Why Tell Your Fashion Story?
This part of the class is of one of my favorites because it's very personal these air the kind of the kind of questions will be exploring our very personal they're very specific to your process and what you want to get out of your work as a fashion designer so to give you an idea we're going we're going to be covering uh we're going to focus on crafting authentic stories we're going to tell engaging stories because they may be really authentic but they also have to be have that little hook and actually be interesting and memorable way want to cultivate a dialogue between you and your customers so that you're getting feedback about what you know what kind of stories you should tell and how you should tell them and then also you want to prepare for detours on the path that you're on because a lot of times we get stuck in you know this is who I am this is what I'm doing and that's great because you want to have conviction but you also want to think ahead and think okay, what if like what ...
could I do you know to to address detours to address things that kind of derail that vision that you had from the very beginning because often people think of it as a hugely negative thing and sometimes it could be a great resource in itself for exploring something new okay, so we're gonna we're going to be covering in our first conversation we're going covering why tell your fashion story so the visual in the verbal content we're going to explore what kinds of things we can put into an idea the copyright copyrights and copy culture is more about where you stand in the realm of storytelling. So is it about you following those trends and reproducing what might be a me a model out there, or or thinking about, uh, the keeping what you do very specific to you, something that you're inventing, changing the channel, just changing the conversation and the messaging and the storytelling like figuring out maybe what are some of the other stories you can tell the delivery portals thinking about where you're sharing these stories and what tools you're using the share these stories and then these last two are about thinking they're about thinking about how to share and how to sell. Um, the first step when you're trying to sell should be to try to share that that sort of intent behind that process of you want them to have this garment because it is going just you're just going to enjoy it so much is going to improve your life, you know, it's just like what are all those things you want to share? Because if that's honest and intentional, then the selling part is almost automatic andi you do want to concentrate on the selling part as well but you know in terms of making that sale we're talking about valuing your work and and what that means and how how to how to value work so all that is key but if you're not enthusiastically engaged in sharing then it's a hard sell which is often people often find it very easy to push back or ignore our heart cells so we wantto realize that we want to share for us so so I'm gonna invite emily to come up and sit with me up here wait go so welcome e get so um hey yes if we could just have emily and everybody else just sort of introduce yourself again and talk a little bit about where you are within this world of fashion design my name's emily zen's er I have obviously been talking a lot about costuming that's for the realm I'm trying to get into I'm currently a student at new york fashion academy here in ballard so and I've been making costumes for myself and friends for a couple years now and that's where I met all right? So um when it comes to visual and verbal content like if you're telling a story if you had to pick three words to describe what you do I mean not just what you do but the feeling behind what you do something about your process or the the end result or the feeling you're going tohave wearing it, what might be three words that you can think of when it comes to the costume design ah, at I think the first probably accuracy that's something I really like to focus on, like I mentioned earlier, getting as many reference photos as you can so of the john rob the inspiration for the costume. Yeah, because I figured it probably will be marketing to people who do you have a specific look in mind if they wanted to look exactly like this, so being ready to to focus on that, um, it may be a high level of detail. I definitely want to set myself apart from just, you know, be able to walk into a party store and grab something out of a plastic bag. You know, I wanted to be as realistic as possible and and maybe that's, my third one is making it look like, you know, translating this two dimensional drawing or illustration and turning that into something that could really exist in the real world. So the first part is, I mean, to me, kind of about the integrity of keeping true to the source material because we're talking about costumes, but the customs in in in your field and cause play are really an extension of a wardrobe just within a different setting you know it's sort of it's not a theatrical performance it's an extension of the r so I think the integrity behind it could be a component and keep in mind too you know, I do this all the time with kind of riffing off of what people say in terms toe I kind of helped guide but never take like what I would say as the be all end all like you know, these are my interpretations but the whole point of it is it to encourage you to approach it that way and start to tease it apart because we're comfortable and used to our thoughts so we need sometimes to just kind of have a sounding board so that's kind of what we're focusing on here so the second one when you mentioned detail this is really about the craftsmanship you know, the the precision the I think that really is a valuable thing to the consumer so that it could be a great part of your story and then the last part of of course it went right out of my head the last month okay, I guess it's um the interpretation of this fictional two dimensional with three yes yeah and I think there it's I think one of the things that I see that may not be visible to the consumer but that you're taking for granted you know, just because you're doing it is the functionality because you know you're taking this two dimensional idea and then you're putting it together but you have to figure out how it actually works because if you don't work with the original costume for the movie, I mean, you know, for for creating it you may not know how were they going to move and you know, I uh I've been to some of the conventions and you know, you see cyborg and your heels like and you're thinking, how are they moving around with all that tech