Monday, April 08, 2013

An Ode to the Hinterland; Harmonious Collection

This is the third in my ongoing series, documenting the design process for my upcoming collection, Hinterland.
Some of the yarn you'll see in Hinterland.

That notebook I talked about in the last post is vital to my ability to (sanely) coordinate all the rushing thoughts and half-thoughts in my head surrounding a collection.

It needs to be harmonious, of course, to be attractive. In an abstract, "gee that's pretty" sense, but also in a marketable sense. Bringing together designs that fit your theme and inspiration includes taking into account many factors, including clarifying who this collection is for, determining your available physical and intangible resources, and recognizing the limits and scope of the project.

I'll go in to just a few of these today.

Who is this Collection for?
It's been a challenge determining my market1, but I certainly know who I want to design for: young-minded women who want unique, wearable, and fashionable patterns to knit for themselves, their friends, and their family.

Style and Sizing
Women come in all ages, shapes and sizes. A very, very few of us reflect the actual sizes given on charts.
When it comes to the style of knits, I don't design for people's insecurities. I design for their happiness and joy.
By this, I mean that I find it presumptuous to assume that someone with body type X needs to have a garment that covers their socially-determined "flaws". Actually, I find it more than presumptuous, I find it insulting. I have, in the past, written about how demeaning I think many sources are when discussing how to dress yourself. I try to design garments I think are appealing to knit and to wear.  I don't slap a body-type label on them. That's not what it's about for me, and to do that would go against my beliefs as a feminist.
What I do make sure I do is include a significant size range, usually including seven sizes (that is, up to size 3 or 4XL).

Project Complements
I like to have my collections include a variety of larger and smaller projects, certainly when working towards an abstract theme like "the hinterland". I find creating this balance is challenging, because sometimes more ideas appear for a particular type of project than for others. Often, though, inspiration can be distilled into more basic and malleable elements such as a lace pattern or delicious cable, which then has the ability to morph from that initial sweater idea you had into a great pair of socks.
For Hinterland, I began with a vast rush of ideas, all over the place, garments, accessories, items for the home. When written down, I could sort them, and tried to axe some of them.
I instead opted for three collections, each including approximately five patterns.

I'll continue this thought in the next post, where I'll talk about one of the most fun parts of knitting... the yarn!

1 Check out Market Yourself by Tara Swiger as a great resource for, you guessed it, marketing.


Unknown said...

Bravo! We will all be much better off once we realize that there's no obligation to force our bodies into one "acceptable" shape.

Julie said...

ooh, what an intriguing idea! I love your owl mug, and blue sky alpaca is always amazing.

Hilary said...

As always, I'm loving reading about your design process! Regarding your great thoughts on sizing -- I agree wholeheartedly. And lately, I've been thinking a lot about adjustability when it constructed in such a way that someone could easily mod it to fit their shape? It's a hard part of being a want to be able to design for EVERYONE! But, a sizing option for, say, each of the 3 million Ravelry users probably isn't easy... :)