Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Let's Talk About: Target Customers

the Target Customer

One of the most critical moments in designing fashion is creating a concept that will sell to a specific shopper. This person or group is called the Target Customer. It is for them that designers struggle to find the perfect idea that will make up into the accessory or garment that this shopper cannot pass up and must buy. Without this center figure, the fashions would hang forever, unsold and neglected.

So how does the design room define this person or group? They are different for each company. Every brand has its own ideal shopper. The personality profile includes: age, income, size range, personal style and preferences, lifestyle and location, career and hobbies.

By defining these details, a customer type can be identified. With that in mind, it is easier to eliminate designs that aren’t suitable, and to develop designs that are. Will the customer like this? Will they wear that? These are the questions that the designer will be asked when they present their line to the company manager or owner.

Let’s start with an imaginary target customer. We can easily think of a real person who loves fashion that we know. From this we can identify their age range, financial profile, size and build, likes and dislikes in style, color and trend, what they do for a living, where they live and how they like to spend their free time. This is the core of a target customer profile.

But we need to look further. Where and how they shop is a key issue. What type of retail stores do they buy their clothing and accessories from? Today shoppers go to more than one source, so your target customer might have several stores, both online and ‘brick and morter’ that they like to shop at. They may also be loyal to several brands (and these might be your competition). Identify the brands they like for several garment categories. Also include the price range they pay when they shop.

Our next step is to determine why they are shopping. This can give us clues as to what they will want and how much selection they need to have. Someone whose only coat has torn will be looking for a coat because they NEED one. This is not an impulse buy, it is a requirement of their climate and lifestyle. Whether the coat has an on trend look, or is more conservative would be affected by the target customer’s income, lifestyle and preferences. One example might be that men by their socks because they need them, but women by their socks because they like the style and want them.

Other target customer purchases could be impulse based and might be an item that is attractive but not necessary to the target customer’s survival or life style. So, shopping patterns are important to the design room staff. By understanding these needs they can design a product that will fit the customer’s desires and be easier to sell.

Target Customer Profile

1. Sex and age range:
2. What type of community do they live in?
(Rural/country, small town, urban, large town, City/large town, or other )
3. U.S. region and climate that they live in? Are there climate extremes?:
4. What type of Figure do they have, including their height.
5. What do they do for a living? What is their Job or Career?
6. What is their level of Education or Training?
7. Annual Income, household, what is their income range?
8. What is their marriage status?
9. What is their family status, do they have children?
10. What kind of home do they live in? Do they rent or own?
11. Free time: Do they travel or take vacations? Does this affect their wardrobe?
12. What do they like to do in their free time? Do they have a favorite recreation or hobby?
13. Colors: What are their favorite colors for clothing? They may wear more than one color group, depending on the season
14. Personality type: How does this person relate on a social level? (Outgoing, confident/Quiet, shy/Intellectual, thoughtful/Sexy, social/Classic, traditional/Experimental, innovative)
15. Fashion type: How does this person adapt to trends and new fashion ideas? (Early adopter/Trend setter/ Trend follower/ Late trend follower / Not a trend follower
16. Stores and Shopping: where do they shop for apparel? List those stores. Fashion type: How does this person adapt to trends and new fashion ideas?
17. Brands and Designers: Do they look for certain brands or designers? List those for the top categories of apparel that they wear.
18. Information and Media: Where do they get their information on trends and styles?

The advertisement for Pendleton is from 1956 and shows their ideal target customer at that time, including her car and accessories.

This original article on the Target Customer is part 7 of a series on fashion design that are posted here at Pintucks. The contents of this article are the intellectual property of this blog. Please do not copy any content to another blog or digital media without contacting me first. I will ask that you link back to this article and give reference to this source within your feature. If you are using content for a research paper or project, please link back to this page in the traditional academic format, thank you!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Embroidered Folk Wear Tops

Fashion trends are inspired by the 1970's this fall. Peasant blouses and folk wear tunics embellished with embroidery are going strong. The fashions shown here are from 1972. These styles offer fun and inspiring ideas that can be applied to today's tops and blouses.

Machine and hand embroidery is making a come-back too. Embroidery is easy to learn and hand work is as portable as knitting or crochet. If that seems like too much trouble, you can add trims like the lower top seen here. It uses brocade ribbon down the sleeves and front. Vintage trims like this can be found online that would work perfectly in a peasant top. It's details like this that make sewing for yourself so rewarding. Or make this a holiday project and sew up a top as the perfect gift.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sew your Party Dress: McCall's 6646

"The Party Dress Book by Mary Adams" has many inspiring styles of party dresses that are based on a simple princess seamed bodice. It includes creative tips for sewing your own special dress too. McCall's patterns has entered this arena with a dress pattern #6646 that is nearly identical to the pattern that is used in this book. It's a basic princess seamed bodice with sweet-heart neckline. The McCall's dress pattern has several bodice options and a gathered or "A" line type skirt.

Using the book and McCall's 6466 pattern might be the perfect mix. You'll get step-by-step help in making the bodice, which has boning for a great fit. This top may have straps or it can be worn strapless. The book has several great shoulder strap ideas that can be used instead. The McCall's version shows a ruched gathered bodice and a smooth fitted one, so the possibilities are limitless!

read "The Party Dress Book" review on Pintucks

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fern Violette: California Designer

This dress was designed by Fern Johnson Violette. She was born in 1920 in Montana, and grew up on a farm. At age 19, she married Ed Violette and had soon had a daughter. In her early 20’s they moved to Southern California to work in the aircraft factories during WWII.