added onto them and and even the materials you choose, you know, they're not actually going to be big metal hunks on them so they might be plastic toe look like metal, so you know, I think the functionality is important so you know, stressing in your story that you really believe in not not sort of fudging on the story, being really having integrity about the story, your attention to detail, you're not goingto gloss over things there and then also that this is going to be an experience for that person where they can actually enjoy what they're wearing because if you were in a costume you everyone a costume that was uncomfortable, you know, the first thing you want to do is get out of it but this should be something where you can feel like no, this is empowering me this is armor you know, whether it's actually armor or a big fuzzy suit, you know, it doesn't matter it's this this sort of this field that's empowering you so all right. So let's, let's, think about there's a. In the bonus materials, we have an article well to two articles, one is copyrights, and one is copy culture. And I think a lot of people in fashion get very protective about their work and you can't copyright fashion, eso or trade market. So you can I mean, you could do your brand, but you can't cover affection and you can do textiles, though, so but the question is, you know, how free do you feel? I mean, how comfortable do you feel going? One way or the other is saying, being very sort of sort of secret, like, you know, the secret ingredients kind of thing, or is it something that's share a bowl and, like, how do you what do you think? It's, a strong suit there for you, mentioned earlier that there's such a strong sense of community within this culture. Where a lot of the information is really sure and I think I would like to be somewhat a part of that you know, you want to just give things away right? But like I was saying that selling patterns and just making it available to people and then it's their choice whether they want to buy it or not but certainly just being fairly open and transparent and and I think I mean I think that's happening a lot of industries and you want to ask yourself, you know, even in teaching of when we do a flipped classroom and all basically all the content is online so you could technically never have to talk to the teacher, but the whole idea behind it is that when you come into the classroom you've done your research you've done your homework, which almost anyone could do you know, like you said, your customers can do that for themselves but then when they come in you're figuring out okay, well that's the baseline that everybody has how am I making it unique what's that special secret ingredient that I'm bringing to the table of why you would want to you know uh you know uh buy that product or or use that service so uh for changing the channel, I think I know that with conventions there are a lot of different ones so and some of them focus on special things so how how would you maybe take on the challenge of exploring, you know, delivering content, so to speak or product to those different audiences? Or do you wantto do you find yourself just focusing on one I could see myself doing multiple kinds? I mean there's, especially a lot of cross over these days, you know, people will make, like, original illustrations of, you know, like this's half doctor who half harry potter and, you know, making a completely new thing from that, so I think there's ah lot of freedom and that and, you know, you could just do something that has no relation whatsoever, like I've seen animate costumers at renaissance fairs and it's just a pretty, pretty nice community where they're just kind of like you're doing your own thing. Yeah, okay, so I think a way to look at this in terms of storytelling is offering a menu like, basically thinking again not that we can't do a lot of different things or, you know, be challenged by a new thing but saying, you know, focusing on maybe, you know, three, five however many you want to take on areas where you have made costumes like this, our garments like this and you also have given it a lot of time and thought, and you're doing something special in that area and I think being able to narrow that down I think gives you also empowers you with a certain comfort level where you go this is what I focus on not that I'm not available for other things but this is the menu I always think a computer drop down menu you know that we know what we're doing but then what's the breakdown the sub you know, the subheadings that help you go no no that would fall into this category and you know and then I put that hat on so and even though it might be all the same costume design thinking you know what the needs are of a renaissance fair versus you know start track those they're kind of the things you want to think about so um delivery portals um I'm curious especially with with your field what do you think are the best places to uh deliver your content whether it be your story or your product like you are you are you are you thinking it's social media is it magazine articles is that television is it you know, online video what what do you think is ah something that new york audience would respond to and your started telling probably be majority be like an online presence on there's a lot of people you know who are you following you no established costumers online through tumblr or facebook or their own personal websites so probably something along those lines well, that brings me to something way glossed over in the beginning cause we focus on the verbal you know the words for the content so I'm assuming I mean in fashion in general, but I think specifically with this especially when you talk about tumbler that imagery is very important definitely so how how would you attack that the challenge of delivering content but through visuals like what kind of stories do you think you could tell with visuals? Well, I think what you were saying earlier with taking progress shots and, you know, just holding yourself very accountable toe, you know, being consistent with x it's so easy to just be like, be in the zone and realize I haven't taken a photo six hours it looks completely different andi I think a lot of people are interested in that process even if they don't ever plan on wearing something of mine, they could at least see this as this is a lot of work that's gone into this this is the exact process that they undertook, you know, maybe there's someone else I know who would be interested in this and then share even if they're just casually interested yeah, I think I think that's very true and I mean and when you talk about that that person the