Let Some Sunshine Into Your Knitwear Design Business - Part 2
Welcome back to the next installment in our series. We started out by considering what we want from our business and where we want it to go. Deep stuff - and it can be hard for some to put it onto paper in one simple concise statement. Don’t stress over this, if your mission is more like a list of declarative statements, they will also serve as touchstones whenever you reach a crossroads or wonder what’s next. Use your mission statement(s) as guides whenever basic questions arise and you’re not sure which way to go.
Our topic this time is to continue with some more foundational elements of our business that will build on our mission statement(s). I like examples and so I have crafted a mission statement that will serve as a guidepost for the remainder of these articles. Our example mission statement is - “To create innovative knitwear designs, using sustainably sourced fibers, which reflect our love of nature and the natural environment.”
Next - What is your design / fashion style? To be noticed, to make your business a success you must stand out from the crowd. We are staying with basic elements in this second post and one of the most basic is the style that is or will be visible through your designs. Consider some of the most widely followed pattern designers on Ravelry, such as Anthropologie, Brooklyn Tweed, or Westknits. Each of these businesses, and many many more, have styles that are unique to them. To stand out from those behemoths you must be able to articulate your style through your pattern designs.
Your style is in there; if you already know what it is and can articulate it in a few words and images then you are ahead of the game. But if you aren’t sure or simply want to explore opportunities then let’s step off. You should strive to describe your style in a single sentence or even in a word. Perhaps your style is sporty, classic, street, casual, or a combination of these. But if when you try to articulate what your style is, and you stare at the computer screen or the writing page for minutes and draw a blank then you need to take some time and dig it out.
Do you want your pattern designs to be based on nature, or are you drawn to geometrics, or soft colors, or does smart casual catch your eye?
Can't quite decide or don’t really know? Not to worry, the internet is filled with fashion images; or if your old school like me, get hold of a bunch of magazines. Either way, select the images that speak to you and start a file or an inspiration board(s). These are often called mood boards and will be useful throughout your life as a designer. Start putting images, swatches, leaves or flowers, pictures, quotes, etc. into your file or onto your boards. Mix and match, try complementary colors and fabrics until something in you says AHAAA.
After you have collected a few, or a few hundred, look a bit closer. What is it about these fashion images that speaks to you? Is it the color, the line, the asymmetry, the type of yarn, or a particular type of stitch or stitches? Take notes and begin to narrow the field. Mark up the images to show what it is that you found useful. This will help you in the future when you refer back to these if ever you get stuck on a design.
Eventually, your conscious and sub-conscious will meld and your passion, your style will emerge. The idea of designing for everyone is fine when you are famous or extremely well known. For those of you reading this article, and you know who you are, you must be different to be noticed. And I don’t mean going over Niagara Falls in a barrel different – I mean be yourself. That is all you can ever be.
And so, on that note I will close this post and leave you to the important work of articulating your style and with a couple of quotes that you may find interesting.
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” Yves Saint Laurent.
“Style is something that each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” – Diane Von Furstenberg.