Fashion by Numbers: Range Planning

Fashion by Numbers: Range Planning

Rick Owens, AW11, Paris.

There are times when you look at the catwalk collections and the sheer volume of garments seems completely daunting, especially if you are a student who has just experienced the pressure of designing a small range, or if you are a young designer who is about to start their own label.

It can be easy to get carried away with the maths of it all… if there are 40 looks and about 3 garments per look then that’s 120 garments that need to be designed, pattern made, cut, fit, altered, sewn etc… and you may begin to think that you simply can’t compete with that size of collection. The truth is though that when you actually break some of the collections down, the clever designers can manage to get maximum impact from far less than 120 separate garments.

One such example is by looking at the collection that Rick Owens presented in Paris for Autumn-Winter 2011. There is obviously some very clever designing and range planning occurring behind the scenes, as the actual number of individual styles worked out to be only about 33 styles by a rough count, a fairly reasonable number considering that it was a 41 look collection.

Not all designers would work with such condensed styles for such a large collection, and it is very dependent on the style of designer. This approach happens to work for the layered look that is such a part of the Rick Owens brand any way. Also, in a situation where a designer does the majority of the pattern making themself, there obviously needs to be some forethought about how this can be managed to complete the collection on time, so careful range planning may form a part of this strategy. This may have played a part in Rick Owens’ strategy due to his background in pattern cutting.

The collection images below have been analysed by giving each separate style a number. Basically every time that a new pattern would be required, there is a new number, and then colour ways are listed next to each number. The reason for analysing the collection in this way is because this is how you would prepare cut sheets for manufacturing. For example, one jacket pattern that needs to be cut in 5 colours will mean that fabrics of different colours can be layered and cut at the one time, from the one jacket pattern. 5 totally different jackets, in 5 different patterns would need to each be cut completely separately, meaning more time and money.

Here is the total list of garments with brief descriptions:

  1. Knitted Hood (Black/Dark Grey)
  2. Fur Hood with Knit Trim (Black/Dark Grey/Light Grey)
  3. Long Suede Gloves (Black/Dark Grey/Light Grey)
  4. Short Suede & Leather Gloves (Black/Dark Grey)
  5. Chunky Knit Dress Longsleeve (Black/Charcoal/Brown/Off White)
  6. Fine Knit Tunic (Black/Brown/Terracotta/Grey/Off White)
  7. Cape with contrast lining (Black w. Off White Lining)
  8. Gathered Cape Full Length (Black/Brown/Grey)
  9. Gathered Cape Midi Length (Black)
  10. Fur Cape Midi Length (Black)
  11. Fur Vest (Black)
  12. Fur Cropped Vest (Black)
  13. Reversible Cape (Brown w. Black Lining)
  14. Panelled Vest Full Length (Black w. Off White/Black w. Black)
  15. Panelled Vest Midi Length (Black w. Black)
  16. Raglan Jacket Full Length (Black/Beige)
  17. Raglan Jacket (Black/Beige/Grey)
  18. Gusset Jacket Short Sleeve (Black/Mushroom)
  19. Contrast Yoke Jacket Full Length (Navy/Mushroom)
  20. Contrast Yoke Jacket Long Sleeve (Navy/Mushroom)
  21. Contrast Yoke Jacket Short Sleeve (Navy)
  22. Contrast Yoke Geometric Jacket (Black)
  23. Contrast Yoke Geometric Crop Jacket (Black)
  24. Leather Jacket (Brown/Black)
  25. Contrast Leather Jacket w. Quilting (Black)
  26. Quilted Angel Jacket Full Length (Black/Brown)
  27. Quilted Angel Jacket Cropped (Black/Light Grey)
  28. Quilted Angel Vest (Black/Light Grey)
  29. Knit Top Long Sleeve (Black)
  30. Basic Top ( Black/Brown/Grey/Off White)
  31. Long Skirt (Shiny Black/Black/Charcoal/Brown/Navy/Mushroom/Off White)
  32. Long Dress (Black)
  33. Slouchy Shorts (Black/Charcoal/Dark Grey/Light Grey/Beige/Off White)

Catwalk images from Vogue.co.uk»

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