Curious about how our clothes go from concept to in-your-cart? BB Dakota Senior Designer Gloria K. gives us an inside look at the design process behind the Turn Up The Heat dress from our Summer '19 collection.
Every season's collection begins with the initial inspiration board. This inspo can come from almost anywhere! Magazines, runway, Instagram, Pinterest, shopping trips abroad, etc... Sometimes someone will walk into the office wearing some killer vintage piece and we'll think, "how can we apply these unique design details to something fresh and modern?" From a high-level planning perspective, we'll look at sales trends from the previous year and the emerging fashion and cultural trends happening currently to predict what colors, fabrics, and styles you'll be wanting to wear a year from now. You heard that right. We start the design process a full year before it arrives on the racks.
Once we've arrived at a general #mood for the season, it's time to get to work on our sketching and really flex our design skills. While we often do our initial sketches by hand, the final sketches or "CADs" are done in Adobe Illustrator. When you design as much as we do, this saves a ton of time because we can pull from a library of "bodies" we've already designed, and can make adjustments, add details, or update colorways quickly. When a finished sketch is ready for review, we'll determine exactly what fabrics, prints, and colorways we want to produce the final design in. We'll often sketch and design our own original prints in-house, as well!
After a sketch is finalized, we'll hand it off to our amazing in-house sewing team to create a custom sample or pattern. This sample will help inform the technical specs that we will eventually send to our manufacturer. So much attention goes into the smallest of details, from the placement of darts to choosing the right buttons, zippers, or linings. We pride ourselves in taking our time to get all of those details just right. Which brings us to...
The fit session is where we iron out all the kinks and make sure everything is perfect before going into production. Our manufacturer will send us a fit sample which we'll measure, grade, and toss on our brilliant fit model, Scarlett, to make sure everything is just how we want it. It's super helpful to have a fit model like her, who has the technical knowledge and vocabulary to identify flaws in the fit and articulate what adjustments need to be made. After the fitting, we'll send these notes back to the manufacturer and they'll send us an updated sample. Sometimes this can take a few rounds of back and forth to get right, but it's all worth it to arrive at a garment we're proud of.
Production & Sampling
Phew... we made it! Before going into production, the factory will send us one last "top of production" sample for us to green light. We'll also receive a handful of salesman samples ahead of production that go to each of our showrooms. These samples are used by our sales team to show to wholesale buyers, our PR team for press send outs, and by our creative team for photoshoots (the fun part!). Then, when we're ready to move on, we bid a final farewell to these samples in our big, fat semi-annual sample sale. Meanwhile, the finished product is shipped to our ecomm warehouse where it eagerly awaits you to scoop it up and give it a forever home in your closet.