observer we can't discredit the observer who is never going to buy our pieces because often I'm a good example I will go to fashion shows where it's women's wear right? And even though I'm in the industry, I'm not you know, I'm not buying the women's wear, but you become an evangelist for for that designer you become that person who is going to promote it and go this is really cool on dh also, I think the cross industry aspect of it is very important because there might be somebody working in actual fashion, you know, the fashion design side of it where they're making more conservative clothing, but they can take a lot of inspiration from exploring your fields, you know, your particular niche in fashion design. The other cool thing I think may not actually be seen as a positive but there's definitely a lot of criticism of this lifestyle in this community, and I feel like even when someone goes online is like, oh, look at this stupid thing that people d'oh that actually ends up working against them and just exposing that copy that culture to a whole group of people who had never seen otherwise exactly, and then that other person might think, oh, this is actually really cool well, I think that kind of brings us back to the appreciation I mean, I think if we are educating our our viewership, especially if you if you know there's an element in your audience that's you know the naysayers the person who's going to be the critic you want to anticipate that when you're writing your stories you want tohave the answer written in to your messaging you wantto ask yourself you know like acknowledge the fact that you know some people think we're crazy you know I mean are you think you can understand why we want to put on a costume and but but you want to figure out like what what the message is that says and that's okay because it's it's so much fun that we don't mind that you know that kind of thing so in and it's true for every aspect of fashion because even with something that we in the industry I hold in high regard couture right you know the ultimate there are people who go I don't get it you know it's like it's ridiculously expensive and where would you wear that too and you know we know that's not the point you know that's not the point of it but there are naysayers so what do you say? You know uh in couture is very similar to wear a costume where it's showing them the value of it like look at what goes into this and even if you would have no interest in it you have to agree that that's valuable right? So you're empowering people so sharing your story is very cool um and then how when it comes to the whole sharing process what do you want to share like what are you really not not just the clothes or the cool designs you know, because that's kind of a given nowadays you know we're going to make a good garment is going to be relevant carmen all those kinds of things but what are you really saying? You know, I really want you to have this blank you know, um I think a lot of it is the process of construction and especially with costuming since this is a garment that probably could never exist is a real thing is you know, that puzzle aspect of how do I get from point a to b point b and kind of exploring that process and sharing that saying, you know, this exists with no darts or any types of gathers but obviously there's a ton of fabric that has to go somewhere and and kind of I guess exploring that area of you know how how you're developing into this really thing? And I think that says something really, really important that you are looking to share that experience with them you want them to be able to go through it with you should they want teo you know, in terms ofthe they'll want to see those steps they'll want to be in on the decision making because some people just want to go to the rec you know, I mean, we were shopping there's certain things that I don't want, like there's certain stores you walk into and you don't want and a sales person to bother you, you know what you're doing, I'm scanning, you know, hunting and gathering. And then there are places where you go and you kind of go, okay? I want to be taken care of, you know, help me through this. So it's the same thing with this. So here, I think that's a really valuable part of your story where you're saying I want you, I want your input. I want you to share through this. I want you to understand what I'm doing to make your dream come true. So I think that whole sharing element is really important now. We talked a lot about valuing our work earlier, so when it comes to the cell, how confident and comfortable would you say you feel in terms of where you are right now? You know, I know you're a student and sort of starting out, but even in in theory, how comfortable uh, do you think you'd feel in terms of pricing? Like, do you think you have a good idea of what you might charge for something? It's definitely not something I feel confident about right now, but I think I'm taking steps towards getting there. I'm like even just making things for myself. I'm trying to, you know, I have, like a master spread she of, like, what I'm spending money on where it's impressed if I messed something up here, where did I have to spend more money, too? Fix it on dh, then just trying to take notes of I absolutely hate this fabric. I never want to work with that again that this is a really good alternative, so I'm trying teo, create that initial budget and see maybe where I spent too much money here and where I, you know, overestimated how much fabric I would need here and just trying to get a realistic hq estimate of what I'm spending writing on me, even sometimes anticipating mistakes and having to budget in extra fabric, you know, four corrections have to say that's impressive, I don't know very many designers who on their own have come up with, you know, on accounting system for their process, which is is really, really valuable, a lot of hunting through receipts with different colored pens you like this was for this project, this was for this one, but like with martos question earlier, I don't really I haven't figured I had a price my own work yet I'm just trying to focus on the stuff that I guess I have a little more control over her I think when it comes to value your work, I know we run into this with once a student graduates from, you know, from fashion school, they've spent probably a whole semester on a garment, you know, like where they've spent so much time and money and on they they're thinking also, well, I did the patterns and research, so you know, they they at first go okay? I don't see why not. I wouldn't charge what our money charges for address because that's about how much time and