When I meet new people and I tell them I’m a fashion designer, this is the response I often get. Well, I guess it is pretty cool, but I don’t really think of it that way since it’s hard work. It’s a job like any other, and I’m the worst boss I’ve ever had. I supposed it sounds a lot more interesting and glamorous than my previous day jobs, such as Human Resources and Accounting Manager, or Recruiter (no one ever thought those were “cool”). I have been *almost* full time as a designer of my womenswear line for about a year and a half now (“almost”, I did go back to work as a recruiter for a few months last year. But that’s another blog post). I’ve noticed that there are a few questions that I get asked frequently, so I thought I would answer them here.
“Do you sew everything yourself?”
No- I do sew my prototypes and samples, draft all my patterns, and sometimes cut styles in small quantities. But otherwise, I’m not a super fast sewer, and even with my small quantities (30 or more per style) – that’s way too much for me to sew efficiently. I am grateful to have a great sewing contractor located 2 miles from my studio. If I’m producing small quantities of a simple style, I will sometimes cut all of them, (as I recently did for the 3/4 sleeve version of our Katy top, below.)
“Where do you get your ideas?”
An idea will often just pop in my head when I’m out on a walk or working out, and I don’t know where it comes from. Sometimes, I will choose a fabric swatch for inspiration and start sketching. Sometimes I’ll start with a basic concept, like stripes, and doodle and see where that takes me (which is certainly the most fun way to get ideas). Now that I have produced several styles, a good starting point is to take existing silhouettes and edit them, rather than reinventing the wheel every time. I am currently working on a much needed outerwear design, and it’s fun to spend some good juicy creative time focusing on a totally new design, which I haven’t had time to do in a while.
“Did you study fashion at school?”
Yes. A few years ago, I went back to school to study patternmaking and fashion design at Apparel Arts. I loved it from day one – I like being creative while staying within the technical parameters of a garment. This was different than making art, where parameters are virtually nonexistent. I have an art background and I was stuck in a creative rut when I took some sewing lessons. I really enjoyed the lessons, and after they ended, I began sewing garments from commercial patterns. I soon itched to learn more. I eventually ended up in school at Apparel Arts -and long story short, and Harumi K was born a few years later!
I hope you enjoyed this post – if you have any other questions about being a fashion designer, or any other questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below. For more frequent news and updates, please also check out my Facebook and Instagram pages. Thanks for reading!