What happens in the fashion world before that coveted garment ever hits the runway? Many people are unaware of the life cycle of a garment. From the time it is conceived in the mind of the Designer to the moment the factory breathes life into it and the second it enters a sales floor, it goes through stages of it’s own life. And each phase has it’s own story. Until my friends met me, they rarely thought to look beyond face value at a garment and realize there was actually a person who thought of every little detail.
Denim is chosen based on character weave, shades of indigo, weight, wash performance. It needs to be able to translate the final story when the jean is complete. If it’s a broken in boyfriend jean, will it make much sense if it’s created with a polyester-heavy denim with a lot of stretch? Of course not. It needs to be 100% cotton, or mostly cotton.. with a nice heavy starting weight that will stand up to destroyed finishes and stonewashing.
The zippers and buttons, though merely functional to the naked eye, were well thought out and designed by someone. Someone somewhere decided on that little detail for the garment. There are literally thousands of different denim button options to choose from: styles, colors, finishes, shapes.
The thread color was the idea of the designer. Not all thread colors work well with every denim shade, finish or wash.
The shape of the back pockets; it’s placement on the jeans that determines the way your rear end will look. The back yoke shape and depth. The waistband construction, which determines how well they will fit your waist.
There is a progression of stages, thoughts, science and art that is poured into every garment you’ll ever wear. The life of a garment travels through many hands and many places before it ever reaches yours. It starts with a drawing and raw fabric. A collaboration of designers, assistants, fabric and trim agents, patternmakers, cutters, sewers, finishers, washers, sales reps and marketers all have a part in creating a garment that you as a consumer choose to wear. No doubt we have all seen Project Runway and were fascinated by the drama, glamour and hopeful fame and fortune that the designers wish for. The truth is it isn’t all glamour, glitz and notoriety. It’s hard work with its share of tragedy and comedy, delays, financial loss, sweatshops, knockoffs, competition, snags and stress. We are dealing with thousands of apparel units and very strict deadlines. If you ever have the opportunity to visit an apparel manufacturing facility in downtown L.A. you will quickly learn that there is no glamour in fashion beyond a New York runway. There is no such thing as a designer without a chaotic workspace. This is the life of fashion that I know.