A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design and My Role as a Production Design Assistant
I graduated with honors from college for the second time in my life in 2006 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design. My first degree is an Associates of Applied Science in Fashion Design which I obtained in 1991. I went to school for a total of around 5 years. In between studying for my second degree, I have had many opportunities which I have been given. I have been able to walk away with a wealth of information with which to utilize now and in the future of the apparel industry.
My most recent freelance contractor assignment was working for an outerwear manufacturer. The name of the company is Amerex Group. They design and manufacture for their own private labels as well as for licensed brands such as: OshKosh for kids, Carter’s for kids, Jones New York for women, and Wrangler Hero for men. My job was to assist with production and design with the little girls, infant girls, and toddler girls outerwear. The labels I specifically worked on were: London Fog, OshKosh, and Carter’s. Details are very important when working in production and design. A submission of the wrong fabric, fabric print, fabric color, or even the wrong thread could mean thousands or even millions of dollars lost! If that particular jacket design goes through production overseas and actually makes it through delivery to the stores without design or production calling out the error first, the manufacturer would have to eat the loss or in some cases may even lose that license.
Another part of the job assignment as a production design assistant was calling out specifics of how each outerwear jacket was constructed. Some of the specifics that were called out were: ruffles, gathered stitching, decorative embroideries, pleats and dart seams, topstitching, measurements, and invisible or exposed zippers. Utilizing Adobe Illustrator, the designer first sketches out the garment in color. Then the color is taken out of that sketch by the production design assistant and made into a black and white sketch for production and specs are called out. After the black and white sketch is finalized it is then placed into a spreadsheet along with the breakdown of the garment. Some of the items that are broken down and listed on this production spreadsheet are: polyester fill for the hood and jacket body, zipper components, buttons, snaps, and lining.
After the production sheet is finalized and signed off on by the designer it is then submitted overseas via e-mail. That production sheet is utilized for the sewing factories overseas. They sew up the samples and final samples. The samples are shipped back to the manufacturer for approval by the buyers and designers alike. Upon approval the garment is finalized and production can begin. This means the buyer has to see and sign off on the finished final garment before production can proceed and shipping to stores begins.
So you can see what an important role working as a production design assistant can be and how it plays in the domino effect on mass production of garments in the apparel industry. I believe this position will become the catalyst for a new start up under my own label or as a stepping stone to working on the manufacturing side of the apparel industry.