Try this merchandise product development exercise at your next Fashion Club meeting and find out why color is so important to fashion brands.
You know fashion design, but do you know what merchandise product development is? It’s the process that takes a garment from the initial concept and fashion sketch all the way through to a finished product hanging on a rack in a store. It goes beyond fashion design to encompass not only the creative process but the strategic, technical, production, and distribution planning of styles.
Merchandise product developers evaluate the target market for brands. Based on that evaluation, they make the product better, picking appropriate textiles, patterns, colors, and silhouettes for the brand and target market.
Color is an especially powerful part of merchandise product development.
Try this exercise at your next FIDM Fashion Club meeting to give your club an overview of merchandise product development—which is one of the majors offered at FIDM!
Gather color swatches that you’ll be using in Step 5. Check with your school’s art teacher to see if they have a Pantone color book you could use. If not, paint chips from a local hardware store would work. You could also opt for creating a Pinterest board of colors.
Divide your FIDM Fashion Club into two groups.
Have each group pick their favorite brand or store so that your club can compare and contrast the two brands (i.e., Marc Jacobs, Forever21, Michael Kors, Vans, Chanel, Vince).
Have each group describe the target customer for that brand, using adjectives only (i.e., chic, young, savvy, mysterious, active, life-of-the-party).
Based on these adjectives, have each group pick colors that represent the words they’ve listed, and put together a color palette aligned with the brand selected. For example, if a target customer is classy, which color represents “classy,” or if a customer is fun, which color shows a “fun” personality? What are some of the basic, must-have colors in the wardrobe for this customer?
As a club, discuss the importance of color in fashion design. It is the first element that a consumer recognizes when they see a design. Color evokes emotion and mood. And it’s closely tied to the season (fall/winter, spring/summer), too.
Ask the question, “Have our color palettes truly reflected the DNA of our brands—the brand personality?” Have each group critique the other. Part of the merchandise product development process is continually critiquing to ensure that the design development meets the brand personality—that it is true to the brand’s essence.