SP3 final evaluation

The third and final specialist project was something that combined a number of different elements (market research, chosen brand, chosen trend) which would all influence the development of a collection in different ways. It’s clear that towards the start of the Trend project, work is stronger than towards the end. In terms of my sketchbook, the market research carried out is the strongest area, making use of strong imagery relevant to each individual brand and some which use analytical text that gives a better idea of the brand ethos and history. Some of these also incorporate technical flats or sketches alongside which give variety and show examples of the kind of products the brand is generally associated with. I created a brand board for the retailer I chose which was Zara, using images directly from their website which kept the board very relevant to that specific brand, but also some more ‘relaxed’ images from sources like Instagram which ensure that the page doesn’t just act as a list of current Zara products.

Moving into the next stage of research, work becomes less strong and pages of image responses and sketches that would have led onto inspiration for design development are very few. Taking into account the chosen trend of Plush Luxe, I began to look at garments that used luxurious finishes such as velvet, and those that created large silhouettes which almost seem excessive. Plush Luxe is represented in this project through my trend board, which I tried to keep quite varied in terms of images that I used so that designs wouldn’t all be too similar. This section also includes my customer profile, which I think communicates effectively the typical customer/target market that I would be designing for.

The volume of work after these areas were finished is reduced and i’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to carry out this final specialist project to a higher standard. The project brief presented a good opportunity to combine the key design features and brand identity of Zara with the Plush Luxe future trend, and a final collection would have demonstrated skills and ideas that i’ve not been able to demonstrate here.

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SP3 market research analysis

All Saints

High-end / age range 18 – 40 / prices £35 – £850 / size ranges 2 – 14

 

Garment colour palettes for this brand almost completely stick to neutrals of black, camel and cream. Occasionally prints are used but the base colour is often black. Materials are very high-quality and outerwear makes use of the finest leathers. Construction is of a high standard and made to be durable.

 

Store experience

Lighting is key, the store employs spotlights and exposed lightbulbs to create an deconstructed, industrial space. A key feature of most branches of All Saints is the iconic vintage Singer sewing machine window display, where the machines appear to be stacked from floor to ceiling in rows in the shop-front windows. Exposed brick walls and bare wooden floors pull the effect together. Mannequins are pared back and some consist only of metal frames; placing all attention on the garments they’re displaying. Interestingly the store has a recognisable smell of leather due to the variety of classic leather jackets that the brand is known for. Packaging uses rustic brown paper swing tickets and typewriter-style fonts.

 

END

High-end / age range 16 – 25 / prices £13 – £2449 / size ranges XS – XL

 

As well as marketing an ‘own brand’ range of products, END is mostly known for housing a large variety of menswear brands including Nike, Adidas, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Converse and Canada Goose. Its main focus is outerwear and marketing campaigns are styled to an urban, masculine aesthetic. Because of the vast choice of designer brands, END doesn’t have an easily identifiable colour palette or design theme. Common colour themes though include navy blue, reds, orange, camo green, and bold, tropical and geometric prints on things from hoodies to rain macs and sneakers.

 

Store experience

The relatively new Grainger Street store is brightly lit, with white walls and a bare concrete floor that reflect the light and create a clinical atmosphere. This is added to by the use of steel and glass in the fixtures and fittings. Faux marble lines the back walls where long shelves showing shoes from brands such as Adidas, Nike and Vans are lined up and evenly spaced. Packaging is in keeping with the ‘clean’ styling and shoes, for example, are packaged in a plain brown card box with the white END logo printed on the lid. Logo-printed white tissue paper and a sticker are used to encase the product, and a ‘thank you’ note is included. Customer service is attentive and shop assistants are few but always available.

 

Primark

Low-end / age range 15 – 50 / prices £1 – £35 / size ranges 4 – 20

 

Primark offers low-cost ‘fast fashion’ pieces that often aren’t made to last but can fulfil trends for one season. There are a large variety of design themes that are very trend-focused, alongside the mainstay ranges of denim and basics. Fabrics tend to be made from cheap synthetic fibres such as polyester and acrylic, blended with cotton. Screen and digitally printed motifs are common on t-shirts, sweaters and jeans. Because of the huge choice on offer there are a huge range of design themes, very trend-focused i.e. AW16 floral embroidery, chokers, velvet, bell sleeves.

 

Store experience

The four-floor Newcastle branch is in-keeping with the design and layout of every Primark store. There are clearly defined sections for the different garment ranges e.g. sports, lingerie, denim, coats, and seasonal, trend-based pieces are always situated immediately beside the entrance. Mannequins are used in groups throughout the shop, often beside a unit with clusters of different pieces that can be put together to create the displayed look. Flimsy and inconsistent plastic hangers, some of which are broken, hold garments on rails, and often those displayed on central tables are strewn onto the floor.

 

Topshop

Mid-range / age range 15 – 30 / prices £3.50 – £595 / size ranges 4 – 18

 

Topshop’s brand identity is very celebrity-focused, it utilises the ‘it’ models, actors and musicians of the moment to stay as relevant as possible and create a must-have quality for its garments. Pieces are generally designed and constructed to a high standard, and quite trend-focused. Fabrics feel high quality and are soft, durable or textured where necessary. Finishings and decorative effects such as applique are neat and in good condition.  

