Smile for the Cameras! | GDN A/W’17 Showcase

Here at the Galway Designer’s Network we are in full swing preparing for our upcoming Autumn/Winter Showcase and the countdown is on as we creep towards September 9th.

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As any avid reader of this blog will know, the Galway Designers Network is a group that has been established to promote independent creativity and design. The Network was started because we felt that local designers in Galway and the surrounding areas were being overlooked in fashion shows and events due to the vast number of boutiques. We wanted to create a space for local designers to showcase their work and have a chance to gain exposure. The Autumn/Winter Showcase intends to do just that.

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GDN Founders, Ann Petrov & Gayle Ita

A selection of this season’s designers gathered together early on Sunday morning in the Showcase venue, Tribeton, for a promotional shoot.  Many of the images taken at the event will be used in the winder media as well as here on the blog and across our other social media channels as we approach the Big Day. The Galway Designers Network’s very own Aay Kay was on hand to capture some behind the scenes magic and as you will be able to see from the images that follow, Tribeton‘s stunningly ornate architecture will provide the most beautiful backdrop to this season’s event.

Want to know who the faces behind these collections are? Then come along to our Showcase on September 9th and stay up to date with our social media channels for more information about the talented people behind the designs.

As we have previously stated, this season’s venue is Tribeton, located on Merchants Road right here in Galway. There will be 3 individual showcases throughout the day:

Jewellery Design at 2pm

Millinery at 4pm

Clothing Design at 6pm.

Tickets for individual shows are priced at €15, or grab yourself a bundle ticket for €35 and spend the day in Tribeton, where you can enjoy 20% off all food all day or shop the Pop Up Market featuring all of the designers collections.  Your ticket will entitle you to a glass of prosecco, a goodie bag specific to the show and a front row seat.  If you want to get your hands on a ticket, go online via eventbrite.ie or head directly to Tribeton. There will also be a limited amount of standing tickets available for each show, but you must register your interest via eventbrite.ie prior to September 9th.

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The Galway Designers Network  is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can support your local fashion industry and keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Trend Watch: Pantone Greenery

Greenery is the Pantone Colour of the Year 2017. 

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http://www.pantone.com

What is the PANTONE Color of the Year?

‘A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.’

– Pantone Colour Institute

The PCI describe Greenery as a colour symbolic of new beginnings, representing the newness that Springtime brings. Emblematic of revival, restoration and renewal it captures the imagination leaving us all visualising lush green fields and flourishing trees. A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

The reason for Greenery being dubbed the Colour of the Year for 2017? Greenery is representative of nature, something which many of us have become far removed from due to the hectic nature of modern life. How often do any of have to time to literally take a minute and admire the beauty of the world around us?

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www.pantone.com

Greenery is described as a trans-seasonal shade, enabling you to wear it now in the midst of summer sunshine, or in the Autumnal winds of October, or in the dewy light of February. Greenery is one of the most versatile shades in anyone’s wardrobe – it can be paired with neutral creams and camels, bright vivacious shades of pink or blue, rich deep reds and purples, pastel and metallic tones.

Luckily for all you , in today’s post I have created a selection of some of the best Greenery inspired pieces available right now to help you keep on top of your style game.

Interested in keeping up to date with trends like the Pantone Colour of the Year? Check out two previous blog posts about the key trends for Spring/Summer 2017 and the latest trends straight from the Resort Runways.

The Pantone Colour Institute is just one of many fashion forecasting sites that designers can look to when thinking about their newest collections. To discover more about the importance of fashion forecasting  read this post to understand the impact it can have on a designer.

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The Galway Designers Network  is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Trending Now | Resort 2018

Resort Collections have become some of the most highly anticipated fashion showcases in recent years.

The resort collection came from the pre-season lines of ready-to-wear that a brand produced for their customers who would vacation during the autumn and winter months in hotter climates when all that was available in stores was the previous wintry A/W collections.  The modern manifestation of the resort collection is aimed at customers who have bought their new A/W wardrobe and want to start buying pieces for their holidays, usually arriving in stores in November/December or February.

Resort collections not only provide some of the most beautiful fashion shows but some of the pieces can spend the longest amount of time in store. A designer has to ensure that their Resort Collection is universal and can be a one stop shop for their customers. Resort Collections nowadays will often see typically summery pieces side by side with some of the heaviest jackets, coats and boots, so it all has to mesh together and create an alluring aesthetic to attract customers, no matter what season they are buying for.

Below showcases some of the best of the trends from Resort 2018, from prints to specific colours to an exciting accessory. Keep reading for a little look at some of the easiest trends to follow to keep up to date with the latest Resort 2018 trends.

Trend 1 | Tropical Prints

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Pringle of Scotland
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Etro
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Erdem

Trend 2 | Stripes

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Alice + Olivia
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Tibi
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Robert Rodriguez

Trend 3 | Plaid

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Oscar de la Renta
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3.1 Philip Lim
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Alberta Ferretti

Trend 4 | Lime Green

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Delpozo
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Adam Lippes
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Ellery

Trend 5 | White

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Christian Dior
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Michael Kors
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Jonathon Simkhai

Trend 6 | Flares

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Khaite
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Beaufille
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Adeam

Trend 7 | Statement Socks

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Thom Browne
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Gucci
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Valentino

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The Galway Designers Network  is a group of talented designers looking to create exciting clothing and accessories to ensure you can keep up to date with the latest fashion looks and we are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Fashion Forecasting: How it works and is it really important?

Do you ever wonder how fashion trends are decided? Who it is that wakes up one morning and tells the world that velvet is in or that we should all be wearing feminist tshirts? Decisions like these are made by a small cohort of people in the industry called fashion forecasters. 

Fashion forecasting is a relatively new discipline in the fashion industry but has become one of the most critical weapons in a brand or retailer’s arsenal. WGSN and Pantone are two of the biggest and most influential fashion companies in the world, but not many people will understand their importance. 

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via WeConnectFashion.comWeConnectFashion.com

Accurate analysis of consumer trends is vital in informing brand direction and development, in the creation of relevant products and services and ultimately in ensuring their success in a crowded marketplace, given the constantly evolving marketing and targeting techniques.

The world has moved forward from the traditional, static means of identifying consumers by demographic, geography, age etc. Fashion forecasting identifies consumers by trying to understand how and why they buy, making assertions based on their moods, beliefs and the occasion.

Fashion forecasters try to identify looks/styles that they think are prophetic, capture the mood and represent the current zeitgeist. By identifying these looks early on, it allows designers and manufacturers to go into production to meet customer demand with most textile manufacturers will begin working at least eighteen months ahead of a season.  

In order to pinpoint a trend, a forecaster must immerse themselves in as many aspects of culture as possible with the purpose of gathering and absorbing vast amounts of information to collate it into a coherent and viable story.  A forecaster has to take an interest in all aspects of culture from the creative arts, media and travel to underground subculture movements and developments in science and technology.

