The final photoshoot brings everything in a collection together but the steps to get there are oh so many -- so many little decisions made along the way that take an original idea to the dress you unwrap in tissue.
Below is a little glimpse into our founder & designer Kathryn's design process -- Enjoy!
1. Moodboard -- I always start with a feeling I want to convey, a story I want to tell. To capture this I make a moodboard before every collection, no matter how small, referencing film, literature, art, history and everyday life. I often have a very specific feeling or image that sticks in my head and I follow it to see where it leads me. For fall it was misty moors, rainboots, and picking up skirts to run through grass.
2. Fabric -- Fabric is one of THE most important aspects of a beautiful dress and good design. Much as a chef obsesses over fresh ingredients is how a designer obsesses over fabric. Cheap fabric means cheap clothing. Because I only work with natural fibers there are a lot of restrictions as to what I can or cannot do -- but I enjoy the challenge.
3. Color Next I decide the color palette -- the neutrals, color accents, prints & textures, and trim details like ribbon or lace I want to make a part of the story. For fall I had in mind black ribbon and a floral print
4. Sketching I then sketch every design with paper & pencil. Edit down, sketch some more. Edit down. I probably sketch around 50-100 ideas for each style before settling on the final details & silhouettes that get developed.
5. Toile Fittings The sketches then get prepared to be made into toiles or "rough drafts" in fabric. I drape on a form my own rough proportion of the measurements I want to have and start to figure out my initial specs -- a 1/4" can be huge in my world! All of our patterns are made from scratch. I then work with my patternmaker to make the first toile. I fit that "draft" on our fit model and we go back and forth to make changes and edits to the pattern. This process can happen 2-3 times before we move to final fabric.
6. Sample Fabric Fittings After I decide that a style is close to finished, our atelier makes a sample in the final fabric it will be sewn in for our small-batch production. We then have more fittings to ensure the fit and silhouette & final construction details work with the fabric and are how I want them. Around this time I start deciding what styles will be made in what colors & fabrics, what types of buttons go with each dress, and the final trim details like final ribbon color, width & length.
Then when the samples are done, it's time to plan our shoot! Casting, location, fittings with our photoshoot models ...but a story for another time!