Springing Forward

By Sarah Campli

With the weather being pretty summer-like here in New York, we’ve been feeling more inspired to start working on the ZAC Zac Posen Spring ’17 outerwear line. Fall ’16 will be the biggest season yet for the company, and it’s been pretty draining to work on (we’ve developed around 40 styles.) Needless to say, none of the design team has been jumping at the chance to completely start from scratch and begin working on a new season – especially since a Spring collection is nowhere near the size of a Fall one for the outerwear business. For example, for Spring ’16 we only cut four styles. Next Spring season, we may want to expand a little more, possibly to ten styles. The design team will probably start sketching and developing actual styles in a month or so, sadly after my co-op has already ended. However, we always come up with a color story, start fabric sourcing, and do trend forecasting before sketching. It seems like it would be the other way around, to sketch first and then find fabrics, but there are certain deadlines you have to meet when ordering and developing fabrics. Also, it’s helpful to have fabrics and colors already picked out after you’re done sketching, so you can choose which one will be used where. This way, you’re creating a cohesive color story and not overusing one particular color or fabric.

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The past two days I’ve been digging through all of our fabric bins looking for potential color standards. Color standards are are used to create our color story, which we keep throughout the design process as references. We also send them to fabric mills and factories in order to have things dyed or other fabrics created in that specific color. Because of this they can only be solid colors, no prints. Sometimes we will use a fur or a leather to represent texture, which gives interest to a mood board. The colors we’re looking for are soft and neutral yet with pops of metallics: a lot of taupey shades as well as navy, olive, and soft gray. It’s a very understated palette, bordering on pastel. We’re also considering a warmer palette that has a more tropical, world traveler vibe. As more and more trend reports come out for next year, we’ll be able to figure out a clear direction. That’s why it’s always important to keep up to date with sites like WGSN and Fashion Snoops – I know I check them almost every day when I have downtime at work. They’re always releasing color palettes, mood boards, and other content to provide designers with inspiration for their future collections and keep them up to date with what’s happening in retail now.
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