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via Pantone.com

Fashion forecasters will try to predict colour, pattern/print, shape and silhouette based on their findings. It is a constant flurry of trying to gather images and collect as many ideas as possible. This enables a forecaster to easily spot a connection amongst all the fashion noise. However, sometimes, there can be one thing that is so powerful and enigmatic that it triggers an immediate reaction from the industry. These findings when combined with statistical market research and observation of socio-economic shifts give an insight into what the next emerging trend may be and show the direction and potential reaction of consumer culture.

There are two methods of fashion forecasting: short and long term. Short term forecasting is used to predict trends based on current events. It predicts colour and fabric by considering fashion events, sport, science, technology etc. Long term forecasting utilises methods of predicting trends based on economical, political and market growth point of view.  

To understand the difference between short term and long term forecasting it is important to understand the different factors to be considered by forecasters. There are certain trends that are ubiquitous through the internet, social media and magazines that have come from catwalk collections. These images are used to predict the next one or two cycles in the fashion year. However, sometimes, there are major changes in the industry which will have lasting effects. Another factor that must be considered by forecasters is the importance of certain perennial elements in the industry e.g. military, 1920’s glamour or 1990’s minimalism and how these trends will never fully leave future fashion cycles.

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via Else-Corp

The fashion industry is changing in ways like never before and with the rapidly changing pace of the fashion cycle, the demand placed on fashion forecasters has increased. Fashion showcases are being streamed live and retailers are obsessed with shortening the turnaround from the catwalk showcase of a collection to its availability in-store. This has changed the forecasting industry from a niche sector publishing literary reports every six months to a massive online service which is constantly creating new material. This shift towards immediacy has led to the industry often being seen as reactive rather than innovative. Many forecasting agencies will often pull from the same pool of information which inevitably leads to an overburdened and stale high street where fast-fashion dominates and short-term micro-trends have become the calling cards of the industry.

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via Kirra Magazine

The opportunities the internet has created for the fashion industry has also made its impact on fashion forecasting. Social media is a vital platform forecasters utilise to both showcase their findings as well as keep their fingers on the pulse of the consumer market. Fashion blogging is reshaping the means by which forecasters conduct their research as bloggers become a more common source of inspiration for the public than any other part of popular culture. This has even had an effect of the employment opportunities within the forecasting sector as certain retailers see bloggers and social influencers as being more connected their demographic, pushing out the more established forecasting agencies. This has created friction in the industry as agencies try to keep their subscriptions up and remain seen as leaders in the sector, leading to them constantly aiming to raise their profile and accessibility.

These changes in the fashion industry have required fashion forecasters to make use of a more bespoke approach to catering for their clients’ needs. Carefully considered guidance is necessary for longevity in the current state of the industry with retailers being offered tailored advice to navigate forthcoming trends in order to successfully match their customers’ needs. Not only does this offer designers like us here at the Galway Designers Network an opportunity to successfully compete in the marketplace but also combat the identikit culture pervading the industry.

Despite the vast changes the fashion industry has seen since the start of this decade, if fashion forecasters can maintain their role as an inspirational resource for those  who wish to be innovative and creative, the role of fashion forecasting will always remain a critical aspect of the fashion industry.

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If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out the following blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business. It might also be a good idea to read this post about how to identify your target customer or this post about the various challenges and opportunities for designers in the modern retail environment. Check out last week’s post all about tips for marketing your fashion business!

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The Galway Designers Network are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Sell, Sell, Sell | How to Market Your Brand

Young designers need to understand what they are and why they are starting their own businesses. If they do it, it is because they really believe that they have something to say that cannot be said in the context of Paul Smith or Oscar de la Renta or Dior.

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times.

In the How to Start a Fashion Business blog post, I mentioned a tip regarding the importance of creating your brand identity through marketing and advertising. I will include the exact extract below but click here for a link to the full blog post. 

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There is no point in having a company if no one knows about it. Right from the beginning you should establish your brand identity, by which I mean how you want the public to perceive your business. This refers to the consumers perceptions about the product, the quality and the advantages your brand has over its competitors.

A strategised marketing and communications plan are key to building your brand. Understand your market share, your target audience and how you are going to approach your customers. While social media is critically important to tapping into the current fashion audience, there is a lot more to it than setting up an Instagram page. You need to create a disciplined approach to tackling your consumers and peaking their interests in an super-saturated market.

It is also important to see PR companies and the rest of the media as powerful aides in your broader marketing plan. Hiring a PR agent or company is probably one of the best steps you will ever take in taking your business to the next level, but you should only try to bring your work to the attention of a wider audience if your business can sustain it.

For this week’s blog post, I thought it would be ideal to elaborate on the importance of marketing for the success of your fashion brand and offer a few helpful tips and tricks. Hopefully, you will learn something new or can adapt some of the techniques to suit your business. 

Starting a business, particularly in the fashion industry can feel a little overwhelming. With so many brands out there all vying for coverage, your efforts to get your brand noticed can feel a little futile, almost as if you are just one of many, spreading your message, hoping it catches someone’s attention. However, you should never let the saturation of the marketplace deter you from giving it your best effort.

Once you have a solid foundation for your business – by which I mean you have a comprehensive understanding of your brand identity, including your distinct design voice and aesthetic, values, beliefs and an understanding of your customer (click here to read last week’s blog post for some helpful tips on how to identify and target your perfect customer) – it is time to use all of this information to create a marketing plan.  

Some of the simplest tips for marketing your business are to post regularly on social media, having a blog, running competitions, joining different online or offline communities and going to events. However, sometimes you might find you have attempted all of these things and they seem to have no impact. That is hopefully where these few tips will come in and help you to market your business. 

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Tip 1: Directly Ask People to Share 

This may seem slightly intimidating, or even a little desperate, but it is probably the most effective marketing technique. If you are lucky enough to have a customer base already, contact them and ask them to share your brand with a friend, or tag it on social media. There have been numerous times where I have been scrolling through Instagram, saw an outfit I liked and tapped the picture to check the credits only to discover that the one thing I was interested in wasn’t tagged. If you don’t have customers yet, ask people in your circle or even other members of our own Galway Designers Network.  Make a list of names and send a short email telling them about your latest work or newest pieces, how much you would appreciate a little support and add the direct links to your various profiles and social media pages. It will not appear pushy so long as you phrase everything in a polite manner, and the majority of people are happy to support brands they admire, believe in and have good experiences with. 

 

Tip 2: Ensure Your Presence at All Events

…even if you are not physically there.

