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Why Narrow Your Focus?

Lesson 7 from: Fashion Design: Start to Finish

Jay Calderin

Why Narrow Your Focus?

Lesson 7 from: Fashion Design: Start to Finish

Jay Calderin

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Lesson Info

7. Why Narrow Your Focus?


Class Trailer

Fashion Design Inspiration: Where to Begin


Intro to Fashion Design Inspiration: Where to Begin


Why Create a Moodboard?


Student Mood Boards


Fashion Inspiration Resources


Learn from the Masters of Fashion


Explore New Fashion Frontiers


Why Narrow Your Focus?


Find a Fashion Specialty


Craft a Collection


Learn to Edit


Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew


Intro to Making Fashion: Draw, Draft and Sew


Why Start with a Sketch?


Drawing: Draw Your Muse


Drawing: Sketch a Figure and Define a Silhouette


Drawing: Render Color


Drawing: Add Texture, Patterns, and Details


Pattern Draping: Working with Muslin


Pattern Draping: Drape a Basic Form


Pattern Draping: Drape Folds


Pattern Draping: Experiment with Style Lines


Pattern Flat: Create and True a Pattern


Draping and Patterning Recap


Constructing Clothes: Put it Together


Constructing Clothes: Make it Special and Finish Well


Fashion Marketing and Branding


Intro to Fashion Marketing and Branding


Explore Your Audience


Display, Data and Design


Share Your Work


Find Your Following


Inform Your Brand


Build Your Business Model


Why Tell Your Fashion Story?


Establish Relationships


Be Ready for Change


Produce a Fashion Show


Intro to Produce a Fashion Show


The Fashion Show: Why? When? How?


Pre-Show: Develop a Fashion Show Concept


Pre-Show: Build a Team


Pre-Show: Create a Timeline and Checklist


Day of Show: Backstage Strategy


Show: Working with Front of House


Show: Scheduling Run of Show


Show: Breaking Down the Event


Post-Show: Increasing Your Audience


Post-Show: PR for Fashion Shows


Post-Show: Dealing with Downtime


Fashion Design: Start to Finish - Wrap Up


Lesson Info

Why Narrow Your Focus?

In the earlier segment, we spent a lot of time exploring inspiration and resource is, and we collected a lot of ideas as well as, you know, imagery and and that process can be a little overwhelming because there's so many things we can fall in love with, you know, through our research and and we're getting to a point now in the design process where we want to start to edit where we want to sort of narrow our focus and it's a hard thing to do because we can, like I said, to fall in love with a lot of the aspects of what we're doing, and you know what we're finding, and we need to figure out what speaks to the collection were planning on doing and on to the customer because a lot of people forget that although fashion is this incredibly creative process, the flip side is that you are actually designing for someone and you kind of need to keep them in mind when you're designing because it's it's more of a dialogue than a monologue. S o we're going to talk about at your focus, so there are...

