Collection 18 works with accessories such as hats, gloves, and scarves. Scarves is their largest market. They sell and produce different lines of scarves that range from a licensee to their own private label. The way business works is around each retail season, which leads them to trend forecast about six months in advance. When walking in, it is a very clean line look in the showroom. Each showcase was organized by brand. Scarves varied from hanging to folded, and they were also sorted by price point.
Some of the brands that they work with and produce products for:
-BCBG, Vince Camuto, Kensie, Glit, Free Spirit, and Lenette Lepore
For each brand there are typically 30-35 designs.
Presenters: Rachel was the main speaker, and her intern was Ella. They are both from the UK, and they were in the process of trying to get Ella a more permanent Visa. As an intern Ella was selected because of her impeccable talent when it comes to design. Although only those two were giving us the tour, a few other people were organizing displays. Overall you could tell that this is a very small design team.
When designing, the one thing that the designers must always keep in mind is to design within the brand’s specific aesthetic. After mock-ups have been made and put onto the floor, the showroom becomes ready for buyers to come in. They purposely keep the showroom very white, plain, and pretty empty. This is done so that designers can envision how these designs may work with the rest of their line. It also helps buyers envision if it will go along with what is already in the store. They also cross-merchandise to help buyers out as well.
Rachel: She came here from the United Kingdom about 25 years ago. Her degree was in textile design, and she started as a painter. She really loves painting and bringing the painting to life on an apparel item. This passion for art is what led her to scarves. She showed us some designs that they currently have out, and the one that stood out to me the most was the zodiac signs. They were all really beautiful with different color schemes.
Experience needed: When asking about experience needed for an entry level job, or even just an internship with Collection 18 a design background is needed. Art can be translated directly to the designs for the items sold, but technology is the connecting piece. Therefore it is crucial to know design software design programs.
How this relates to the fashion world: Collection 18 has a wide variety of clients from high end department stores like Nordstrom and Saks to lower end stores like Kohl’s. Accessories work in the same way that other clothing items work in the way that they must be designed months before the next season. Also, just the basics of the different types of fabrics used to make the accessories goes back to the production step. Collection 18 uses anything from Italian heavy silks, to yarns that can be woven, knitted, embroidered, crocheted and tie-dyed. They also must be flexible as once the product is out on the floor, the designs and styles speak for themselves and their work is done. From then on it goes onto other jobs of buyers in the fashion world to choose them, put them in the stores, and then become purchased by the consumer.