How can you manage this? Well there are a couple of options available. One way many of the larger designers and brands do it is through the use of ambassadors. While this can take some time, finding a customer who knows your brand as well as you do and who is happy to publicly represent you will be an invaluable resource. If you have someone you think fits the bill, organise an event that your ambassador can host to present them to the world as your new Brand Ambassador, perhaps a lifestyle event or a personal styling session. That way, you have someone who can host events for you in areas where you or your team cannot be or even have them simply attend events in your stead. 

Another option could be to try and gain sponsorship. This does not have to cost a fortune; make use of interesting events or clubs in your locality where you could offer merchandise, goodies or services, or even some financial support. By conducting some succinct research, you can gain an understand of the interests your customer base has and use this information to create an effective   sponsorship marketing plan that will not cost the world.

 

Tip 3: Share your Expertise 

We’re all experts in something. As a designer, you will  have extensive knowledge about textiles, pattern drafting, construction, sustainability practices, even topics like the tools required for starting a business, what its like to be a designer in a small town etc. Take your experiences and channel them why writing about them. Be yourself, open and honest, and share everything you can. Find the best place to share your work, either in a magazine, newspaper or on a blog. By doing so, you will broaden your audience and cast your sales net even wider, thus attracting more sales. 

 

Tip 4: Social Media Conversations

Social Media is one the most critical marketing tools for the current retail sector. As a designer, it is important to have an online presence where you can engage with customers. Make sure your have a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Snapchat and use them to interact with customers, bloggers and journalists in your area. By doing so, you will open your brand up to a world wide audience and help to strengthen it. 

  • FacebookIt is important to post regularly, with relevant updates. You can also try to engage with your customers by posting poles or doing live Facebook videos showing you at work while taking questions from your followers. Facebook is one of the best channels for audience interaction and questions, but it will inevitably be the first place they go to complain, so keep an eye on all customer interaction. 
  • Twitter: Much like Facebook, you should try to tweet regularly, ensuring your tweets are relevant and consistent with your brand. You could tweet about your latest design, a new fabric or pattern, your current line, some of the best sellers etc. Also, promote your other social media platforms as well as your sales channels. Another tip is to be seen to be tweeting with reaction to different collections during fashion week/cruise collections or other fashion business news to showcase your awareness of current developments.  Keep the tone personal, approachable and interactive – get talking to people! 
  • Instagram: Use Instagram to showcase your work by post images of each of your pieces. Show them individually and styled with different outfits to give your followers inspiration. If you see a piece from a high end designer similar to a design of yours, share that, with the relevant link to your item showing your customers how to get the look for less. Instagram is fast becoming the most relevant social media platform for fashion and offers a wonderful place to engage with other designers, customers or bloggers and journalists in your area. Instastories also offers you the chance to post daily updates and short videos of you at work as a designer or even offer sneak peeks of upcoming pieces. One of the best features of Instastories is the ability to tag where you are, adding to the Instastory of the locality, particularly helpful if you decide to upload a video of an event or showcase you are taking part it. 
  • Snapchat: Although, Instastories has somewhat over taken Snapchat in recent months, having a Snapchat account can prove to be a critical social media tool in terms of engaging with followers and potential customers. Snapchat is a quick, hassle free means of taking customer questions and interacting with your audience. It is also a great tool if you want your personality as the designer to become part of your brand identity, as many people will feel like they can get to know you through the videos or images you post. Again, much like Instastories, you can post daily updates and short videos of you at work, offer sneak peeks of upcoming pieces, or tag where you are, adding to the Snapchat story for the local area. 

By using social media, you can expand your audience and forge better relationships with the followers you have. Tools like Facebook Live/Instagram Live are great means of having long, engaging conversations with potential customers, rather than sporadic chat in a comments section.

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People love what others are passionate about, and if your fashion line is your passion, then there is someone out there just waiting to discover it. How do they do that? Through your effective and efficient marketing strategy.

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If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out the following blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business. It might also be a good idea to read last week’s blog post about how to identify your target customer or this post about the various challenges and opportunities for designers in the modern retail environment.

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The Galway Designers Network are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Target Audience | Identifying Your Customer

Who is your customer?

This is the number one question for any designer who hopes to take their work and turn it into a successful business. By understanding who your target audience is you can execute your product design and marketing messaging with precision and a definitive strategy enabling you to make strong business decisions and generate sales for growth. Essentially, the more specific you are about who your ideal customer is, the easier it will be to attract them.

Customer Profile

The key to customer acquisition is finding your niche.

In order to identify your ideal customer you need to be exactingly specific, focusing on explicit attributes and using this information to create your best client. Once you have become established, you may choose to expand your brand and attract a wider consumer base, the in the initial stages, it is critical to remain focused.

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Initially, as a designer you should identify the following factors:

Demographics: age; gender; income; profession etc.

Psychographics: values; attitudes; belief systems etc.

Lifestyle: geographic location; leisure activities; travel etc.

Buying Habits: brand loyalty; price awareness; paying attention to the other brands they buy from

However, the most critical element is to define the specific needs of your ideal customer.

Does your client want to wear a dress to a wedding that they know no one else will have? Are they a mum of three who needs comfortable, easy to wash clothing? Are they a wealthy business woman who needs office wear that she can carry through to social events in the evening time?

What do they need and why are you the best option for them?

A successful business relies on one factor – a customer base who are willing to part with they money for your product because it meets their need, it really is as simple as that. By understanding why your customer is buying from you, it will make it much easier for you to give them the clothing or accessories they want.

How to Identify Your Customer

Some designers see themselves as their ideal customer, inspired by a desire to satisfy their own needs. If this is true for your brand, it will be to identify the specifics about your customer.

However, if this is not the case for your business, you will need to carry out some customer research. It is critically important that you do not try create a customer profile based on assumptions or guesswork because you will inevitably end up wrong about some aspect, no matter how easy you think it will be to build your customer profile.

Talk to your current customers or people you would consider to be your ideal customer. Find out the information regarding the attributes listed above as well as information regarding their needs. Spend time in your competitors stores, watching how the customer shops, the other bags they carry, how much they spend etc. Approach people as they shop and explain who you are and what you are trying to do. Research brands like yourself online to get a grasp of their customer base and then use this knowledge to inform your own. Start up designers sometimes prefer to do this themselves or you have the choice of hiring a company to do the research for you, the choice is really up to you based on what your budget can allow.

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The fashion retail industry is an over saturated market place as it stands right now, with only more and more brands emerging every week. It is a highly competitive arena and without a loyal customer base, your business will flounder. An attempt to appeal to everyone will leave you constantly chasing your tail as you try to attract sales.

By defining your ideal customer, you can provide focus for your business, enabling your merchandise, branding, marketing and message to be consistent and which will target a customer who is somewhere out there, waiting and willing to hear what you have to say.

If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out the following blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business.

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The Galway Designers Network are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the Galway Designers Studio House Facebook Page  to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Hey Designers!