four different things we're going to approach in this class, the icons and influencer and the influencers, and this is talking about who do we follow? We have the street from the sidewalk to the catwalk because were the in the past ten, twenty years, we, seymour and mohr designers going to house how their fashions or how fashion in general is interpreted by the people who are actually wearing it, and then trends on off and adjacent that's a little a little reminder, I have that we don't always have to follow trends. And then finally, we talked a little bit about this earlier in terms of forecasting and thinking about what some strategies are for forecasting and what are some of the ways into forecasting because it really forecasting is really on industry unto itself, you know, it's a sort of a science, so we want to figure out as a designer, how can we adopt some of those ideas that will help us narrow our focus? So let's, start off with the icons and influencers we have here images of two first ladies, and they definitely influence the generation that they that they were in, and I want to ask the room we'll get get you guys right back into it in terms of how would you just I mean, who would you describe is an icon? Because we all have people that we picture, you know, and it doesn't have to be a famous person could be your mom. You know it could be uh really someone in the community could be absolutely anybody but who is one of the people who kind of really inspires you and you want to start a song is there anybody in particular um well there's a few people look I mean history obviously she's always just so just amazing and beautiful and just yeah really admire her another person is actually she's not she she makes things herself but she's more honey lucy from like lucy's corsetry she's just you know I mean she was she basically like reviews everybody but I admire her a lot just in her but not just her taste and think she wears and just her in general that's her personality I I'm finding how she approaches the whole process exactly yeah she's just so welcoming and warm and it makes me it like draws you in it makes me you know and how someone approaches you know their fashion how they interpret fashion is a strong factor because it may not be the actual designs even you know me even though I'm sure that's a part of it but it might be the fact that you connect with them on that more personal level I'm going to say iris apfel because she puts together things all sorts of things from ethnic things and her pattern sense of pattern and color and texture is just wild and crazy and she doesn't let the fact that she's about a million years old stopper in the least it's really she's really inspiring part I had the good fortune to meet her and when she came up tio peabody essex museum in salem for her exhibit on dh she is exactly how you'd imagine her to be and it's funny because there is it was conversation around that sort of being an influence and she talks about you know, kind of doing your own thing and expressing yourself and she definitely has that sense of more is more you know she loves it's not like you know take one accessory off its ad one before you go and I think it's funny because personally when I met her I wanted to up my auntie so to speak and I wanted to push the envelope in terms of what I'd wear when I'm when I saw her you know when I and it's funny because I think that means different things for different people so when we're she was a big influence for me but not in the terms that I'm going to walk around and you know uh I don't know ebola you know, not pushing the envelope theatrically but they're little things so I think it's more the spirit of being free teo experiment and play and an energy to everything I'm sure that when she goes anywhere she energizes everybody that she meets and I think that's fantastic she's amazing um my account's probably not someone anyone would recognize since it is a costuming person but god save the queen fashions I believe she's in georgia she is a fantastic costumer and pattern maker and seamstress and is fairly transparent with the materials she uses and the techniques uses she's always super helpful in the community with, you know, answering any questions that people have she was like hi detail shots of you know, the foundations of her garments and she's one of the few like the first people to really make a business out of this and I just really admire her and I'm curious because I mean we already spoke about industry kind of people in the people who are actually making fashion but I'm curious because you mentioned cause play earlier is there a certain type you know, a genre within cause play that kind of inspires you? I mean, you know in terms of direction for the style of the kind of things you do sure obviously there's you know with marvel and dc really pushing their films lately that's a huge source of inspiration for a lot of people and you know what? Those movies still coming out? You know, multiple times a year people are always, you know, even from like the first concept arts or like the first three second trailer are already saying how can I make that so it's really cool to be in a community that is so excited about what they're doing, and I think that that speaks a lot. I mean, you mentioned moral in d c in particular, I mean that's a certain style, you know, versus let's say anime or, you know, things like that so that that's important to realize, too, because it may not be a particular person, but it might be sort of this genre that are certain style that kind of really speaks to you, and it kind of leads the way in terms of how you interpret it interpreted when you talk about an icon, do you does it? You're talking about somebody who's in the industry or just a nikon into anybody who influences at you either personally or as a designer as someone whose creative well, for me there there really are two people just influenced me as a person and kind of what I would like to emulate at some point, and one is katharine hepburn and the other one is jane fonda limit, because they're two women who have absolutely lived on their own terms both amazing, yeah, yeah, and, you know, they have been trendsetters if you will their own, you know, periods of time, but I think their vote both very strong, amazing, amazing women who basically did things the way they wanted it to be done exactly, I mean and again that's working from the world of film but I mean but their lives carried on outside of film, you know about what they stood for, so and again that sort of you know I'm doing what I want to dio yeah it's not the film part of their right it's the spirit and the spirit of the of the women behind exactly that. Yeah, excellent. They hear what I just wanted teo chime in from bundle wait at home who says kate middleton comes to mind and the off the top of my head as well as jennifer lopez pulls off some crazy outfits really? Well, way have lilith who says frida kahlo just fantastic fashion time, says grace jones also awesome kensi hell about you! I was that's funny I was actually going to say frieda teo, I think a lot I've been having a few friends who were out just recently visiting her home on dh, seeing all the images of like her, her paintings but also her bright, vibrant color and just like how her house looked even like it translated through everything she had on dh then also I think I come back teo alexander mcqueen a lot just because there's their stuff that can be translated and like, toned down into more like day to day where but also I think, like you were saying earlier, it's, just like everything looks like artwork and it's just a very extravagant in, like avant garde on dit. Kind of, like, pushes the boundaries of what you define this fashion, I think definitely, definitely, I mean, and and we kind of see that it's a range of industry people, but also just people out there in the real world who are maybe in the public eye, but where it's more about who they are and how they expressing themselves, um, way mentioned, sort of not just the icon, but who influences our choices. So now we go to the street. Uh, this is a fun, silly picture, but you could very easily be sitting at a cafe having a cup of coffee and see this group of colorful kids walk by, right? That that is a really important