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Fashion and apparel designing


Current trend is the key word of fashion. An individual style can also be a fashion when it is related to the current trend. Everyone has their own style according to their own choice but it cannot be a fashion when it is not related to the present trend. The train of fashion neither ends nor it waits for anyone. This cycle run continuously whether you get it on, accept it or not. Where a fashion end from there a new one starts. More popular fashion sustains for long time and some others were too short due to lack of popularity and people’s acceptability. Sustainability and appearance of fashion depends on culture, norms, values and so on. It changes when people get fatigue with. Moreover change of season has a great impact on fashion development. Designing of fashion is a creative thing and the sector of fashion designing is versatile too. A major part of fashion includes apparel designing. Live and materialistic accessories support the fashion trend always and also help a person to be more trendy and fashionable.

1. Introduction:

Fashion is a general term for a popular style or practice, especially in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body piercing or furniture. “Fashion” refers to an idiosyncratic; however, often-habitual trend in a look and dress up of a person, as well as to establish styles in behavior. “Fashion” usually is the newest creations made by designers and are bought by only a few numbers of people; however, often those “fashions” are translated into more well-known or current trends.

Fashion design is the art of the application of design and aesthetics or natural beauty to clothing and accessories. Fashion design is influenced by cultural and social norms, and has varied over time and place. Fashion designers work in a number of ways in designing the cloths and accessories. Some designers working alone and several of them are in a group. They attempt to satisfy consumer desire for aesthetically designed clothing and due to the time boundary to bring a garment onto the market they must have to anticipate the consumer desire.

Designer Karl Lagerfield said, “Fashion is a train that waits for nobody. Get it on or it’s gone.”

As early as 1600, Shakespeare wrote that “fashion wears out more apparel than the man”.

2. Fashion cycle:

A fashion cycle is the term used to express the process that a type of fashion goes through and this is where designers bring back something that was fashionable. The fashion first gains mass acceptance from the consumers and then with time, the tastes and preferences of the consumers’ ebbs, which causes the fashion to lose that acceptance [1]. In short the way in which fashion changes according to its own way is usually described as a fashion cycle. Typically fashion cycle is depicted as a bell shaped curve having five stages: introduction, rise in popularity, peak of popularity, decline in popularity, and rejection stage.

01Figure 1: Sequence of changes in fashion cycle

2.1 Introduction of a style:

Designers interpret their research, thinking and creative ideas into appeal including accessories and show their design for the first time at renowned fashion design centers or at local fashion shows during fashion week. Then offer the new styles to the public but only few people can afford and accept the new style due to related high price value. This new style consume high production cost that’s because designers create new designs by working hard, implementing new ideas again changing elements such as line, shape, color, fabric, and details and their relationship to one another.

This “latest fashion” may not yet be accepted by anyone or may be accepted by a limited number of people. In first stage of the cycle, fashion implies only style and newness.

2.2 Rise in popularity:

In the second phase the new style is accepted ,purchased and worn by few peoples then it can attract the concentration of many people and also the attention of buyers, dealers, hole-sellers and retailers by the press, media and the public. Many dealers become interested to invest their money for the new design and for more profit some manufacturer’s starts to copy it by using less expensive fabric and materials. To suit the needs of their own customers, some designers may modify the most popular style on the basis of country, domain, religion and other related factors.

2.3 Peak of popularity:

When a fashion is at the height of its popularity, many manufacturers duplicate it. There are many versions available at various price levels. Availability of those products at many price levels is one of the basic causes of its popularity. Customers want clothes that are in the mainstream of fashion and volume production requires a likelihood of mass acceptance. When an item survives long time it becomes a classic model.

2.4 Decline in popularity:

Demand for the item decrease gradually and consumers begin to look for something new. Consumers no longer willing to buy them and market may be flooded with new items according to the buyer interest. Retail stores put such declining styles on sale racks, hoping to make room for new merchandise.

2.5 Rejection of a style or obsolescence:

People get bored with old one and eagerly want a new look. Though prices are low but people do not want to by them. In the last phase of the fashion cycle, people are no longer interested, some consumers have already turned to new looks, thus beginning a new cycle.

3. Components of fashion:02

Chart 1: Mazor Components that represents fashion


Style is a particular characteristics or look in apparel. A style may come and go in fashion, but that specific style always remains that style, weather it is fashion or not. Style mainly depends on the person and may vary from person to person.


People get bored with what they have and look for change. So fashion needs changes constantly. One thing is consistent in fashion and that is change.


Acceptance is one of the pre-conditions of fashion. For fashion, acceptance is must because there is no fashion if nobody buys it.

4. World fashion industries:

Today fashion is a global industry, and most of the countries have a fashion industry. Some countries are major manufacturing centers, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Bangladesh, South Korea, Spain, Germany, Brazil and India. Five countries have established an international reputation in fashion: France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan.