We want to invite you all to come along to our June Meet-up on Friday 23rd, in the Workbench Bank of Ireland.

This is an opportunity for us to catch up with what everyone is doing at the moment, meet new faces, have a chat, and tell you about news from our end!

Topics which will be covered:
– Details on the upcoming September Fashion Show
– News on our membership offer
– Update on the Studio House progress
– A meet & greet of each of us, with everyone getting a chance to introduce themselves and tell about their design business
– Sounding board for any issues as a designer which you would like to address in a future workshop/talk

There will be nibbles and drinks, and we will have quite a structured meeting in order to get everything covered..

If you want to attend, please email us @galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com or Message us on Facebook and we will send you more info.

We need to know definite numbers, so please be sure to confirm your place!

Looking forward to seeing and meeting you all!

Gayle & Ann xxx

Challenges & Opportunities | The Future of Fashion Retail

Fashion retail is a multi billion euro industry with women’s clothing accounting for over fifty percent of total revenue. Once upon a time, fashion was strictly a seasonal business with most sales made in the run up to holidays or the start of school terms. Now the fashion retailing has become an year long booming industry with a constant and unyielding consumer turnover.

Now fashion retail is at a cross roads, facing certain challenges as well as many opportunities as it tries to negotiate the modern age. This week’s blog post will offer a brief look at some of these challenges and opportunities in the hope that we as members of the Galway Designers Network will be able adapt as we operate within the industry. 

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Challenges

1. Data Protection

The biggest challenge facing the retail sector today is protecting point of sale and customer data from security breaches. As stores interact with their customers online, data is being acquired by stores to ensure they meet their target market’s needs. This included vital personal information which must remain secure from hacking. In addition to this, retailers face the dilemma regarding the ethical consequences of selling this data to third parties for monetary gain.

2. Customer Acquisition

Retailers are struggling to continually drive traffic to their stores and keep returning customers. Now virtually all growth in consumer spending is being captured by e-commerce via online sales. Retailers need to stand out from not only their competitors but also from the online versions of their stores so as to ensure the store’s function in customer acquisition and retainment is relevant and successful.

3. Evolving Customer Profile

The contemporary consumer is highly informed, enabled by new technologies to access unprecedented amounts of information such as pricing, product reviews, newest trends etc. This means that retailers are finding it difficult to acquire loyalty or new customers altogether. Consumers expectations are higher than ever before; they want the best of everything – high quality merchandise, 100% availability, next-day delivery, free returns, excellent customer service – and they expect the best of everything.

Added to this, consumer class structure is evolving constantly as even the most affluent consumers find it strange to pay full price for most things, while lower and middle class consumers will push themselves into debt to afford faux luxury goods and services. This results in a difficult balancing act for retailers to stimulate purchases without being aggressive on price or delivering exceptional value. 

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Opportunities 

1. Omnichannel System

The omnichannel system offers several opportunities for retailers. It gives customers the chance to experience effortlessness in their shopping experience and enables them to be in constant contact with a company through multiple avenues at the same time: by visiting the brick and mortar store, going online via the website or  the app. They can research products and compare prices, which will ensure a company has to stay competitive to stay relevant. By completing purchases online and paying for in-store purchases via click-and-collect services, companies can also draw online consumers into their stores. An omnichannel system also gives retailers the flexibility to make near-real-time decisions to reroute products and streamline transportation to get the right products to the right locations at the right time, ensuring customer satisfaction.

2. Market Segmentation

Market segmentation enables retailers to identify the specific needs and wants of customer groups and using these insights to provide products and services which meet customer needs. Retailers can use market segmentation to ensure they do not find themselves facing a downturn in sales by creating and exploiting opportunities directed at the top and bottom consumer classes. The current rising income inequality gap has resulted in an ‘hourglass’ economy, which has placed a lot of pressure on the middle classes and an intriguing opportunity for retailers to attract the attention of the upper and lower income groups.  

The top strata of consumers often account for a disproportionate amount of consumer expenditure and given they have the means to spend, it has resulted in more retailers coming out with faux luxury products or experiences and aiming them at this market. e.g. the personal shopping experience with complimentary champagne. On the other end of the consumer scale are the bottom strata consumers, who are more conscious about how and when they spend.

ZARA provide a perfect example of how they use market segmentation in their company to ensure strong sales in all three consumer strata. ZARA will often have a ‘studio’ or ‘premium’ collection, with a slightly higher price point and higher quality merchandise aimed at the top consumer class. Then for the squeezed middle classes, the ‘special’ prices section offers consumers a chance to purchase merchandise at a slightly discounted price point, and the stock available changes week to week as new stock drops. Finally for the bottom consumer class, ZARA’s biannual sale will enable consumers to become a ZARA customer through the heavily discounted seasonal merchandise.

3. Optimizing The Offline Sales Process

One of the biggest opportunities for growth in the retail sector is the proficiency of the offline sales experience. More customers are choosing to shop online, and while they may be loyal and recurring customers, they may never darken the door of the store front. The retail sector has the opportunity to convert more customers and increase sales by creating an efficient and inviting experience for customers in store. This can be achieved in several ways: the use of promotional events will drive incremental visits; click-and-collect/buy online and pick-up in store services must be executed flawlessly; a proficient, engaging and friendly staff dedicated to good customer service.

4. Inventory Management Processes

The retail sector now have the opportunity for to greatly improve and shorten inventory management processes thanks to developments in technology and the changing pace of the fashion cycle. Buying and selling seasons are no longer mutually exclusive and stock outs result in a loss of sales for retailers. Retailers have the opportunity now to choose the right inventory for their store/channel at the exact time it is required, not six months prior as was the tradition. This not only ensures the most up to date trends and styles are supplied by retailers, but also that stock replenishment can be accomplished efficiently. Now retailers must focus on flexibility and speed to market rather than cost cutting measures.

The future of fashion retailers is standing at a precipice, and how an individual retailer chooses to navigate the various challenges and opportunities will dictate the success of the industry as a whole. 

If you are a young designer looking to make your mark in the retail sector and start your own fashion business, check out last week’s blog post for a strategy in negotiating the various challenges of going from a hobby-designer to a successful fashion business. 

fashion

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The Galway Designers Network are looking to make our own mark in the fashion retail sector. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

The Only Way is Up | Starting a Fashion Business

In 2014, The British Fashion Council and London Business School collaborated on a report entitled Commercialising Creativity — Creating a Success Model for British Fashion Designers which aimed to investigate whether or not there was a distinctive formula to creating a successful fashion business.

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Defining Success

— There are three dimensions of success within the designer fashion sector:

1 Creative acclaim (how the designer’s creativity is perceived)

2 Communications perception (public profile and awareness)

3 Commercial acclaim (how much sales and profits the designer generates)

This is how the report defines success, and while your outlook on success could be very different to commercial viability, for the purpose of the report and this blog post, I will define success in a similar way to the authors.