I almost call it like an exercise that I try to do myself, and it might be at a cafe. It might be riding the train. And is that to really start to try to observe how people are wearing clothes? Um, there might be a designer who's designing very sort of classic all american, you know, button downs and khakis, and yet kids in the city might be wearing them in three sizes too big. A team from the designers perspective but for them it's perfectly normal so you want to ask yourself how is that being interpreted? The clothes are still the same they haven't changed they really haven't been altered but how it's put together and I always call it sort of my napkin exercise because if I'm having coffee you know you know we think we have to have proper sketches on proper paper but so much of my dueling if I don't have that little notebook with me can be on napkins so that this kind of an old tradition that I like to kind of bring back every once in a while and um and to really allow yourself to see how it's being interpreted because we forget uh it was a good reminder that the user is part of the whole design process you know they take it a step further so here we have ah trend so the skinny jean so we have to ask ourselves how do how do these trends come about? Because it's not always top down right? So we have to disclose what is the influence behind this? So why is this an alternate? I myself have sort of seven narrow gene on but a couple of seasons ago it was all about the boot cut jeans like that switches that I were it was my uniform all the time and then it just slightly changed silhouette still the same materials but just that slight modification and that could be a trend in itself within your own wardrobe strategy you know how you modify as you go just to keep it interesting and then a warning from karl lagerfeld trendy is the last stage before attacking so little humor but but sometimes very true and we have to remember that where we stand in the scope of things in terms of how we approach the whole the whole thing, the whole idea about trend and I mentioned earlier and in the in the bullets that I I always think about is it on trend and what does that mean as a designer? What what do you need to think about? Is it off trend and is it trying to chase it and the way I would describe those would be that if you're on trend, you're really trying to be thinking ahead you know you're trying to be following and that following you're trying to lead the conversation and really researching and like I mentioned earlier about you know what films were coming out, what things air coming into into the public forum the following season or the following year so and that's a hard that I'll just say that's a really hard place to be to say that I'm going to predict, you know, and have these influence these friends um but most a good part of the industry that's a big part of it that's why you see the media always talking about what's what's new for fall the question that I hate the most when people ask me that because for me it's a lot of different things but you know, stylist and tv presenters always have an opinion because they have that particular narrow focus so that's really being sort of on trend, you know, so that you're anticipating the off trend is a really strong choice like it's basically saying I'm not following what's happening in fashion I'm doing what I'm doing right? Because this is the product that I love and this is how I'm creating it now the funny thing about it is that often those designers will turn into the next trend because they're so off track, you know they're off trend that they become the exciting new thing so always keep in mind that sometimes sticking to your guns and just saying no, this is what I want to do it may not have has brought an audience originally, but things come around and eventually you're going to be the flavor of the month so and then trend to jason it's kind of the middle strategy which I can describe best by an example when when I first started designing or learning about designing one of the strongest trends was sort of neon colors and as fun as they were I couldn't I just couldn't get my head around designing with sort of you know you know highlighter orange and green and pink and so I I designed a collection that would serve as sort of a canvas for those trends so instead of designing clothes that were those colors I design clothes that would be great with accessories in those colors or jewelry with those colors or shoes with those colors so if the latest trend is a particular color that you don't like you can adopt that into into the fashion design process in terms of what would be great match our great alternative for that woman who doesn't want to wear that color or where that pattern or just you know employ that strategy for trent when you talk about trends and especially the street trends from talking to my youngest daughter ah and I'll be talking about a trend out in the street and she'll say no that was so last year so basically what you're saying by the time it gets to the mainstream it's over and done with so but how do you guys deal with that? Well it depends on what your business model is I think because I think if you're talking about mass production and you want to be delivering stuff to the masses then it is going to be slightly you watered down from because you know we're not talking high fashion like where it originates but I think it gets kind of a bad rap, you know, once it gets into the masses because I think ah lot of things can be really fun to adopt in that way you know where it is a little more water down because it may not be your cup of tea to do the full you know the full on so but we're going to remember that there are stages a sort of a life cycle and then that's okay and to figure out where you want to be you know because if you want to be in the atelier doing couture and you know, setting those uh those trends then you could be there and that's your focus but I think it's important not teo teo leave out the value of all those other stages because people you know, it's like that famous scene and the devil wears prada talking about the cerulean blue color and its importance I show that to my students all the time because it's you know, although it's really fun and funny and dramatic, it really tells a story about the fact that someone's going to respond to that idea but it it could be in a different place at a different time and we want a value that so all right, so another uh another thing to think about when it comes to forecasting and predicting we touched on it a little bit earlier and that's to talk about season, so I matched up literally, you know, actual pictures of representing a season with a design and and going to it doesn't have to be that literal but thinking about season in terms of where people's heads are at so not so much that that design incorporates some of these colors, but more so that how do you feel when you look at that picture of the tulips, you know, does it feel hopeful? Does it feel exciting that spring is coming? And what does that mean in terms of your design process and then the same thing with all the other seasons? You know, thinking about summer thinking about paul and this one's particularly interesting because of the some of the things we talked about in the mood board when he'd come teo texture and finish because I may not originally have thought of that sort of metallic leather as being, you know, particularly fall, but when you see it all together, you really see that that particular little slice of fall that she found inspiration and then winter all right, so these air very, very literal, but keep in mind that it doesn't have to be an exact representation and say winter, too, because she may be going to this image for a summer collection you know, so it may not. Maybe because she wants to shake it up and she's saying, like I mentioned earlier about the pastels, right, you know how you may be seeing pastels on, you know, they're popping out at you constantly. But it may be time to do a fall collection, and that could be the one thing that sets you apart. You know, it gives you that you're giving another choice to the to the customer.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Mood Board Checklist
Styling and Fashion Show Gear Guide

