From sketch to finished product… it might seem like magic sometimes! The TopVintage in-house brands, Vintage Diva, Glamour Bunny (business babe), Rock-a-Booty & of course our own Topvintage Boutique collection, are real fashion gems that are our pride and joy. Brands built on a lot of love and attention to detail, which is reflected in the individual pieces. I too am still amazed every time the finished product is ready to be launched. Are you curious about the Topvintage in-house design process? I’ll walk you through it!
It all starts with inspiration sessions,
mood boards and sketches
The process always starts with the initial question: what will make our customer happy? For us, this is the most important aspect and the starting point of any design process. Who is our customer, what does she look like? What does she need? And how can we keep surprising her with dresses she can only dream about?
Every collection starts with an inspiration session. For our brands we look to the gorgeous clothes from the 50s, 60s and the groovy 70s for inspiration. The biggest sources of inspiration are still, of course, the iconic women from the best fashion eras of the last century. Women like Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot. We then incorporate the modern customer perspective. What does a customer anno 2022 want and how can we translate this into our typical feminine style with a perfect fit? Just to name a few.
Personally, I draw a lot of inspiration from footage from the fifties, such as films and TV shows. I can lose myself in Dior sketches from the 1950s. It’s nice to see clothes move on screen, it gives you a better idea of how the item fits and the drape of the fabric. Is the fabric flowy or firm? Is it chiffon or is it boiled wool that is rough and stiff with a low drape? Those are all things that we need to consider when it comes to making a design. Using this information, our design team makes a mood board using all the images that inspire us. This might be colours, certain shapes and textures. We draw inspiration from all sorts of things. But this makes total sense since fashion is such an all-encompassing thing.
After this we start making our initial hand-drawn sketches to express the romance and feel of the product. These are quick black and white sketches in pen depicting the overall look of the garment. We are going to use this line-up of black and white sketches to create our collection.
concept stage to technical drawing
The initial concept stage is our first step towards putting together the collection. In the later concept stage, we mainly look at the pieces that make up the collection: how many swing/pencil dresses will be included and are there any individual pieces that we would like to include? We also check if the pieces can be worn together and whether the colour distribution is right. Of course, we don't want an entire black or red collection but a nice variety. The most important thing is to cater to the needs of as many customers as possible while also remaining innovative and slightly exciting in what we have to offer.
We then start working on the technical drawings, which is like a guide for production, for example detailing where the seams of the dress are placed. These drawings are then forwarded to our suppliers and then it’s a matter of waiting until the first samples arrive.
samples and more samples
It is always a special moment when a box of samples arrives at our head office. This preproduction sample is developed from the design sketch and is actually a test to see if we like the dress the way it is before it goes into production. We are always curious how our designs will turn out and seeing our designs come to life is such a wonderful experience. The unboxing kind of feels like it’s Christmas morning.
First we check if the dress turned out the way we thought it would. I’m often surprised by the collection that we worked on ourselves. After that we focus on the perfect fit. We have 3 to 4 sample rounds to try the dresses on and to perfect the fit. Creating the most perfect fit for our customers is always a matter of centimetres.
Time for fitting sessions
During fitting sessions we check the fit, the colour, the texture and the drape and look of the garments. It’s also a good idea to examine the overall look of the collection by putting all the items together to check the distribution of colours, fabrics and prints. Is this what we had in mind when we created the mood board? If so, we can give the final go-ahead and production can start.
While production is still in full swing, we already get the final samples. We use these samples for our photoshoot. During this photoshoot we take product photos as well as atmospheric photos that we can use for our website and social media channels. Together with the photographers, we decide on the models and location. With these choices we try to convey the mood board of the collection to the customer. We want to tell a story and set a mood.
Then it’s time for the final stage
When the items arrive at our warehouse, they are unpacked and stickered. After that, the items are meticulously checked by our quality control ladies. They check if everything is well executed and the finished product is compared to the samples we received previously. Once the unique product descriptions are added, the items are ready to go online. With all of the preparations out of the way, the different departments get together to decide on a launch date for the new collection. And then the moment is finally here: a new collection that was created with a lot of love and attention to detail is ready to be sold. Ready to be worn and treasured for years <3
‘’It is not about the dress you wear, but it’s about the life you lead in the dress’’ - Diana Vreeland