This post will offer 6 Tips which are based on some of the most critical and interesting points of the report and try to give up and coming designers a blueprint for turning your hobby into a successful business.

The report has striven to identify the biggest challenges designers may face and the best means to approaching and eventually conquering them. The report is based on information collected from a varied and knowledgeable group of people.

Acknowledgements, Commercialising Creativity

Tip 1: Behave like a Business

The business and creative side of being a designer need to become interconnected so it is critically important that from the start you treat your craft as a business. This means that you as a designer should embody entrepreneurial spirit that will drive your business towards success.

What do I mean by entrepreneurial spirit? I mean having a clear vision for your company and drafting a business plan right from the start. You should have a desire to promote yourself as being reliable and credible, more than someone just tinkering away in there kitchen. There’s noting wrong with tinkering away in your kitchen, as long as you are working towards a establishing a solid business.

It might also be worth considering bringing on board a business partner, someone with tried and tested commercial and business skills, to help out, although it is of the utmost importance that you as the designer have an understanding of the basis of commerciality.

Tip 2: Recognise the Importance of Product Development

Once you have decided you want to turn your talent into a business, the tendency can be there to show off everything you can do and create lots of beautiful designs. However, if you look at any emerging designer who was fortunate enough to find commercial success and establish themselves in the industry, they all started small with one product line and then developed their brand from this jumping off point. This is an important step to take as it creates a concise image of your brand which needs to be consistently intrinsic in all of your future work to give your business brand recognition.

Linked to this is the process of setting the correct price point to ensure commercial success. Ensure that you price your work accordingly, taking into consideration the cost of materials, manufacturing, delivery, market value as well as your cut as the designer of the piece. Too often, emerging designers will forgo their dues and pay themselves little to nothing, which results in them losing out on the much needed revenue to invest in their business.

It is also important to try to gain feedback from people who understand the commercial success of a designer, which surprisingly are not the press. The fashion buyer is an emerging designer’s best friend. While it may be super exciting to have your work featured in a local magazine or showcase, the only thing that will sustain your business is sales, not column inches.

Tip 3: Create your Brand Identity through Marketing & Advertising

There is no point in having a company if no one knows about it. Right from the beginning you should establish your brand identity, by which I mean how you want the public to perceive your business. This refers to the consumers perceptions about the product, the quality and the advantages your brand has over its competitors.

Young designers need to understand what they are and why they are starting their own businesses. If they do it, it is because they really believe that they have something to say that cannot be said in the context of Paul Smith or Oscar de la Renta or Dior.

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times.

A strategised marketing and communications plan are key to building your brand. Understand your market share, your target audience and how you are going to approach your customers. While social media is critically important to tapping into the current fashion audience, there is a lot more to it than setting up an Instagram page. You need to create a disciplined approach to tackling your consumers and peaking their interests in an super-saturated market.

It is also important to see PR companies and the rest of the media as powerful aides in your broader marketing plan. Hiring a PR agent or company is probably one of the best steps you will ever take in taking your business to the next level, but you should only try to bring your work to the attention of a wider audience if your business can sustain it.

Tip 4:  Tackle the Challenges of Production

As a designer and head of your business, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the manufacturing process so as to ensure that you can make realistic demands. Creating a sustainable relationship with a reliable manufacturer will be the key your success. You will be faced with the ethical dilemma of choosing to manufacture locally, which while good for your local economy and local fashion industry but can prove to be expensive, or to outsource production overseas where it is cheaper but perhaps more questionable.

As a new business you may struggle with production. You’ll be placing smaller orders, which ultimately leaves you in a poor position to bargain with manufacturers. Often, a manufacturer will ask you for a deposit before you are anywhere near to receiving payment from a retailer. While this can be a difficult pill to swallow in the early stages, it is essential to make this payment or any other promptly so that production is not delayed. If you rescind on your promises to get deliveries to retailers, it will damage your credibility.

Tip 5: Find the Key to Sales and Distribution

In order to be a successful designer of a successful company, you need to make sales. Lots of them. The direct financing of you own independent store is not the only option when it comes to making sales. If you do wish to open a flagship store, there are numerous investment options such as partnerships or joint ventures like our own Galway Designers Studio House, franchising or to approach established retailers.

When approaching an established retailer, you need to attract the attention of buyers. Approach buyers with an understanding of your Unique Selling Point, how your product fits with all of the other brands they buy, a set price point and a well structured business.

I think what could be improved is the designers’ sense of place. They need to know how they compare to the competition. Who is going to buy the product? Where you would like to be sold, realistically? Will it be the right price? These questions have to be answered before picking up a pen to design.

Anne Pitcher, Managing Director, Selfridges

Designers need to fully understand the contractual conditions of working with retailers, distributing companies and sales agents. When deciding to take your business this step further, you must fully appreciate the various different channels and options available to you and the effect each choice could have on the business.

If you choose to create an online business, it is important to consider all of the advantages, disadvantages, opportunities and peculiarities of this choice. Selling online is entirely different to selling in-store. With no tangible items for a customer to hold or try on, it can be incredibly difficult to make sales. As a general rule, more colorful or  printed products tend to be the best sellers, and any item that has an unusual shape or fit will be a tougher sell. However, having an online site will maximise your sales and increase your brand recognition.

Tip 6:  Understand the Importance of Funding and Financing

Money, money money.  At the very start, you will find your cash flow is going out a lot longer before it starts coming in. It is critically important therefore to know where your funding is coming from and keep your finances under control. In order to establish a successful fashion business, you need to appreciate the fact that the gap between funding your company and recovering revenue from the sales of your designs needs to be carefully managed with the utmost skill.

As a fashion business, you will need to be fully aware of the various funding options – loans, investors, grants etc – and and take into careful consideration what option is best to maximise your liquidity. Most businesses will bring an investor or two on board to gain some initial funding. If you choose to take a similar step you need to understand that you will lose some of the control over the business as you will have to meet their requirements and demands, so think very carefully and don’t undersell yourself and your share of the business.

The above tips offer just a brief snippet of what the full report explores. It has been written with the UK in mind, but all of the advice can be appropriated by anyone starting  a fashion business.

Read the full “Commercialising Creativity Report” here to read case studies and educate yourself fully on the factors that contribute to the success or failure of a designer’s fashion business.

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Supporting emerging designers in the fashion industry is of particular importance to us here at the Galway Designers Network. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by young designers, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Fashion: a Female Game?

Following from last week’s blog post an interesting thought struck me. While female empowerment is one of the biggest fashion trends for Summer 2017, why is it that female empowerment in the industry itself is such a rarity. Why is it a current trend rather than an eternal staple?

