Hello, so happy to have you back on our blog today! We are taking a break from our introductory blog series to discuss something equally interesting and fascinating with you. I would like to guide you trough our fabric selection processes. This blog would introduce you to the steps, processes and the creative ideas behind the patterns and fabrics we use for our collections. I really hope you enjoy this post.
Our fabrics and patterns are highly influenced by the heritage of the patterns. At Akwan2fo we are proudly working with fabrics that are printed in Africa it self. This greatly influences our choice of fabric and inspires most of our collections. We generally decide on a style when producing a collection and use fabrics that match this style. Styles can be minimalist (like our last collection), vibrant, tribal, etc.
The First Step
When we decide to release a new collection, the very first step we take is to conduct a research within our target groups. Depending on the results of this research, our specialized team of a designer and a stylist come together to decide on the sketches and match them with the results derived from our target group research. At this stage everyone’s input is very necessary, the stylist will make sure the sketches fit the target group, whilst the designer explains the idea behind every sketch. This process is very important because it ensures that we jointly decide what can be produced and how that relates with our target group and customers.
The Next Step
After the sketches have been concluded our Ghanaian staff will contact our wholesalers to get photos of available patterns and fabrics (this process comes into play because we do not yet have the fabrics custom made to fit our needs). After this is done, the stylist works hand in hand with the designer to select fabric patterns and colors that relates with the trends and our target customers needs. The final selection is done by the team putting into consideration the advice from our stylist. We always make sure that the fabrics and design merge in a way that 1+1 = 3, because a great design without a great fabric will result in a not so great finished product. the fabric and design of the item should really empower eachother.
During our fabric shopping stage, we always work closely with our wholesalers. They are very instrumental in our fabric selection process as they provide us with a comfortable space to lay out our sketches, the pattern and color scheme. This process allows us to match fabric texture with the sketches and decide which fabrics work for which designs. “I sometimes compare a fabric to a book, it has a story and one should be able to interpret it” – William said. We work with GTP and Woodin fabrics and their vendors have been very helpful during our processes as they ensure we have the right information and the right space to make our choices.
The main challenge we experience when selecting our fabrics is the issue of discontinued prints. This is an issue that takes creativity, proper research and calculation to manage it. We ensure that our fabrics are purchased in bulk quantities well ahead of time to make sure that if a particular style is popular with our customers we have enough fabrics to reproduce. Another challenge is ensuring we use fabrics that are unique and not over used: “We make sure that we do not follow the trends, we choose unique patterns and we study what our colleagues are using. This helps us provide our customers with fresh and unique pieces!” – William.
I hope you gained an insight in our fabric selection process. If you have any questions I would love to answer them!
x Jane Frances