money I spent on it, but the truth of the matter is that you have to kind of figure out that was a learning curve, right? So you're you're learning from your sort of a system where you you need to cut back, how can I do this more efficiently if I needed to be less expensive, those air kind of thing, clues that will help you manage how you price things? I think the other aspect of that that that's really key when it comes to pricing is the research you do outside in the market and also really compare your product to another product does not all costumes are created equal? I would I would assume right so you may have to hero costumes and one of them definitely stands apart and you have tio almost weed out the customer who's just looking for a bargain because I think if you're doing custom work look you want to say to yourself and I want the customer who is willing to pay that price because they are ready value it they already understand, whereas the other is maybe if you're not concerned like if you were thinking less costume design and maura costume shop so it's just about the numbers and this and again either is valid but you want to ask yourself what side of that spectrum and my sort of standing on very cool like one little attendant just leave quick I don't want thing that we've gone over and classes and especially I think it ties in with what we were saying how patty you're saying, you know, the customers don't understand that sewing is a really important part of it and you know, we've discussed pricing yourself differently per hour you know, like one what skill you're using like prioritizing like, hey, I did you know, eight hours a pattern work for this not everyone can do that and whereas the customer that might agree and know that yes, I could never do that whereas I could have done the sewing on my own and maybe explained, you know that's where some of those values coming for exactly and also the level of skill because it's like we said about the painting you know is like no your kindergarten you can't do this you know, it's a lot of people feel that they've got a certain skill, you know and they're starting out and you might be a step beyond that so you're saying no no I just want to show you were doing special seems there'll be stronger they'll have this in that s o you wantto be able to help them understand again why it's a little bit more you know, excellent recall so do you feel like you have the beginnings of your story? Like if you're starting to write about not necessarily your bio because we talked about the little earlier but like talking about what you do and what's important teo and andi also how how it all matters to the client what do you know? I definitely feel like being on the spot and like having to answer these questions honestly and you know, kind of putting yourself out there and really thinking about, you know, what's important to you I think that's I already feel like this just this sitting down has been helpful, okay, yeah and I feel like it's it's really cool to answer these and and really be accountable for you know what you're putting out there, so I think that thank you that's a great compliment and a great point and I think that speaks to a lot of people will want to gloss over all this and just come up with, you know, the first thing that comes into your mind it's like that's good enough, but I think when we do this process when we give ourselves that luxury of saying that we want to give it the time and the thought it deserves, then we really come up with valuable things I mean, I haven't met you before this class, and all of a sudden I'm invested in your career like I feel like, oh, I want to know I want to keep knowing what she's doing and because you've told me stories through the answers you've given that make me feel like, oh, she is going to be doing stuff she's going she's already doing it and she's a student. So I have to follow this and that's what you want to get out of people, whether their customer or just ah interested observer, you want those stories teo resonate with, um so great thank you, thank you so much you go back and sit down just maybe for a couple minutes if any of you have thoughts around, you know, emily just had amazing transformational eye opening experience right here it is ten minutes of conversation which is exactly what this is all about is asking yourself those right questions and to explore what it is that your story telling and what you're doing did you find anything within that conversation even though you're doing something completely different that was relatable for yourself and I opening yeah, I was kind of laughing over here just because I know about you guys but just because I just had this conversation about the maybe other people not quite understanding your field or what it is you're doing I just had this the other day and it was as we were walking through bridesmaids shopping, walking through north sharing we passed through the designer section and some people in the party might have, you know, giggle a little bit and scoffed at some prices and and I can see how it's not everyone's taste or you know, whether it's just something you're not in like costumes but anyway finding the value in it and that's why I keep going back to like the videos that you're saying and thinking about one of the other people that I follow pretty religiously on social media is christian dior who always posted detail videos of like making many scale dress and like going through the process of what it takes to make one little flower that has thousands on this one dress and and it does kind of put things into perspective, whether you're not the person that's buying the costumes or the, you know, super expensive her dress like why, why? It is what it is, and and I think that's probably a good thing to like, base like your value off of two definitely, and I love that. I mean, this speaks to what what we mentioned earlier in terms of, you know, educating your consumer, and I like that you said that specifically about the flower because, you know, the single flower that and the dress has, you know, hundreds of them is sometimes it doesn't have to be this video to show you the whole process, it could be a teaser, you know, you can treat it like I'm going. This is a really cool part of how this works, the mechanics of a costume or the beating on a garment like it might be a small section and you show the process, and then you see the impact of, like, wow, that took that long and imagine how long it took teo to beat that dress all those kinds of things again, the level the scale can be on your terms of what you want to share, what you think is valuable and it's all part of your story telling