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Image via Dior

Currently, the majority of creative directors for luxury fashion brands are men. Why? Is it that men are more talented, more deserving? No.

Women are miles ahead of the game in other areas: two of the arguably most powerful figures in the industry are women: Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, and Linda Fargo, senior vice-president and women’s fashions director for Manhattan based department store Bergdorf Goodman.

However, in the design field, women are still trailing behind their male counterparts. Let’s take take the three biggest luxury fashion conglomerates: LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton, Kering and Richemont, and examine them. Out of over 15 fashion and leather good’s brands owned by LVMH, only 4 of them are led by women. They are Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Carol Lim at Kenzo, a shared position with Humberto Leon, and Silvia Venturini Fendi who is the creative director for accessories & men’s for Fendi. Within Kering, there are only 2 women heading the 8 brands: Stella McCartney is the creative director for her own label and Sarah Burton helm’s Alexander McQueen. Finally, within Richemont, there is only Natacha Ramsay Levi, the creative director for Chloé.

Major fashion colleges such as Central Saint Martins and New York’s Fashion Institute boast a huge majority of female students who win exceptional placements and excellent graduate jobs. LVMH, Kering and Richemont all boast excellent relationships with leading business schools around the world. In terms of these fashion conglomerates, Delphine Arnault of LVMH is a lone she-wolf among male executives.

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Delphine Arnault, LVMH

While many of the world’s fashion houses were established by women many of them have since been taken over by men: Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci and Marie-Louise Carven.

There are exceptions that prove the rule. We have the likes of Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Tory Burch, Angela Missoni, Donatella Versace, and Consuelo Castiglioni, all of whom either achieved their success by inheriting a family business or by starting their own.

It is a thought that leaves us with many questions. Perhaps it is that female designers are seen as less pioneering or innovative than their male counterparts? Is it that idea that women are incapable of balancing family and work life? Are women more interested in the glamorous side of the industry rather than the business? Is it sexism and male privilege?

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Image via NY Times

The appointments of Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Natacha Ramsay Levi at Chloé, Claire Waight Keller at Givenchy and Bouchra Jarrar for Lanvin show that the tide is turning, but is it soon enough?

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Supporting women in the fashion industry is of particular importance to us here at the Galway Designers Network. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by three women, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but these women need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Summer Lovin’: Trend Watch

Struggling to find your Summer Style? Check out some of the key trends for the coming months and reinvigorate your wardrobe.

We may be halfway’s through the month of May already but there are so many more weeks of Spring Summer Wear to come. Here in Galway, we have been particularly lucky with the weather of late and all the bright sunshine has us looking forward to the what will hopefully be a beautiful summer. This week’s post will offer a concise round up of four of the stand out Summer’17 fashion trends to give you all some fun styling and design inspiration to enjoy over the next few months

Girl Power

There has been a turn in the tide recently in the fashion industry as four female designers have recently taken over the role of director for some of the most well established European fashion houses. With the appointments of Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloé and Bouchra Jarrar for Lanvin, feminism has been one of the key themes this season.  SS’17 is all about empowering women and celebrating femininity with our fashion choices. Maria Grazia Chiuri started the trend when she showcased slogan t-shirts with ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ emblazoned across the front in her first collection for Dior and designers like Isabel Marant and Stella McCartney have also been taking part in this new feminist trend. The High Street have been quick to follow with Topshop doing some of their own versions here and here. The slogan t-shirt is one of the easiest trends to try this season, adding a new contemporary vibe to even the most basic of ensembles.

Pretty in Pink

Pink, pink, pink everywhere! If the summer of 2017 is going to go down in fashion industry for any single trend, it will be for the colour pink (and possibly the bell sleeve). From powder pink to fuschia, if you want to wear one colour that will signify that you know about trends, then wear pink. All shades were seen everywhere during fashion month on the catwalks of design heavyweights like Céline, Balenciaga, Vetements and Valentino.  Every brand are doing their bit to ensure they are a port of call for the Millenium Pink Brigade, with brands like ASOS, ZARA, Topshop, Dunnes Stores, COS and & Other Stories all embracing the pink trend. For those of you who really want to kick it up a notch, team your pink pieces with vibrant red shades to ensure you look chic and on trend for spring summer.

Asymmetry

The asymmetrical hemline is a key silhouette for Summer 2017. As one of the most innovative design motifs seen on the catwalks this season asymmetry highlights and elongates the body, showcasing the fluidity of fabrics to their fullest extent. The trend started on the catwalks at Proenza Schouler, Monse, Magda Butrym and Isabel Marant, and has made its way into the high street retailers like ASOS and ZARA as well as brands like our own Kizmet Clothing. The trend is super easy to wear and offers an exciting chance to refresh your wardrobe.

 Hyper Florals & Eccentric Prints

While floral is a print that returns every season, this Summer the ever present motif has had a whole new revamp, bursting onto the fashion scene in bright acidic colours. Linked to this trend is the eccentric, vibrant coloured print trend which has been dominating the season so far. High end designers like Chloé, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten and Dolce & Gabbana have showcased beautiful pieces with immense vibrancy, exotic blooms and unusual colour combinations. Our own Emerald & Wax is known for her daring prints and her work sits perfectly alongside her designer counterparts as well as high street brands like ZARA, Glamorous, River Island, Warehouse and Oasis. The key to wearing this trend in the best way is to ensure that the positioning of the print is of a flattering shape for your body. Mix these bold prints with other prints like stripes or gingham to ensure you are really upping your style game.

With Autumn fast approaching, take the opportunity to make the most of your Summer wardrobe and experiment with new trends, silhouettes and styles, because before you know it, we will all be wrapped up in parkas, camel coats and black ankle boots, trudging through the Irish winter.

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P.S.

Have you heard about what’s on the cards for Summer here with the Galway Designers Network, May GatheringGalway Designers Studio House? Follow the links to read all about our current projects and how you can take part.

We are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

We the People: How we are changing the Fashion Industry

The fashion industry has undergone some pretty significant changes over the course of the new millennium.

Trends are dictated less and less by one It-Girl/Celebrity or one designer showing in Paris/London/New York/Milan and there is a surplus of disposable income like never before.  As a result of this new found financial freedom, fashion is starting to become dictated by us, the People, as we have more money to spend on the clothes we want. We as consumers and fashion lovers have drastically changed the ways designers, creative directors and buyers have had to approach their jobs.

This week’s blog post is going to explore three new developments in the current fashion landscape which have been directly influenced by us and how we are approaching fashion in a modern world.

Ethical Fashion

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via Pinterest

 

Sustainability is trendy

One of the biggest developments in fashion in recent years is the move towards socially just, organic or fair-trade fashion. The cosmopolitan middle class of the industrialised nations in the Western World are more aware than ever, thanks to the widespread availability of news and media, how immoral some clothing production and manufacturing methods have become. No longer ignorant to the damage fast fashion has caused, designers and buyers are increasingly looking for goodly alternatives to satisfy the now savvy consumer.  

