Lastly the Shopper on a Mission is looking for a specific piece usually for a special occasion or just to fill a hole in their wardrobe. This shopper is most concerned with silhouette because when searching for a black dress (which is a common piece to search for because of it’s importance in a wardrobe), the client will weed out dresses fist by color obviously (little BLACK dress) then by silhouette. They will be attracted to something that has perfect seams, clean lines, and just th right amount of embellishments. Though it is impossible to know just how much that is because each person is different, you will get a feeling of what is selling and why through your sell-through reports provided by the retail locations and then you can determine how to perfect your future collections based on those reports.
In the case that the Shopper on a Mission is looking for a “dress” for a summer event and has no specific color in mind then color jumps to the front of the line and has to be the main focus.
With that said Thomas Maier, Designer for Bottega Veneta was recently quoted by Style.com as saying:
“I always start with color first. Color, then material, then shape.”
With that in mind it seems as though he has the key elements of his design process in order of priority to that of the client. Smart man. I will get into the design process a little more later on.
After you are intrinsically aware of how your demographic shops you can move onto knowing who your clients actually are. Their age, how many children they have, their income level, if they travel, what kind of occupation they have, what kind of coffee they drink, everything. The more you know the better you can craft products around their specific needs and create clients that are driven to invest in your designs over others. This client loyalty helps to build your reputation and expand your client base. The best compliment is a personal reference, and to get that you must aim for greatness with every stitch.
Here are a couple examples of great designers that have taken the needs of their clientèle and created excellent products for them to use:
Italian fashion house Zegna produced a outerwear piece that had solar panels on the epaulettes and down the placket. Odd, yes but the solar panels were disguised and were used to power the coat. Then in the inside pocket there was a cord that had attachments to your mobile device so you could recharge your phone while wearing this super cool jacket. The price point was very high, over $1000.00 but it sold out in a week with no objections to price from the clients because the product was so perfect for their target audience.
Canadian designer Lida Baday uses Radzmir in her collection which has a percentage of metal in the material. It is perfect for travel because it can be crumpled up, tossing in
a suitcase and worn to dinner in the city you land in. The material is also quite dressy and caters to her clients who have a little more money to spend on clothing.
Iris van Herpen from The Netherlands uses many forms of mixed media to produce her pieces and creates a type of clothing that goes beyond fashion and into more of an artistic category so her clients end up purchasing her pieces as sculptures not just for wear-ability. She has used a printer that uses 3-D ink to create a design that could be worn as a shrug but is extremely delicate and very expensive but it set her apart and got her into the haute couure fashion week in Paris. From this her business exploded and she is now travelling the world and her line is being sold in many countries. Iris van Herpen’s audience is looking for something different regardless of price.