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How to make a collection - Last finish


The last blog, where I wrote about the print, ended somewhat dramatic. When making a collection, being able to administrate your time is key to success. Not only must you have enough time to make the collection, you also have to calculate time to fix errors that occurs. Because they do always occur.

Anyway, in between making the bad and good cotton print collection, I made the last part of the collection. This part both enhances key details, and brings the collection together. The journey started with the clean cut and classic knitwear, via the playful and charming cotton printed styles to this final part which is the thick and voluminous jacquard knit. 



The shaping of the styles moves in the same pace as the dimensions of the “print”. There’s more of everything. More volume, more weight, bigger print and more attitude.

On the pictures above and below you see how the original photo has been stylized. There’s a limited color line and the challenge is to keep the identity of the picture with as few elements as possible. The print above is the development of “Erosion” and below you see how “Misty” came to be.



These sketches show an alternative way to work an inspiration. To get into the mood I wanted my clothes to have, I searched Pinterest for models that had the attitude I wanted my clothes to have. Then I used them as a base for my own ideas. Sometimes the base was close to what I wanted, other times they were almost completely transformed. When the shapes were in place, I added the print and adjusted dimensions and contrast colors. This is a very fun way to work. My photoshopping is a little rough around the edges, but to my defense, I didn’t know I was going to show it to you at any point ;)



As I have mentioned before, some collections come easier to me than others. These last styles came as beads on a string. Truth be told, I reworked some styles from previous collections, but they could still have been troublesome.

In general, I find it more difficult to make clothes with a lot of volume. I often feel overwhelmed by all the fabric and colors. The challenge is to imply a shape or contour without removing volume. For this series I have added strong turtle necks in contrast color. They make a visual reference point. And other decisive details: The short sweater needed a small split in the sides, the long sweater needed to be slightly curved inwards at the bottom edge, the slim skirt needed some extra length, the slim dress got a split in the side so it would allow for the use of trousers underneath.

 As expected, I really was overwhelmed by the fabric and colors, but it was super cool! This was what the collection needed. The order was sent off to the factory without any frustration or stress.

Within September, the collection was in place in the stores in all it’s glory. From my hidden spot in the studio I hear the help convey the story behind the collection to eager and happy customers. Both old and new ideas are well received.

At this point I allow myself to be carefully pleased. I write my blogs, take my photos and organize our film. I still know errors or faults can surface so I stay alerted another two months.

As the Bilbao Collection hit the shelves, a big part of me had let go of thoughts of time and value which were steppingstones for the collection. My inspiration had ben chopped up and spread on to yarns and fabrics. My head was now filled with the next collection, summer 2019. Inspiration? A small branch of pine from the Norwegian countryside. Who would have thought ;)


All photos and drawings: Mette Møller

Styling: Linda/ Pudder

Hair and Make Up: Sara/ Pudder

 

How to make a collection - The print

Above Julie is wearing Misty Dress in the print Erosion.


I made a test run on the prints last fall when I came across a new supplier for digital print on textiles in Latvia. I sent them a bunch of pictures and prints to make and was happy with both the quality on the material and the print I received a few weeks later.

The prints “Manhattan Wall” and “Manhattan Greens” from summer 2018 collection was the first ones to go to production. For the second run I chose the Bilbao line because it had so much content,  as I told you about in “How to make a collection – The Inspiration”, and it had a beautiful autumnal palette.

This is how a picture becomes a print:



The big picture is the original picture which I twist, turn, copy and paste until it becomes an all-over-print. 




Dimensions are important. Interesting thing when the main picture disappears and the repeats makes its own rhythm like in the two prints above Erosion and Misty. In the print, The Worker, the motiv is much clearer and will not dissolve as easily. Appropriate for the theme, as it’s a pic of the moment where the worker captures the abstract idea and puts it into an order or systemizes it. 




The Materials

The factory that made the print could offer several cotton qualities and I choose 2. One is thick, solid and sculpts easily, the other is thinner and has a more whimsy and cute character. Since I have chosen a bit heavy wool for the knitted line, I thought cotton would be a good companion. In addition, I chose a shiny and heavy viscose.

