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How to create and develop a collection?

The creation and development of a collection.
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The first step is to understand the brand’s identity and then, to translate it in the collections, with a clear identity which answers to the respective expectations of the international markets. And the definition of the expressions of either femininity or masculinity is the key point and is directly linked then with the shapes and the proportions. The shared values are the signature of the brand. And as an illustration optimicism has a direct impact on colors, rigor is translated through shapes and proportions, and being narrative has a direct connection with prints. So the asserted skills are expressed through the final balance of product categories, or specific fabrics. Leather at Hermès bags or ready-to-wear, outerwear at Burberry, or beachwear at Pucci.
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The definition of the targets in terms of attitudes and way of life are key. Most of the brands work with core targets and then, they need to define, to recruit, new ones. Then the brands choose to select the final uses. Some are daily, business, dressy, but the fact is that today the mixing is a more contemporary attitude. The positioning helps to understand the market environment, to focus on the differentiation criteria, and to define the price policy. Most of
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the time, the teams start with two inputs: the creative one and the marketing one. The creative team, or the artistic director, start with the inspiration of the season, often expressed through a moodboard. It’s a kind of collage, with references to periods, to icons, to artists, places, colors, patterns. They give the first creative inputs, they decide the colors, they choose the fabrics, they design the shapes of the season, they check the fittings and then, they decide about the outfits of the collections. Then you have the product developers. They work closely with the studios and they have the connection with the suppliers, and they are very involved in the process of delivering the collections.
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The merchandisers start with the analysis of the former collection, and they suggest the frame of the next collections. They expect widths of choice, the demands by categories of product, the request of the respective international markets, and the expected price range. Womenswear collections are probably the most complex between of the wide creative potential, the taste for permanent newness, and the extreme competition. Menswear is more about functions and accuracy within a more well-defined wardrobe, and the pace of change is not as strong as it is for womenswear. So working for the leather goods differs because of the life cycles of the products.
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The bags are longer than in womanswear, and a successful bag may last for a few seasons and be declined in colors, fabrics and sizes. A successful collection is a creative one, as much at it is a commercial one. And I would say, on the long term vision, the challenges for a brand are to bring newness to the market, to express “zeitgeist”, to be recognizable, while at the same time being faithful to its identity.
How to create and develop a collection

Patricia Romatet, Professor of Collection Management Process and Director of the IFM Labels Program, shares her advices.

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