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Why I’m doing our swimwear range totally wrong.

  • By Catherine Clavering
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Why I’m doing our swimwear range totally wrong.

Here’s how to release a swimwear collection like a Proper Fashion Designer…

1) Come up with some ideas

2) Develop and sample them in almost total secrecy, but pay attention to trade reports on what will be fashionable in a year.

3) Do some very glossy photographs of them on some models from an agency. Be nice and passive in them.

4) Reveal sample and pictures at trade shows 9-12 months in advance of it being produced. Send the pictures to the trade press at this stage.

5) Under no account let anyone take amateur pictures of them at any time.

6) Under no account let the glossy pictures out early

7) Under no account discuss the practical issues involved (the fabric we wanted wasn’t available, bra sizing is too expensive when you’re not making 1000′s, that sort of thing)

8) Try and get as many wholesale orders as you can in advance. Let high profile retailers have discounts or even sale-or-return if you need to.

9) Give the consumer press the images 6-9 months in advance because that’s when they need them to hit their print deadlines for when your product actually comes out.

10) Bask in your ability to ‘Do Fashion Properly’ once your collection comes out. Under no circumstances ask your customers anything about it.

It’s fair to say I’ve never been amazingly good at this, but I do make vague attempts at it with our bra sets simply because they take that long to develop and fit anyway, and we have to do quite a large amount. But swimwear is much easier – 25 components in a bra, but 5 in a bikini top!

Plus, because it’s easier to make (less specialist techniques and equipment) there are more factories who will do it which means shorter times between sampling and putting into production.

So I thought, balls to doing it properly, lets just be totally wrong with wild abandon.

Here’s how KMD did it:

1) Come up with some ideas. For various reasons end up side lining them for a few years until suddenly you think ‘Sod it, you need to just get it together’ and go for it, and bring it out 3 months after you start.

2) Go and ask facebook and twitter KMD readers what they like in swimwear.

3) Get slightly shocked when the answer is “bright colours and big prints”

4) Revamp your ideas on this basis. Brighten the colours you planned on and work out how to do prints.

5) Tell them you’ll let them have both as long as no-one insists on polka dots.

6) Take Zoe-The-Occasional-Intern to see the guy who does end of line fabrics in the UK (prints are insanely expensive, so to use them and make in the UK and still come in at our price point, we have to use what’s available.)

7) End up with a bag of bright colours and the dawning realisation that you’re slightly allergic to cheerfulness.

8) Get people to vote on which prints they like, using a terrible phone camera picture.

9) Show another terrible phone camera picture of first samples. Incorporate some slight tweaks from feedback from that.

10) Admit that the fabrics you wanted turn out to be unavailable, and re-vote all over again on a new bad picture!

11) Let people try it on if they turn up at your shop for events.

12) Do a glossy photo shoot entirely indoors using spiky eye patches, a sword, and flintlock pistols. BOOM. Also, arrrrrr.

13) Remember to tell your wholesale customers over a Bank Holiday weekend, 2 weeks in advance of it arriving. Decide some of it won’t be available to many of them anyway because you can do small amounts of things in the UK, and if you sell most of it direct to fans, that means you can reduce the retail price a bit.

14) Totally fail to tell the consumer press because you are quite rubbish at fashion press and also if they ask what the collection was inspired by, the answer would be “my podgy tummy, hatred of waxing, some of our lingerie, crowd sourced opinions, Zoe, a whole bunch of people who turned up at the shop, and actually selling stuff in June and July and August when usually people inexplicably stop buying suspender belts” which is not remotely what they like to print. Really must work on spouting fashion-tosh….

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