In previous blog, I described colors as balmy, faded and juicy and that each had a role to play in the entirety of the collection. The same goes for the materials. The shiny surface of the viscose adds depth and exclusivity, the wool adds volume and warmth, the printed cotton ads low key playfulness. Tone-on-tone green knit and shiny viscose will never be dull, but hints of toned-down luxury. If it’s something I’m a big fan of, its elegance that doesn’t need to shout to be noticed. 





The Shapes

The classic knit has often a clean cut in outline. The detail that turns a very simple item from dull to interesting are often small and few. That’s why I went in a different direction with the printed line. Puffs and ruffles are all around us these days and I have taken my fair share of the trend. To get a sense of how this trend is used, I do a lot of research and study how other designers has taken on the trend. This is one of my ruffle collages:




Am I inspired or copying?

In the fashion industry, copying is a big thing, and the grey area in between inspiration and copying is big. To follow a trend is not copying, but you should pay attention so you don’t make things too similar to your idols. Orla Kiely is a designer that inspires me. Her style is not unlike mine. We both make cute clothes with an edge, still there are lots of things she does that I wouldn’t do. Its often the placing of details, or use of materials. Your inspiration, no matter where it comes from is a tool you use to make your own path. It will put you on the right track to make your own version of the trend.

These are how my shapes turned out in the end. They may seem modest, but since they are going to be made in 3 different and quite demanding prints, I need to make a balance.



At the same time I do these sketches, Ialso gather the ingredients to the collection. Materials, yarns and buttons are chosen, the consumption is calculated and everything is ordered. Some qualities I’m familiar with, other needs to be washed and tested. 


Above is "The Worker dress" in the print Erosion


Execute!

When the sketches are ready, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. It’s a common thing to send sketches to the factory with measures and they do all the sampling. When a sample is ready, it’s sent back to the designer or design team for correction. A few samples may go back and forth until the two parties are content.

I feel it’s necessary to make all the samples myself. A lot happens from a sketch to the final product. Through time I have found the best and most “real” clothes are the ones I shape myself. I’m very sensitive to what I wear, and this sensitivity I use when shaping new garments. In short, - the trick is to make shape, material, practical use, maintenance, and price to agree with the inspiration and entirety of the collection…. In short….

Some models are easily shaped, but others are more time consuming. There is no blueprint, so I will have to “feel” my way towards the result. Strange thing, but when I try to calculate rather than to feel what’s right, it’s seldom becomes a hit.

Classics are easy to make, because the shapes are well known and thoroughly tested. The clothes I make in this printed material has a different role to play in the collection. They need to me more in all aspects. They will be the identity for this collection, so I will need to push a bit further, but still keep the balance.

Above, Birgitte is wearing "The Worker dress" in the print Misty with "Classic Turtle sweater" underneath.


At this point in the collection it’s very busy. Everyday life is eating time from my already tight schedule and stress is building up inside me. My studio space is in the shop, so even though the customers can’t see me, I’m easily involved in everything that’s going on. To be hand on all aspects of the business and to be close to the customers is a unique position, but it’s very difficult sometimes to let the development of the new collection come first.

Above Julie is wearing "The Worker dress" in the print The Worker. Underneath she is wearing Shiny Puff blouse in the color Andorra. 


So, what happens when I let my self get of track? I make bad clothes. The first samples I received from the factory of the styles in the printed material was not good. There had been too much fuss around me when I shaped the styles. I wasn’t present in the process, and finished the collection before I really FELT it was finished. Maybe 3 of 13 styles was usable. My slot in the production line at the factory closed in on me, and I had to really hurry! What a nightmare! But when a nightmare is something you wake up from, I just had to fight my way through this. I put on my noise cancellers and crunched.

Shiiiiit! To make a long, painful and sleepless story short, everything turned out ok in the end ;) The tempest in a teapot had passed, I survived and the collection arrived perfectly on time. 


Oh, but there is more! The collection is not done yet. Read more about how the print was transfered to knitwear in the next blog.








How to make a collection - The Classics


After having found my inspiration for the collection in Bilbao, I start to divide the inspiration into the frames of what the clothes from Mette Møller is all about. A collection must contain both old and new ideas. The new ideas will inspire and surprise, but will be received easier if served on a plate with something familiar.

