The 6 Steps to Designing a Collection

Ever wanted to know a little bit more about how we design a new collection? We thought we would let you in on a little behind the scenes and share our processes from initial design to production. We have split it into six key sections - follow our design journey below!


So we are ready to begin working on a new collection, but where do we start? Stage one is where we bring together any initial ideas and start thinking about how these ideas might come together to form a collection that would be right for our customer.

Then we continue collecting inspiration and start to merge these ideas, creating something new and exciting whilst also ensuring that they feel consistent with our brand and that they can be made in our target price range. Before we can draw up any final designs, we have to start looking at fabrics, trims and any components or hardware that we might need- and always looking at sustainable options where possible!

The last part of the initial design process is creating technical drawings of the designs, showing accurate detail which will allow the pattern team to create the first samples. The more detail and information that goes onto the technical drawing, the more accurate the first samples are likely to be. We make sure to put the time in here and make thorough checks, so that we don’t need to waste materials on any unnecessary samples.

Fashion Sourcing Steps of Designing a Collection


Sourcing is where we select all of the fabrics and components that will make up the designs.

We begin by looking for sustainably made fabric through the collections from our trusted European suppliers. We only work with suppliers that share our commitment to sustainability and ethical production. This usually means having to pay a bit more, but it is important for us that we share the same values, and it also means that we are investing in another company that are working to do more for the environment. Once we have decided on the final fabrics, they will become part of our Bill Of Materials, which is a list of all the fabric and components needed to make up the products.

Development and Sourcing 6 Steps of Designing a Collection


Once the design team are happy with the designs, they are handed over to our experienced pattern team. The pattern team will use the technical drawings and any design references provided to start creating a pattern for each of the garments. A pattern is a template of each of the shapes that need to be cut out and sewn together to form the shape of the garment, getting this right is essential for having a good fit and creating new garment shapes.

Our team create patterns manually (drafting the shapes flat onto paper), digitally (using specialised computer software, and by draping (using fabric to create the shapes on a mannequin then transferring onto paper). Choosing whichever method with help them to achieve the perfect style and fit for each piece.

Once the patterns are finished, these are used to make the first samples to check how the design looks one put together and tried on a fit model. If there are any fit or style issues then these are corrected on the patterns and another sample is made.

Grading 6 Steps of Designing a Collection

4. Grading

Grading is the process of taking a base size pattern and making it into a pattern for a different size or across a whole size range (For example if you are sampling in a base size Small, then grading would be used to make patterns for the sizes Medium, Large, X Large…). Once the first sample has been approved, grading is used to build out the size range and check that the product works for both the smallest and largest sizes in the range- it would be no good for a design to only work in one size! The patterns are transferred onto a computer to check all of the measurements then grade into the other sizes.

We also use our grading software to calculate how much fabric we will need. By knowing how much of each fabric is needed per style, per size, we are able to calculate how much fabric should be ordered for a production run, allowing us to minimise waste and prevent excess fabric from ending up in landfill.Tech Pack Creation 6 Steps of Designing a Collection


Next we develop a comprehensive technical pack, otherwise known as a tool-kit containing all of the information required to produce the product. This normally includes the following:

  • Design Sheet- Including the technical drawings; construction details, final colourways, label placement and branding and packaging guidelines
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) - This is a list of all of the materials and components needed to make the garment
  • Measurement charts across the size range with tolerance guides for production
  • Fit assessments- notes and images from sample fittings and the final approved fit
  • Lay plans that show how the patterns are to be cut from the fabric and how much of each fabric will be needed in total

    The finished tech packs are then handed over to our production team to begin making the products!Production 6 Steps of Designing a Collection


    Every piece of swimwear ordered through Bodywear Lab is made by our expert team, in our atelier in central London. Because our swimwear is made in London we can ensure that our workers are paid a fair wage and given a proper work/life balance, and we have complete control over the quality of our swimwear.

    Our team work closely together and have a great work environment, which we are very proud of. As well as creating local jobs and having a close relationship with our makers, manufacturing in London means that we don’t have to ship stock from overseas, keeping our air and oceans cleaner. It also means that we can take a ZERO-WASTE approach. We control the way that the fabric is cut so that we can ensure less fabric is wasted in the process, we want to make the most of our resources and help make it easier for you to shop more sustainably.

    Getting each and every stage of the design process right is crucial to building a successful collection. Our teams work closely together to ensure that everything is thoroughly checked and researched throughout the design journey, allowing us to be as sustainable as possible with development and production. 

    When you buy a product, you buy into its whole life-cycle, and we want to make sure that ours is one you can be proud of.


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