The LOHAS Market

Consumers are now looking for fashionable clothing which has been manufactured under environmentally friendly and socially just conditions. Designers and buyers have to make smart decisions in order to meet the high standards of this new target market, an educated middle to upper class grouping known as LOHAS, which stands for lifestyle of health and sustainability. These people want to buy clothing that is socially conscious but without any concession on style. Nowadays, ethical fashions are compatible with the desire for mass consumption, given they are no longer inferior to the mass produced competition.

Fashion with Social Criteria

Designers and buyers have to look out for materials which have been grown or processed organically without the use of chemicals, pesticides or pollutants, and without the wasteful use of natural resources like water. They have to ensure that they are liaising with suppliers who are ensuring an infallible application of social criteria in regards to working conditions whereby the staff receive reasonable wages and working hours, adequate health and safety protections as well as a ban on any child labour. The current move towards market globalisation along with technological advances have meant that production, networking, purchasing and shipping of clothing for the Western market have created numerous ethical black holes for consumers. We as consumers are aware more than ever before of the hazardous conditions in which some clothing is produced for the West, and the fashion industry have become acutely aware of the resulting backlash.

Gone are the days of fair-trade fashion being associated with hemp trousers – sustainability is chic, and the People have created a need to meet the growing gap in the market.

Changing Fashion Cycle

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via WT VOX

 

Now, now, NOW: A shift towards immediacy

Today, fashion shows are being streamed live and we, the consumer, have become obsessed with shortening the turnaround from catwalk to wardrobe. As a result, the fashion industry has had to change in ways like never before and the fashion cycle has had to evolve to keep up with consumer demand. Gone are the days of design houses showcasing looks in a catwalk presentation and the consumer having to wait six months for the new collection to drop. Designers like Burberry and Tommy Hilfiger have adopted a ‘See Now – Buy Now’ model with catwalk looks being readily available as soon as the clothing hits the runway. Consumers want to be as trendy and fashion forward as possible as soon as possible and this has created a whole new dynamic in the fashion industry. 

The rise of the Fashion Blogger 

Fashion blogging is reshaping the fashion cycle as the People have looked to bloggers more and more as a source of inspiration.  If a blogger has it, a designer, buyer or retailer knows the customer will want it sooner rather than later. No better way to have your item sell out than have it featured in a blogger’s Instagram. Consumers do not want to wait to have their favourite bloggers latest accessory, which has shifted the fashion cycle from a waiting game to a now is not soon enough space.

The idea of a fashion cycle is becoming more and more obsolete as we as consumers have decided to disregard its rules and we slowly move towards a constant and immediate fashion continuum.

Technology

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via Damsel in Dior

 

The Smartphone, the modern fashion magazine

Technological developments in recent years have had a dramatic effect on fashion. The advent of the smartphone and laptop have created new tools to harness our interests by enabling us to constantly keep up to date with fashion news through multiple media channels: online newspapers and magazines, fashion blogs, fashion related YouTube subscriptions and other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. We are living in a sea of continuous fashion feeds and designers have to create work that is not only trend driven but also conscious of the fashion culture within which they are being created and viewed to satisfy the interests of their consumer base. Designers are no longer creating clothing with a view to how it will look on a runway or in a printed magazine; now they have to create with a square Instagram frame or YouTube thumbnail in mind. 

Your Order is on its way: The Internet & Changing Shopping Habits

Technology has streamlined business interactions and impacted consumers shopping habits unlike nothing before. We are conducting transactions in a much more efficient manner than ever before. With a few simple clicks, we can have clothing at our front door in a matter of hours. The advent of e-commerce has meant that designers and retailers now not only have to stay connected to the people who walk in and out of their stores, but they also have to form a critical understanding of the customers who buy from their brand online. Our choice to consume much of our fashion content and conduct purchasing online has given designers and buyers the opportunity to form a comprehensive study of a detailed analysis of our buying habits in having access to our internet history. Technology has been able to capture consumer information which is critical for designers and buyers when making decisions about a future seasons’ range plan i.e. size, colour, silhouette, macro/micro-trends etc.

By understanding the influence technology has had on us as consumers, designers and buyers can assess market trends, enabling them to make smart decisions in the future.

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via 3Dfashionshow.org

 

The biggest change to have struck the fashion industry in recent times is the influential role our voice as consumers has begun to have. We are dictating the trends in deciding what we want to buy and while there are those still out there who will heed the advice of Anna Wintour and her ilk, more and more designers and buyers are coming directly to us, the People.

Upcoming Event | May Gathering

***UPDATE – May 22nd***

Unfortunately, with great regret, we have to cancel this weekends gathering. There was a double booking and mix up in the venue so sadly, we found out today it cannot go ahead this weekend. We are looking to still have the brunch on Sunday to meet and chat and see where we all are at!
Please let us know asap if you want to attend that so we can confirm booking.
We will rearrange another date for the gathering, and will be back in touch soon with further details.
Those of you who already booked, will be refunded.
Our sincere apologies, please pm if you have any issues or queries.
Gayle & Ann xxx

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The Galway Designers Network is happy to announce our next event: May Gathering.

This is a 3 day event taking place from Friday May 26th to Sunday May 28th. It will be aimed at helping current and prospective members of the Network in the art of building connections and learning more about how to start or grow your business.

On Friday evening there will be a Seminar from the knowledgeable Graham Clarke. Graham Clarke is the manager of the Workbench in Galway and is heavily involved in the Network and was an amazing resource and help for us during our Galway Fashion Showcase in March. The seminar will take place in from 6-8pm in the Workbench, located in the Bank of Ireland premises on Mainguard Street  here in Galway City.  With years of practical experience and degree in business and finance, Graham has a wealth of knowledge regarding start up businesses.  Graham will be giving his insight into what you need to do as a start-up business, providing the where, what & how to knowledge necessary. The Seminar will provide a great opportunity to learn, ask questions and get to know other designers in Galway and the surrounding area.

On Saturday, The Workbench and Bank of Ireland have kindly offered us the space to have a Pop-Up Market. There from 12-6pm, the Market will be open to the public, offering designers the opportunity to utilize the space and set up a table or rail where they can showcase and sell designs.

On Sunday, there will be a delicious Brunch for designers and members of the Network. The brunch will take place in 56 Central, on Shop Street, from 12pm. The Brunch will offer designers the chance to come together, chat, enjoy some good food and coffee. This will just be an opportunity for us all to get together and share impressions about the weekend, provide everyone with the chance to offer feedback, reviews, new ideas for the Network going forward while enabling us to get to know one another a bit better.