 

Store experience

An example of Topshop utilising celebrity image in its merchandising is the large-scale printed campaign photographs shown in the two-storey glass shop front. The monochrome images have a lot of impact and draw your attention to the store. Subjects of the photographs have included Cara Delevingne and Beyoncé for her Ivy Park athleisure label. Topshop has a seemingly constant sale event of its outgoing seasonal pieces that are placed in the front and central sections of the first floor of the store. Whilst the rest of the displays are neat and organised, this sale section is mismatched and only sorted by size, so swimwear may be marketed right beside winter coats. Products in this section are crammed messily onto rails.

 

H&M

Lower-end / age range 15 – 60 / prices £3.99 – £199 / size ranges XS – XL

 

H&M fits into the ‘fast fashion’ category of retailers, but unlike others it usually manages to manufacture its products to a good quality, and has taken particular care in sourcing its fibres, fabrics and labour in recent years. This is shown through the launch of its Conscious Collection, which uses responsibly sourced materials in creating “sustainable style”. H&M pieces with higher price points are often put in comparison to designer pieces, to show that the differences aren’t that huge. The brand has had a number of high-profile celebrity collaborations including Lana Del Rey, Beyoncé and The Weeknd.

 

Store experience

H&M’s Newcastle business underwent refurbishment in 2015 and was redesigned to make the shopping experience lighter, brighter and more open. White walls are stacked with neat rails or shelves that display accessories. A plain grey tiled floor throughout adds to the light and airy feel. Whilst there are multiple sizes of each product on display, the space doesn’t feel cluttered or overcrowded. Overall the shop manages to create a feeling of a mid-range level brand with its styling and sophisticated visual merchandising.

 

River Island

Mid-range / age range 16 – 40 / prices £6 – £100 / size ranges 6 – 18

 

This brand caters for women, men, children and babies with a wide array of fun, modern styles on offer. It seems to specialise in ‘going-out’ womenswear which is reflected in its frequent use of bold prints, bright colours and eye-catching use of metallics and texture.

SP3 weekly review 2

This stage of SP3 I put together three different visual boards that act as sources of inspiration for development but also are useful for showing whole elements of the project in a more concise way, using images that have been carefully selected. The first was the brand board for the retailer that I chose to design for, Zara. I took 6 or 7 images from a large selection that i’d found for the brand board and chose ones that I felt conveyed the overall image of Zara and the style of garments that it’s generally known for. I think I could have included more than one technical flat drawing here but the overall page is effective. Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 15.24.43

I then made use of Photoshop again in creating a trend board for the Plush Luxe trend from WGSN. In the same way I was selective about the images and layout of the above brand board, I included a variety of photographs to represent how I interpreted the trend. The report on WGSN focused on the use of luxurious velvets and silk, as well as furniture-esque fringing and deep colour palettes. I was sure to include these elements, as well as my own additions like the use of fur texture, for example.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 15.22.26

The third and final of these boards is a customer profile. Mainly based on the market research I had carried out for Zara I collected a range of images that I feel represent the customer’s lifestyle. I made sure to find images that seemed more ‘personal’ than some I had used in other areas of research, so Instagram was a good source for this. Using Photoshop to put these images together on a A3, I then included some small pieces of text that described details like the age range, beliefs, interests and personal style of the customer which makes the profile more specific and ‘real’.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 15.24.27

The customer profile is particularly useful in designing as it gives you some form of ‘real’ focus for garment designs, such as the small pieces of text on the board that can influence design features, price points, fabric choice, decorative features, etc.

Overall, I think that the three boards are all effective and communicate the ideas behind them effectively. I am pleased with the aesthetic quality of each of them but also the fact that they are useful representations of the chosen brand, trend and customer.

 

SP3 weekly review 1

Our final specialist project is titled ‘Trend’. It “combines fashion marketing aspects with trend prediction to ultimately design a capsule collection for a high street brand”. As well as fashion forecasting and trend prediction being an integral part of this Trend project, market research is vital and is used as the starting point. We were given a list of nine high street brands to research, by combining online information and images with our own real-life experiences of each store, commenting on things like visual merchandising, organisation, staff, advertising and product quality. This week I carried out most of this research and the write-up for it can be found here. The research was mounted in my sketchbook alongside online imagery relating to the brand identity of each store and some flats/sketches representing the kind of garments each is known for.

After completing this research we had to select one of these brands to design our capsule collection for. I was drawn to both All Saints and Zara because I felt that both of their brand identities and product ranges would be suited to my overall style of designing and initial ideas I already had. In the end I went with Zara, mainly because the future trend from WGSN Dark Wonder that I had chosen (‘Plush Luxe’) was reminiscent of many of Zara’s past collections. Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 11.17.38

Of the nine trends within Dark Wonder, I feel that this one is most appropriate to my chosen brand and offers a lot of inspiration and potential for a six-outfit collection. After choosing my brand and trend I can now move into research that combines the two, looking at recurring themes, design features, fabrics, embellishments, etc.