What to consider when designing winter fashion:


Laura Volpintesta, croquis book, winter collection sketches in gouache

Not everyone is in this market I’m in, but I live in New York / Connecticut, and it’s FREEZING right now!

So here are a few thoughts to bear in mind when you are sketching/ presenting/ designing a winter collection of clothes, based on my experiences with my fashion design students over many years.

  1. Grab some swatches that are WARM to the touch (woolens, cottons, fleeces, jerseys, knits… close your eyes, and rub the fabric between your fingers. Drape it over your wrist. FEEL IT.)  Most students tend to interpret winter collections with black, grey, and white groups of clothes.  This is fine, although for me personally it can get really depressing! I miss the colors of nature and crave color in my clothes, since that’s one of the only places I’ll be seeing them!   That’s just me, but it’s worth thinking about before you design your black collection for winter AGAIN! Maybe yes, and maybe, no?……
  2. Consider, as always, using a variety of fabric weights for your collection. You certainly could design a group of clothes from a single fabric weight, color, or quality, but you also may want to intentionally include a different weight for shirt or pants, or outerwear piece, or layering piece.
  3. You may want to intentionally include knits (hand knit or jersey) and wovens for a variety of finishes and shapes, or not… but carefully note whether your chosen fabrics are knit or woven and consider the finishes and shapes that work best with each.  If you don’t know , your closet will help you find some answers!! :0)
  4. Remember that when it comes to COLOR in  your fashion collection for winter, whether for children swear, menswear, womenswear, COLOR is independent of season to a great extent.  Each designer has their own aesthetic, but the colors we associate with autumn, for example, have nothing to do with any rules about color for autumn… there are NO RULES.   Color is emotional and beautiful, follow your gut to say something sincere with your color story for your customer’s needs and for beauty or utility.                 Laura Volpintesta, fashionilllustrationtribe, quick croquis rendered in gouache
  5. COVERAGE – I am creating a list here, yes, but THERE ARE NO RULES!!! I am giving you CONSIDERATIONS! You may not live in a cold place, you may be designing evening wear or even seasonless apparel that simply doesn’t need to be warm. But if you want to speak to that market, you should COVER UP THAT BODY in at least some or most of the looks you create. I can’t tell you how many bare skin legs and shoulders I see in Winter collections presentations. Not occasionally, but often as the dominant look.   I think its sweet, because I think it reflects that deep down the designer wants to be free and exposed in the warm sun, but nothing says WINTER like hats, hair down, boots, scarves, turtlenecks and cowls, ribbed knits and layered garments, quilting, outerwear layers, thick fabrics, and fuzz!! SKINTONE most likely will not be one of the dominant colors on the page of your winter collection presentation!
  6. Remember that thicker fabrics will often have rounder edges to them, when drawn, at corners, hems, collars, folded edges, contours and edges.  Knits are even rounder than thick woven fabrics.  Thinner fabrics have sharper corners at bends, folds, and creases than thick fabrics, right?
  7. Finally, when illustrating, remember my golden key: all surface textures for heavily textured fabrics (so wintery, indeed) are not only visible on the surface of the illustration, but so often reflected in the edges of the garment like in this fur.             Laura Volpintesta design sketch
Laura Volpintesta fashion illustrations
Laura Volpintesta, ORiginal fashion design and illustration, Fashion Illustration Tribe

For summer and spring? Well, just reverse these guidelines!:0).  Just kidding. We can discuss and explore all of this and more in my intensive online courses and programs !!,

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I’m so glad you’re here.  Visit the blog for more resources, such as how to present your fabrics, and tips and tutorials! Subscribing at the right sidebar or below will keep you in the loop with blog posts and news!

Good night, and if its freezing, stay warm!


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