major work on 5 red dresses for Taylor Swift’s back up singers on her Red Tour.

Justin Bieber Believe Film Costumes

I’ve also done a lot of costume rigging for shows like Michael Jackson’s Immortal Cirque du Soleil World Tour, Pink, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Bruno MarsMiley Cyrus, Usher and even got into Marilyn Manson’s Pants!

My A list work led to a job at Universal Theme Parks as Costume Fabrication Specialist where I worked on entertainer costumes including the most legendary “Invisibility Cloak” featured in the Beedle Bard show at Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. Having a hand in making that was epic!

In my spare time, I spent an epic weekend last spring on a short tour of Florida festivals, courtesy of my friends with Volbeat. They needed some backdrop repairs and allowed me to tag along from RockFest to Rockville. I had an amazing moment with Billy Duffy of The Cult and had the opportunity to discuss a piece of his stagewear that I did a replica of for Cult Revolution, a tribute band.

Bruce Tindle wearing the Cult Replica vest I made

Bruce Tindle wearing the Cult Replica vest I made

One thing lead to another and through a series of FORTUNATE events, golden connections and rock networking, almost a year later, I’ve now been offered my own Rock Fashion Radio Show as Psycho Seamstress on Rock Rage Radio!! I will be reviewing Rock Fashion, interviewing Stagewear Designers and Rock Stars who dress to impress from coast to coast regarding their duds of choice.
We will also be launching  a nationwide band image makeover contest with some huge prizes!
So stay tuned and don’t be caught in public looking anything less than famous!

Rock Rage Radio

 

Rock Rage Radio

Psycho logo

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