To take part in May Gathering, we encourage designers to purchase a ticket for €25. This price covers all events from the weekend, including the Brunch. To book your ticket, email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com and we will send you Paypal invoice with details.

May Gathering is just the start of what the Network hopes will be series of similar events.  We are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetworkor email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

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P.S.

Have you heard about one of the Network‘s current projects, Galway Designers Studio House? Find out what you can do to help make this dream a reality.

Taking the Next Step

Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Network are delighted to announce some incredibly exciting news: Galway Designers Studio House.

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Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Studio House will be a venue, rather than a store, created for the purpose of offering a solid space for designers to sell their merchandise, whilst also offering a designated hub for people to come together, collaborate and learn something new as well as promote themselves and their business.

The vision for Galway Designers Studio House has grown from a need to create a new shopping experience, enabling consumers to step away from high street and department stores, from faceless fast fashion, and towards supporting local industry and ethical fashion.

A Store & A Studio.

The structure of Galway Designers Studio House will be two-fold: a store and a studio.

Within the store, local designers will have the opportunity to ‘rent’ a rail/table/window display, which will give them the much needed chance for exposure and getting their designs and their names into the minds of the wider public.

This studio is a space onsite will enable designers to work in a professional environment, helping you to get your designs/work stations out of your spare room. The studio will also serve as a venue for information evenings, networking events, courses and showcases to not only boost the profits of a designer’s business but also to offer education, tools and support to take the business to the next level.

The hardest part of being an independent designer is having your voice heard and your creative vision seen; Galway Designers Studio House offers you the chance to achieve just that!

Gayle, Ann & Virtue: The 3 women behind the idea.

This is an idea that has been created by three members of our Network, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax. All three women have a desire to come together and combine their passion and experience to create a new avenue for their respective businesses. Each of these women have been designers and members of the fashion industry for a long time, and have gained extensive, essential experience in not only design, but also styling, marketing, event management and merchandising.

Below are some photographs of the three ladies so you can put faces to names and some thumbnail images of examples of some of their own stunning design work:

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Help make this dream a reality!

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set up a crowdfunding campaign, to not only raise the much needed funds to back such an ambitious project, but to encourage everyone to get involved and support your local fashion industry. Galway is a hub of talented designers, innovators, crafters, stylists, models and photographers, and a project like the Galway Designers Studio House will be beneficial to everyone who wants to be a part of this special industry.

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set a target of €11,000 in order to get the project up and running. This money will cover the costs of renting a secure premises, utilities, rates, fittings etc. The money will also go towards creating a strong and innovative marketing campaign which will help to spread the word, encourage more designers to join and ensure customers come flooding through the doors. With a detailed and extensive business plan in place, Gayle, Ann and Virtue can see the potential success this business will have, all they need is a little helping hand to get project off the ground.

You donate, we give you presents!

By donating some your money to this project, you will not only ensure that designers have the chance to achieve the dreams they have always longed for, you will also receive some special gifts as a reward to show you all our appreciation. We know you work exceptionally hard for your money, and we do not want you to think that we take your kindness for granted.

Donations of varying values will receive the following gifts from Gayle, Ann and Virtue:

  • €10+ : A specially designed thank you card & a specially designed tote bag.
  • €25+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag along with a 10% discount card to use in store.
  • €50+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag, along with a voucher for €20 to use in the store, a front row invitation to our networks bi-annual fashion shows, and a personal invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €100+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €50, along with a token gift and a VIP invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €250+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €75 to use in store along with a hamper of goodies worth €100.
  • €500+ : A very personal specially designed thank you card, a special mention on our website as a sponsor, VIP membership card which provides VIP invites to all our events, workshops and courses along with the store opening launch event. You will also receive 3 x €100 vouchers to spend on our in-house designers clothing lines.

Let’s make this happen!

If everyone gives, even a little, we can soon make this dream a reality, a dream that not only will benefit the designers involved, but also any potential designers who see that they too can have their individual voices heard and become successful, fulfilled and happy in their work.

Why Buy Local?

It will always inevitably end up costing more than purchasing from fast fashion or franchised stores.
So why is it important?

Why buy local Irish design?

What is the benefit? It will always inevitably end up costing more than purchasing from fast fashion or franchised stores. So why is it important?

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Small businesses are vital to the success of a community.

By supporting local designers, you are ensuring the longevity of Irish design. They give character to a community. They give Irish design an identity and offer up and coming designers inspiration and a framework to follow.

Supporting local Irish design improves the quality of Irish design.

Yes, every high-street franchise is the same, which makes everyone feel at like they belong, but not everyone wants to or should belong in generic high street stores. Some people want to buy unique to feel unique. Independent designers give people that choice. It is where excitement and innovation happens, where new ideas can grow and trends can be made.

By supporting local design, you can ensure complete transparency.

If you purchase any item of clothing from a high-street brand, more than likely, it has been made in Asia. You do not know its history, who made it, how they made it, what conditions were they working in, were they paid adequate wages etc. Local designers make their merchandise accessible and offer a much needed clarity to a sometimes cloudy industry.

Buying Irish designs fosters a relationship between customer, clothing and designer.

Supporting the endeavours of designers in your area not only creates social capital and mutual goodwill but also strengthens social bonds. It gives personality to the brand and offers you a face to put to a name to ensure your opinions are heard. It offers an invaluable learning opportunity by allowing for curiosity, exploration and the learning of something new. You can identify the designer by name. We all feel like were in this together, on the same fashion journey.

Supporting locally owned businesses supports the the local economy.

The profits of a business are not being siphoned off to a head office somewhere else. Local businesses are more likely to use local suppliers and this in turn supports the local economy. This is a huge benefit to not only the local economy but also the environment by manufacturing locally, reducing their carbon footprint – always an added bonus.

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The Galway Designers Network hopes you will try to support our designers and the hundred others like us. We are always looking for new designers who feel they would love to be involved in the Network and make their mark in the local fashion community.

Please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you, about what you do and where you would like to see your business develop to!

For more, visit Galway Designers Network on Facebook or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com

Welcome to the Galway Designers Network

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Founded in February 2017, we are a group of hardworking, creative and innovative designers based in Galway and the West of Ireland looking to help and support each other.
The Network is open to all design genres and all backgrounds: jewellery, millinery, clothing, EVERYTHING!

The Network is a support system with regular meet ups, online support and recurring events which will enable each member to grow and expand within their creative field. The Galway Designers Network wants to boost each of its members, share ideas, offer advice and build a close community of talent and support.

Don’t give up on your dreams; if you want to do something and you are passionate about it, the Galway Designers Network is the place for you.

Through joining our Network, you will receive our regular newsletter which will give info on upcoming events, news and assistance which will help with your design business.

Please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you, about what you do and where you would like to see your business develop to!

For more, visit Galway Designers Fashion Showcase on Facebook or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com