5. Fashion education:

There are a number of well-known specialized art schools and design schools worldwide that offer degrees in fashion design and fashion design technology. The most notable design schools in Bangladesh include:


  • BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology
  • Bangladesh University of Textiles (Fashion Department)
  • Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology
  • College of Fashion Technology and Management

03Figure 2: A student fashion show, 2010

Some notable Indian Fashion schools are:

  • National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT)
  • Institute of Apparel Management (IAM)
  • Pearl Academy of Fashion (PAF)
  • North Indian Institute of Fashion Technology (NIIFT)

6. Scopes of fashion design:

Fashion designing has a great demand worldwide. Along with creative sketching, the designers travel to fashion & accessories shows or fabric houses. When most people think about a fashion career, they picture a designer sketching an idea for a new dress, or a model walking down a runway to show off the latest design. [4].

Following are some regular apparel categories designers’ work with:

table-1Table 1: Category wise area of fashion design

7. Designing garment:

Fashion designers work in different ways. Some sketch their ideas on paper, while others drape fabric on a dress form. When a designer is completely satisfied with the fit of the toile, he or she will consult a professional pattern maker, who then makes the finished, working version of the pattern out of card or via a computerized system. The pattern maker’s job is very specific and painstaking. The fit of the finished garment depends on their accuracy. Finally, a sample garment is made up and tested on a model to make sure it is an operational outfit. The fashion designer needs to meet with a pattern maker and sample maker to figure out if the sketch on paper can be brought to life according its vision.

Features related to fashion and apparel design:

  •  Shaping, fashionable cut and basic silhouette.
  •  Surface ornamentation and decoration.
  •  Length, width and construction.
  •  Color, pattern, drape and texture of material.
  •  Trimmings and accessories.

7.1 Styling:

For shaping and giving the apparel a fashionable cut basic silhouettes can be used: A-line, H-line, I-line, T-line, V-line, X-line, Y-line, Bell-line, Balloon-line, Empire-line, Charleston-line, Empire-line, Princess-line etc.

08V-Line the accent, just like with the Y-Line                                                     Balloon –Line Sleeve

7.2 Surface decoration & ornamentation:

7.2.1 Decorative stitches & embroidery:

Design in apparel may be created by using different types of stitch like lock, chain, hand, zigzag stitch etc. The decorative stitches on sewing machine are a quick and easy way to add embellishment and decorative design to all sewing projects. As dozens of small stitches are used to complete a decorative stitch so there is a possibility to pucker and distort stitches. To prevent this

  • Sew slowly, carefully and slightly loosen the top tension.
  • Use fine thread in the bobbin which will prevent birds’ nests in the bobbin area.
  • Use a tear-away or iron-on stabilizer underneath the fabric to provide support.

09Various Stitches & Embroidery

 Figure 4: Design using various type of stitches, embroidery and accessories

7.2.2 Appliqué & reverse appliqué:

In the context of designing and sewing, an appliqué refers to a needlework technique in which pieces of fabric, embroidery, or other materials are sewn onto another piece of fabric to create designs, patterns or pictures.


 Appliqué                                                                                        Reverse Appliqué

Figure 5: Quilt block in appliqué and reverse appliqué

In a Reverse appliqué, several layers of material are stitched together, parts of the upper layers are cut away, and the edges are stitched down. The largest cuts are made in the topmost layer .In case of reverseappliqué applied pieces basically have their edges folded under, and are then attached by any of the following:

  • Straight stitch, typically 20-30mm in from the edge.
  • Satin stitch, all around, overlapping the edge. The patch may be glued or straight stitched on first to ensure positional stability and a neat edge [6].

7.2.3 Pleats & Tucks:

14 15

Pleat is fold in cloth made by doubling the material upon itself and then pressing or stitching it into place. There are four kinds of pleats, flat pleats, projecting pleats, accordion pleats and wrinkled pleating.

Tuck is a way of reducing fabric measurements in one or both directions. There are several types of tucks, such as standard tucks, curved tucks, shell tucks, and slashed tucks.

7.2.4 Piping & bindings:

Binding is a way of neatening a raw edge using a separate length of fabric, usually in a contrasting color. Piping is a way to emphasize a seam or edge and can add strength to corners that might receive a lot of wear.

For both binding and piping strips of fabric cut on the bias are used as this makes them slightly stretchy. Instruction of Piping and binding is given below;

17Instructions on cutting bias strips23

Figure 8: Bias strips and seam line

1. To cut bias strips fold the fabric diagonally as shown in figure 8, so that the straight edge remains parallel to the selvedge.

