If It Zips It Fits, and other Fashion Lies

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You may be surprised to hear this, but fit is even more important than what you choose to wear, because if whatever you wear fits well or properly and is true to your individual size, then it’s going to be hard for you to look bad.

But what is “Fit”? Just because you can button up or zip into something does not mean that it fits.  In the fashion industry, there are no laws or regulations regarding sizing. So a size 8 in one brand may be a size 12 in another. The sizing differs greatly between brands and manufacturers. This is also part of the reason why you may have already found that Chinese-based online clothing stores run extremely small, with their labels of “large” often being our average equivalent of an “extra small.”

Remember, there is a big difference between something tailored to fit your body, and something plastered on. Some people wear their clothes so tight that it looks like the wearer had to use grease in order to slide into them.

How to Achieve a True Fit:

Knowing your body, especially your body shape, height and proportions, is all very key in this.

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The Philosophy of Fashion

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Due to overly commercialized marketing and constant fast-fashion changes, it may seem thought behind fashion is limited or forgotten, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Many high-end and established designers are very into the “philosophy of fashion.” Just like true art, there is always an idea or an impetus that compels and moves the designer to create, thus giving  them their reason to create.  For some designers, this reason might be very basic or even emotional.  For others, there may be some heavy-duty thought behind it. Regardless, it all comes down to a philosophy.

Just as there are many various modes of philosophical thought, so too the philosophy of fashion can vary.  However, in its essence, the philosophy of fashion boils down to this: A way of expressing an inner truth or belief about an idea, oneself or the world through the medium of clothing.

For me, I believe that all aspects of a garment can speak to a person’s philosophy; from the colors chosen, the textures, the drape and flow, the cut and style, and so many other details can subliminally or very overtly point to something deep within that wishes to be expressed.  

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The Process of Garment Construction

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When you look at your average garment, there are many steps that it went through before you saw it in a store.  What is the design process? I won’t go into every detail and variation, but here I’ll lay out for you some of the basic steps any garment whether custom made or mass-produced will go through:

1- The Concept: This comes from the designer who was inspired by an idea, or by a need that they see for a certain item.  The designer comes up with a finished vision of what they would like to make.  Sometimes a client who wants something privately designed, will give the initial inspiration of what they are looking for, but it is still the designer’s job to execute the vision and make it into a reality.  This often includes a sketch, or flats of what the item should look like.

2- The Pattern:  After the measurements are taken/decided, a pattern is drafted of the garment.  This pattern helps to bring the garment into reality, now it’s really down on paper, piece by piece and step by step.  Sometimes the pattern is graded up or down to accommodate smaller and larger sizes.

Costume Design vs. Fashion Styling

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Apart from an original concept design, such as for a fantasy world or a specific time period piece, much of costume design involves styling; pulling for characters set in modern day clothes (pulling in this post means buying, renting, getting clothes together etc. for the shoot).  This is similar to Fashion styling, so how do they differ? Instead of puling the latest trend, high end designer or avant garde clothing, as one would in fashion styling for a red carpet event or photoshoot, costume design focuses on the character, and bringing that character to life. Some of the questions I would ask myself when doing costume design could be: Does this character have any particular ticks or habits? Are they stylish, frumpy, or nerdy? What would their economic situation be? All these details help me to pick what the character as a real person would actually wear, rather than just make them stylish, because their character might involve to not look stylish.  One area of Fashion styling that can be similar to costume design, is in some of the magazine spreads you might see, where a story is being told or where there is a theme.  What we wear tells our story, it tells the world something about who we are.  

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  • I like how you say that costume design differs from fashion styling because a costume designer takes the character into account. Considering how a character would dress makes sense because it would add legitimacy to the piece. This would be especially prevalent if it is a period piece and that is part of the aesthetic of the film.

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