As we enter the Winter Semester of our Sewing For Jobs program, the team at EcoEquitable thought it would be great timing to share our advice on starting a career in fashion! These tips come from our Sewing For Jobs instructors and team members, all of whom have experience in Ottawa fashion design.
Love, passion and creativity is the essence to being successful.
When it comes to starting a fashion brand, the most important things to maintain are your love and passion for fashion, as well as your creative flow. You have a dream that you want to fulfill, and you deserve to stay excited about that dream. We suggest always leaving a little wiggle room in your schedule to just play with fabric and see where your creativity takes you!
Start with the basics, then take it from there.
We know. It is so tempting to just dive right into producing an entire line of clothing and starting your brand immediately, and that excitement and determination are good qualities to have, especially at the beginning of your fashion journey!
However, it’s a good idea to start slowly, and build both your skills and your style. When you’re focusing on building a brand, you want to make sure that you are creating durable, good quality clothing that has a unique look to it. Maybe your cuts are different from typical patterns, or maybe you use only one or two colours in all your designs, or maybe you’re about to think of something that no one has thought of before. Practice sewing and taking risks in your work to create innovative fashion that people will absolutely love!
Designing for everyone means designing for no one. Know your market and customers first.
When you’re deciding what type of brand you want to be, one of the most important things to keep in mind is your audience. Who are you designing for? Are you designing for yourself, and therefore people in your demographic? Are you designing to fill an innovative gap in the clothing industry? These questions will be critical in ensuring that you are able to move your merch once you sew it. Otherwise, you may find that because there was no one in mind when you designed, your styles are not popping out to anyone and they are staying on the shelves.
Focus on efficiency, not perfectionism.
Ensuring that you are sewing good quality clothes is of course an absolute must when it comes to creating a sustainable fashion brand, and you should always be happy with how your designs turn out. If you’re happy, your customers will be happy!
However, it also bodes well to focus on efficiency when you’re in production mode. We suggest that you hone your time management and organization skills as this will elevate your ability to channel focus effectively, and will really help out when you're sewing! Whether you organize your time by creating your own assembly line for your products or using a made-to-order model to ensure you never get too out of hand in the sewing room, designing your own, efficient work plan for producing the garments you design is a very important step in developing a brand that will sustain itself.
A designer's job is to find solutions, not just to create art.
As sustainable fashion grows increasingly important, working innovation into your designs is a crucial step to standing out as a brand that both looks great and is great for the consumer (and planet)! Is your goal to find a solution to fast fashion and textile waste? Consider sourcing all of your materials sustainably (a great spot to look is our Eco Fabric Boutique *wink*). Or maybe you want to fill a gap in fashion by adding a new feature to a staple garment, or even to create a new staple item that will parade every closet.
Our point is, create something new and something useful or desired so that your designs not only add to the fashion realm, but also add value to the lives of the people who will wear them!
When you’re ready to launch, apply for local markets and reach out to consignment stores in your area!
This is a great way to get local, immediate exposure, and to meet other creators to support and learn from them! Some of our favourite Ottawa markets are:
Above All: Believe in yourself and everything is possible!
This is going to be a lot of work, and there will be difficult moments ahead of you as you navigate the highs and lows of Ottawa fashion design. But, the power of mindset does wonders for our team here at Eco, and it can do the same for you! Never lose sight of your goals and always remember that this journey started with a dream, that you get to make a reality!
Written by: A. B. Hart