After the war, Fern worked for a Los Angeles apparel manufacturer. While there she found that she was a natural for the fashion business. This inspired Fern to open her own company, under the “Fern Violette” label. She produced high-end women’s fashions from a location at 48 Market Street in Venice, California.

Later in her career, she hired Jay Morley, Jr. (1981 – 1997) to design for her. He is credited with his name on the label. Jay was the son of a well known actor from the early movie era and worked in the movie business as well. He had a prolific career from 1949 to 1957 as a low budget film costume designer, and is often given screen credit for his gowns. He was known to produce fashions that were more dramatic that Fern’s own earlier signature style.

Fern’s fashions are said to have been worn by Jackie Kennedy, among others. Her line was sold at Bloomingdale’s, Sak’s Fifth Ave, and the Los Angeles luxury store: Bullock’s Wilshire. She designed until the mid-1970’s when she retired with her husband and moved back to Montana where she lived until she passed away in 2010.

This "Fern Violette" design is a cotton two-piece dress, probably from the mid 1950's. It features a rolled collar with a "V" back.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back to School Fashions, 1959

Gotta love how the 1950's and 60's were so excited about 'back to school' and fall fashions in general. That was always the thickest magazine issue of the year. I guess after a summer of old cotton dresses, new wool Chanel-style suits, crisp paisleys and plaids were a sight for sore eyes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Let's Talk About: Pantone Color Report for Spring 2013

Now that the Spring 2013 Runway shows are over, Pantone has released to the public the courtesy version of their color prediction for next spring. These colors look alot like a bright rainbow crayon box, with clear versions of the basic colors we are familiar with. It has the primaries: red, blue, yellow. And there are the secondary colors: orange, green and violet. The deep "Monaco Blue" you see here was also predicted to be "the" color for spring. It looks like denim to me, and that's about the way it was described. In the past their prediction shows up in the season's most popular items, so start looking for it now.

I created this 'crayon box' layout so that you can see the whole rainbow group. If you click on the image, you will see it full size. You'll notice that all of the central colors we use are here, along with a few accents. Now it's your turn to design a color mood board that show one of these colors and how it is seen fashion, accessories or home decor. How will you use these color influences?

This original article on Pantone color for Spring 2013 is part 6 of a series on fashion design that are posted here at Pintucks. The contents of this article are the intellectual property of this blog. The Pantone logo and colors are the property of Pantone. Please do not copy any content to another blog or digital media without contacting me first. I will ask that you link back to this article and give reference to this source within your feature. If you are using content for a research paper or project, please link back to this page in the traditional academic format, thank you!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

1960 Dress Style: How to Get That Look

Aren't these classic dresses from 1960 cute? They are from a Penney's department store advertisement. The dresses are cotton and use a black and white gingham check. What makes each one special are the details: pockets, borders and banding trims.

When you plan to sew a dress like this, designing the details are half the fun. This ad has very simple dresses when you look at the cut and style, yet the details make each one seem interesting and stylish. All of these elements would be easy to copy using a pattern that has the basic fit.

1960 Dresses: I found some current fashion patterns that could be used to sew up your own dress in this early 1960's style. What I looked for were fitted bodices with either simple darts or princess seam lines. For a curvy figure, those princess seams are best, since a clean fit can be shaped down the bodice dart in front. More slender figures can use the simple darted bodices.

It isn't easy to find a current dress pattern with a fitted bodice and gathered skirt. You may want to make your own full skirt. Many of the best full skirts are about 3 yards around, or 108". This was probably due to the fact that their cottons were sold in 36" widths. They would cut 3 panels that were the full fabric width and sew them together down the selvage edges for each skirt.

Some skirts are gathered, others are "knife pleated". These are the small pleats you see in dresses that tend to 'flatten' the skirt around the waistline. For many, this results in a more slender look at the waistline.

Yardage: How much fabric do we need for a full skirt?
1. Measure your length from waistline to hem.
2. We want about 108"(36" x 3)around for this skirt. If we use current 42" wide fabric, we need 3 panels. Two would be the full fabric width, but the third panel is going to be only 24" wide. If your fabric print is large, you may need to make adjustments to plan for the motif.
3. For each panel, add 2" for the hem and 1/2" for the seam allowance around the waistline. This means that yardage for a skirt with three panels would require: 3X length + 7.5".

Next we will look at how to get our details and trims to have the same cute look!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

NY Public Library: Fashion in the Files

Here is a fashion design from 1939 that includes both front, back and schematic views. You can find more like this in the New York Public Library digital gallery collection. Just enter your search terms. "Costume", "fashion", "sewing" are some good terms to try out. If you use an image, be sure to credit the collection. When it comes to eras, the entire 20th century is often a single category (rather than by each decade).

In this collection you will find more fashion designs like this, book illustrations, and photos. The Andre fashion illustration collection from the 1930's and 40's is a great style resource for that era. The designs include coats, suits and dresses by the Andre Fashion Studios. Most are from the 1930's. This is a huge collection of 5,415 images (so plan to fall down the rabbit hole with this link!).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

1963 Swimsuit Design: Rose Marie Reid advertisement

Super cool 1963 swimsuit design with a flirty Flapper look by California designer Rose Marie Reid, whose fabrics and designs forged new silhouettes in traditional swim wear fashions. Her innovative approach for this blouson swim suit pre-dated the bra-less era by nearly 5 years. Her style parallels that of Rudi Gernreich who worked in the same locale at the same time.

Magazine ad reads:
New minimum of maillot that blousons into a stained glass print of Helanca nylon knit! Rose Marie Reid does the look without a bra. Wear it with your own if you still want to after the delight of wearing it au naturel. "Glissando" $25.95. The glowing print by Soptra