2.  Press or iron this fold and use this crease as a guide to mark parallel lines for bias strips.

3.  To join bias strips place two lengths, right sides together, right angles to each other and stitch.

4.  After stitching open out, press seam open and trim off the overlapping edges.

Instructions on binding an edge19

 Figure 9: Constructions of binding

  1. Cut bias strips 4 times the finished width of the binding required.
  2. Fold both raw edges to the centre on the back and iron.
  3. Open up one side of the binding.
  4. Place this side of the binding onto the right side of the fabric raw edge
  5. Then stitch along the folding line.
  6. Fold the binding over the raw edge to another side (wrong side) of the fabric.
  7. Pin and slip stitch the fold of the binding to line of stitches on that side.

Instructions on piping

24Figure10: Piping with cord

Piping can be made by covering cord with strips of bias cut fabric. The cord comes in a range of thicknesses and is readily available from fabric and upholstery stores.

Combination of pleats tucks, piping bindings

Fig-13 represents the katan silk with brocade borders on the bottom and brocade paisley appliqué embroidery on ghera. The collection is exquisitely stitched with pin tucking and pleating details.25

Figure 11: Combination of pleats tucks, piping bindings

7.2.5 Frills & flounces:

Frillsare gathered, ruched, or pleated strip of cloth sewn on at one edge only, as on garments, as ornament, or to give extra body.

27Figure 12 : Uses of frills, flounces in skirts, sleeves and marriage gown

Flounces give fluffy looks in apparel, mainly used to furnish an outstanding look in baby, girl and women dresses.

7.2.6 Laces & braids:

A braid is a complex structure or pattern formed by intertwining three or more strands of flexible materials such as textile fibers, wire or human hair. Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. The holes can be formed via removal of threads or cloth from a previously woven fabric, but more often open spaces are created as part of the lace fabric.

28                                       Dress design stand on lace

Figure 13: Laces and braids utility on fashion designing

7.3 Color and other properties of materials: 

Use of different colors and various types of fiber, yarn, fabric and finishing can develop a new apparel design. Design can also be created by varying, length width, number and design of pockets, sleeve, position of sleeve, collar, pockets etc.

29Figure 14: Creation of new design by changing color, texture, and construction of fabric

7.4 Trimmings:

Cord is a trimming made by twisting two or more strands together. Interlining is the process of joining or attaching special fabric in between two components or pattern of any garment to retain the original shape, increase attractiveness, stiffness etc.Linings, padding, fasteningare also considered as trimmings.Those also have considerable impact on fashion Designing.

31Figure 15: Lining & Interlining

8. Accessories:

Accessories are often chosen to specifically complement the wearer’s look.

Fashion accessories can be loosely categorized into two general areas:

  • those that are carried
  • those that are worn

Traditional carried accessories include purses and handbags, hand fans, umbrella sand ceremonial swords . smart phones, miniaturized portable music players , earphones and earplugs, and  computing devices may also be regarded as fashion accessories.

33Accessories that are worn may include jackets, boots and shoes, cravats, neckties, belts, gloves, muffs, jewelry, watches, sashes, mufflers, shawls, scarves, socks, and stockings.Hair ornaments include hairpins, hair clips hair sticks, headbands, and artificial flowers etc.

Sunglasses, colored or shaped contact lenses, and other eyewear are commonly used as fashion accessories.

36Handbags, shopping bags, briefcases, courier bags, daypacks, camera bags, and even large backpacks have fashion implications beyond their use for carrying items. Jewelry is a major subcategory that includes rings, ear rings, nose pins, tie tacks, necklaces, bracelets, lapel pins, and other wearable adornments.

Some professions have developed special accessories whose distinctive look has later been adopted by others as fashion statements such as “ten-gallon hats” (cowboys),hardhats (construction workers), fishing vests (fly fishermen), aviator sunglasses (aircraft pilots), sailor caps (mariners), cargo pants (military and outdoorsmen), and a variety of athletic shoes from different sports.

8.1 Live Accessories :

Small pets, including toy dogs, birds, snakes, and chirping crickets have been carried as fashion accessories. Talking parrots are widely recognized as part of a stereotypical pirate outfit.

38Figure 16: Live Accessories

Flowers, in the form of nosegays, boutonnières, corsages, wreaths, bouquets and other forms, have long been used as living fashion accessories. In addition, beautiful women companions of rich and powerful men have often been characterized as “arm charms” or “arm candy”, and small children have been called the ultimate luxury fashion accessory.

9. Conclusion:

Fashion may be used to promote a cause, for example, to promote healthy behavior, to raise money for a cancer cure, to raise money for local charities. One up and coming fashion cause is trash ion which is using trash to make clothes, jewelry, and other fashion items in order to promote awareness of pollution.

In today’s competitive fashion world fashion design is a very important element for fashion marketing. Shape, silhouette, and style—these words capture the essence of apparel design. Decisions about shape, silhouette, and style guide the design development process. Designers and merchandisers give careful consideration to these fundamentals for even the most basic garments.

Reference: The article has been developed using information collected from different websites

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