When the inspiration is all set, I don’t dive into it, but circle around it. This is a well-known situation amongst creative beings. The work space is never as clean as it is at this point!

My best method of entering the working mood is to start making the classic knitwear. They’re always a big part of the collection and the changes from season to season are few. I collect all the classics I have ever made and make a selection. Some styles are very popular, so they got to stay on. Some styles may have been resting for a while, and deserves a comeback. Other styles may still need some work before it becomes the perfect cardigan or the ultimate dress. Comments both good and bad) and wishes from customers are taken in account. Also, the changes in time and fashion.

Timing is also important, even for classics. A break from the biggest hits is healthy, so you don’t mentally wear them out. To introduce a new classic shape must be done in small portions in a gentle way. It may linger for a couple of seasons, then suddenly it brakes and it’s the most wonderful item ever.

This is a selection of classics have made over the course of 12 years.



After I have chosen the classics, I chose the colors. This is the first small step into the new collection. I keep a firm grip with the one hand while I fumble after the next grip with the other hand.

The starting point of the choice of color are the three pictures from Bilbao. When I earlier hesitated to go ahead and use the inspiration, I have no problems with taking in all the new possibilities the colors give. At this point, I actually have to hold back ;)

From each picture I choose 3 base colors. They must have their own identity, represent the character of their picture, but also match the base colors from the two other pictures. To keep the wholeness of the collection is very important.

After the selection, I have a dark color line - Erosion, which are variations of black. Lots of people wear black, but an equal lot of people state they are tired of always wearing black. To give them a very dark color will make the transition towards color smoother. Also, in several working environments bright colors are not accepted.

The Misty color line brings light to the collection. These are more difficult colors to wear, but are good companions to most other colors. It softens the brighter colors and gives a sharp edge to the darker colors.

The Worker line gives the collection some juice. 



Yarn and material suppliers provide a color chart with their qualities. But sometimes their colors don’t match my needs. Then it’s possible to dye your own colors. Pantone is an international color-coding system. When I chose a color from this system, the supplier knows exactly what kind of color I want. The reference to the name is kept throughout the chain of production. This to avoid any misunderstandings along the way as there may be as many as 4 languages involved in the process.

So, this is why I have maybe unnecessary strange names on my colors.



A small digression: When the first samples of knitwear arrived from the factory, I thought – Oh, no, - when I saw the initial orange color I had picked. It’s toned down but instead of being balmy and warm, it was dry and faded. This was not good. The Worker line needed to be juicy! Again, the color in itself may not be bad, but it would have diminished he the wholeness of the collection.

I needed to act fast because production was about to start at this point. I ploughed through the Pantone Colors again and found Mecca Orange. It was bright like chili and wasabi at the same time. It can be a challenge to pick the perfect color from the small knitted pieces from the color charts (15x15 mm). I felt the Mecca Orange would do the trick, but so did I with the first orange color as well, so nothing was certain.This color needed to be dyed, so when I received the lab dips for approval, it was an even bigger -OH, NO, - that entered my mind. It was very strong, and I was very uncertain... But it juiced up the collection like I wanted it to, reminding me that chili on it's own is too much, but it makes wonders for a chili-con-carne.



The coloring may start! Totally unnecessary, I color all the chosen items in all possible color variations only to eliminate 80% of them. To do this repetitive and practical work gets my head working with the whole collection. I’m very present in the simple task, and envision how to take on the rest of the collection.

Here are 4 classics before elimination:



Below you can see the final cut of these 4 styles. The colors are selected by a set of self-made rules ;) All of the 3 color lines must be presented in the selected styles with 1 to 2 color variations. All the combinations must have their own distinct character so you don’t confuse the customer. In addition, the styles are also made in black as a hyperclassic. 



After the choosing of the classics, the colors, and the coloring I find myself well inside the inspiration bubble. A lot is done and a lot of fun remains. While my mind works on the second part of the collection which is much more demanding (the clothes I will make of the material which I have printed the 3 pictures on to) I shape the classics, make the patterns and documentation and sends it off to the knitting factory who will make samples and return to me for approval or further corrections. The wheel is set in motion.