How do you feel when you read the words:
Excitement? Anxiety? Confusion? Fear?
When I talk to designers about patternmaking and samplemaking, many people say they feel paralyzed.
The upfront costs for creating your first pattern and sample can look so intimidating that it becomes the most frequent point of giving up.
Especially if you don’t have the accountability of a program, peers or mentorship behind you.
So, when we reached this point in the Factory45 accelerator program this year, I brought in Lenese Calleea to talk to everyone about product development.
Lenese is the owner of LC Apparel Consulting in New York City and her business is focused on educating new designers, specifically around product development.
Typically, these live classes are exclusive to the Factory45 program but I wanted to share one piece of Lenese’s wisdom because it’s such a common question that comes up.
And it’s the importance of reference samples.
Reference samples are example garments that you bring to your pattern/samplemaker to accompany your spec sheet or sketches.
Providing examples of seams or stitches or binding or pockets or sleeves or collars or whatever you have a vision for will help immensely in the communication with your product development team.
So often I find designers are afraid of “copying” existing garments when, if done correctly, this step is critical to your patterns and samples being developed the way you envisioned.
Should you bring in a pair of Lululemon leggings and tell your samplemaker to make an identical replica?
But there are ways to combine elements of different garments so that you’re not starting product development from scratch.
Factory45 alumni mentor Hannah McDermott put together this screenshot of reference samples she used to develop her swimwear line.
This is just one tidbit of advice that Lenese shared that I felt was imperative to shout from the rooftops for anyone about to go into product development.
It will save you so much time, money and frustration if you’re able to gather these reference samples in the beginning.
And your pattern and samplemaker will definitely thank you : )
P.S. If you’re interested in working with Lenese and her team, you can learn more about her services here. She also hosts a podcast called BlackNFashion that you can listen to here.