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Body Measurements Chart
Care and Feeding of a Garment
Change Agents
Copy Rights and Copy Culture
Dissemination - FashionArt
Fashion Equations.pdf
Fashion Show Checklists
Question Charts
Specializations - The Players
Starter Questions Chart
Pattern Making Gear Guide
Sketching Gear Guide
Sewing Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


Jay is a rare gem in the world of instructors. He has the perfect balance of information, examples, and hands on visuals. He included his students in the teaching process. They were not just the audience. Even the viewers were encouraged to participate! I loved his teaching style and enthusiasm as well as the content of information he shared with us. He covered a vast amount of information and led us at a pace that was very easy to follow. It reaffirmed my love of fashion as well as designing new ideas. This class was inspiring and motivating. If you are even the slightest bit curious about Fashion Design, constructing patterns, or even drawing models, this class is for you. It was all encompassing for an overview of Fashion Design from start to finish. Jay has an easygoing manner that you will want to watch him again and again. A great resource for your library. I can't wait to see him again in the Creative Live classroom!. Good luck to Jay and all his endeavors! Thank you Creative Live for providing yet another great learning opportunity for an international audience.

Michelle B

This is day one of Jays class and I am already hooked and purchased this class. Jay is an awesome instructor. He explains everything in easy to understand terms. He explained things that I have bought books to learn and didn't in one easy lesson. I recommend this class for anyone that has a interest in Fashion design or even learning to draw models for anything you need to sketch out. I hope Creative Live will bring Jay back for more classes. Jay is a instructor also worth having in your tool box of CL classes to refer back to for learning and inspiration! Thank You Jay for sharing your knowledge with us!!


I agree with everything that michelle-b said in her review of this class, and will add that I can tell that he is an instructor who not only knows his subject matter, but has excellent teaching skills. He is very engaged with his students, and focused on making sure that they get what he is telling/showing them. He also has the rare gift of distilling a complex subject down to its essence and teaching it in a simplified form that gives the student a good overview of the basics, and somehow also gives the student insight into more of the subject’s depth than he actually says in words. This broader understanding of the subject empowers the student to proceed on a much higher level than would be possible after taking any other course overview. Even more amazing is that the lessons covered in this way could be (and are) full courses in themselves elsewhere, but were merely segments of this two-day CL class. For this reason, if I ever got a chance to take one of Jay’s classes at the School of Fashion Design, I would take it in an instant. I too bought this class by the end of Day 1. For me, the segments on sketching and drafting alone were worth the $69, and the rest is bonus.

Student Work