In the fashion business, it is vital to keep detailed records of your designs, fabrics, samples, and patterns. Firstly, you don’t want to repeat yourself. Secondly, you may need to refer back to certain techniques or styles for inspiration or manufacturing purposes. Finally, you may want to use certain elements of a design in a new creation – How can you do that if you have no physical records or details of your product development history?
Keep a record of all your patterns
Patterns are a vital part of the fashion industry and ensuring you keep records of yours is important. You can reference back to previous patterns for inspiration with new designs. You can also avoid your stored patterns to ensure you don’t create the same design over and over. Or alternatively, if a style or pattern comes back into fashion, you have a sample ready to work from.
How you store records of patterns should be done with care and forethought. Do not stick to one form of storage to your patterns. What happens if you have physical records of your patterns, and they get damaged or stolen? Or what happens if you only have digital copies of your patterns and you have an HDD failure? Keep both a physical record, and a several digital copies – One on your computer/laptop, and another on a separate external hard drive. Ensure your patterns have detailed notes such as what fabrics and color were used and any relevant manufacturing processes or stock information.
Keep physical fabric samples
Aside from patterns, fabric samples are also highly important in the fashion industry. Designers can easily refer back to fabric samples for future projects. While it may seem easier to simply keep a written record of your fabrics, an actual visual representation will be much easier to use. Fabric samples must be stored in a safe manner to avoid degradation of quality. Do not use any type of adhesive or glue – This can damage the fabric and destroy its structure and color. Furthermore, do not keep different fabrics stored together – the colors of the fabric can seep into one another and distort their appearance.
Keep records of all your final designs
While keeping records of your patterns and fabric samples is vital, it is also advisable to keep records of your finished garments and designs. Having a record of each garment you have produced will give you a catalog of work to gain inspiration from. If you have space and the facilities, you could keep 1 finished garment or test sample as a full reference of your work. Furthermore, you could photograph each finished item and keep a digital archive of your designs to refer back too.
Whatever you choose to do, you must preserve your work and ideas. While inspiration and new ideas will come naturally to the flourishing fashion designer, there is nothing wrong with cataloging your work and taking ideas from previous garments and styles. Aside from keeping records, it is also worth considering copyright law, and the possibility of copyrighting your patterns etc.