Shopping Cart

The Creative Journey -13 Steps to Building a Collection

October 28, 2015 · 4 Comments

I am often asked how I build a collection. I usually go on a ramble because it isn't just a quick trip. Building a collection usually means sitting in a quiet place, shutting myself off from the world, only taking the time to eat take-out, and then calling it quits right before I reach insanity!

Before this point, I've accumulated a ton of little folders on my desktop of research and inspiration and have a small pile of random sketches I've collected, and now it's time to sit down and actually figure out what I'm trying to say. I will sit down and sketch only a couple of times a year, but it's very relaxing and fun when I get to. I am a V E R Y visual person. I need to see everything laid out on a piece of paper in front of me to understand and really see what i'm working with. 

Two things I constantly ask myself when building each collection are "What story am I trying to tell?" and "Are these looks cohesive?", among many others things like "when did I shower last?" and "why are cucumbers the only vegetable shrink wrapped?". 

But in all seriousness, building a collection is emotionally and physically exhausting. Here are the rough steps I take:

#1. Collect inspiration & do trend research (which is constantly happening).

#2.  ......Procrastinate.

#3. Panic.

#4. Create a theme, direction and story that I want to tell.

#5. Begin sketching and finalize collection (or atleast believe I have finalized a collection).

#6. Begin pattern drafting. Which is usually the longest and most painful part. During this phase... many things change. Suddenly you realize ideas and details you wanted to include are not feasible or need to be compromised.

#7. Source fabric, see what is available .

( #5, #6 & #7 can all be interchanged, it just depends which comes to me first. Although, finding the fabric first is the most tactful place to start because if I can't find the correct colour or fabric, my vision is busted.... And don't forget to insert step #2 repeatedly through the process. )

#8. Cut and sew prototypes. Realize they don't work. Re-work the patterns and try again.

#9. And just when you're feeling completely creatively, emotionally and physically drained, repeat step #6 over and over again (usually minimum of 3 times). Oh, and don't forget to do this for e v e r y  s i n g l e  g a r m e n t.

#10. When you have mastered the last step, you can now sew the final samples.

#11. When final samples are complete, a photoshoot needs to be planned and executed including look books and catalog shots of the product. Don't forget to source out models and a photographer along with a location.

#12. Now you need to figure out how to produce and sell these along with develop costing, line sheets, grade all the patterns, blah blah blah.

#13. And finally, do it all over again. Because even though it's Fall 2015, you need to have your Fall 2016 collection almost ready at this point.

WARNING: Be sure to do all of these steps super last minute, so that you can experience the full effects of building a collection. Including but not limited to; weeping quietly next to your sewing machine at 4 am and not knowing what day of the week it is.

And that's truly just the Coles notes of what actually goes into this. Every day is different and interesting and I love how creative I get to be! As overwhelming as everything sometimes is, I can honestly say I love my job.

Also, incase you haven't figured it out yet, working in the fashion industry is SO not glamorous, atleast 90% of the time. 


Follow us on Snap Chat for all of the behind the scenes -> ShopZafira



Leave a comment


  • Great Article Conni XO

    KAthleen on
  • Hah. The evolution of the garment!!!!! Love the article – a pleasure to read and share

    Theresa on
  • I love this article!

    NAtasha on

    Stefano sani on