Crafty fashion: 5 top tips for designing your own clothes

We all want to express ourselves with our individual look but these days this is not as easy as it once seemed. Fast Fashion means that many stores on the High Street sell exactly the same designs, making original style more difficult to achieve. For creative people though, with an eye for fashion, this can mean that the idea of designing and making your own clothing, and, even selling on your designs through eBay and Etsy, is becoming more popular.

If you are thinking of designing and making your own clothing, then there are some items you should invest in. These will help you to create your own pieces, and also to help you to label and market your items so you can sell them on.

1) Colour dyes – Using colour dyes can be a little bit daunting at first as it can be messy if you’re not prepared but it’s a great way to give a new lease of life to your clothing. When dyeing clothes, it is easier to start with an item that is currently one solid colour and one made of natural materials as this most easy to dye. Choosing your dye needs to be based on the types of material you are using and the method used.

Dyeing in a washing machine is much easier when it comes to cleaning up. Make sure you put plastic down to help with the clean up as well. Don’t be afraid of dyeing your clothes with a blend of colour dyes to really give your clothes a unique colour.

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2) Care and Laundry Labels – These are very important if you intend to sell on your items through an online store or market store. You can add wash labels to your item, it will make it look more professional, are useful to the customer, and can also be a marketing tool as you can add the name of your brand to it.

Wash care labels can be brought in bulk, and can also reflect your brand in that they can also be recycled, a good feature if your brand is all about sustainable fashion.

3) Cut out sections – A very trendy look right now is to have gaps made of slits in your trousers and tops. It is a fashion that can be easily achieved by carefully making slits in your trousers on the knees or across the back of a T-shirt. Start off slowly when making cuts and always check that where the gaps appear does not expose parts of your body that you wish to keep covered!

4) Fabric brooches – If you are looking to add a subtle touch of personality to your look then try creating a fabric brooch. To make a brooch you will need fabric, a needle, thread and a brooch back. Brooches can come in all shapes and sizes and these can be completely unique to your own style.

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5) Draw and paint design Ideas – For those of you who love to draw and paint then why not use that skill directly on a garment? Whether you want to add a small logo to the sleeve of a top or you want to create a full top design then using fabric paints and pens are the easiest way to change the look of a piece of clothing instantly. Keep old magazines and interesting prints that you can use as inspiration.

Remember when designing to not always design clothes with just yourself in mind,  as your designs could help you to create your very own business.

Fashion Is Your Business

It is often considered to be fun, frothy and frivolous. The obsession of the young, those with disposable income, wanting the newest trends as quickly as possible. Yes, fashion often gets a bad press from those who consider clothes to be a functional necessity rather than an obsessive passion. Those who indulge, and indeed love fashion can be labelled shallow, but, in reality, there is so much more to fashion than simply getting a ‘look’.

The Fashion Industry is one of the crowning glories of the British Economy, with London Fashion Week now firmly entrenched amongst the most important in the fashion calendar. It has been estimated that more than 105,000 visitors attended the shows and off schedule events at last years Autumn Fashion week in London, and this, in turn generated an estimated 269million in revenue, making it second only behind New York in terms of profit. This is no mean feat in challenging times. Tie this in with the respect and veneration that some of our greatest fashion exports are held, the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham, Giles Deacon and Marchesa are all British born talent, with Osman, Alice Temperley and Molly Goddard all generating excitement (and A list fans) as their products are displayed on red carpets all around the world. Clearly the fashion industry is more than fun and frivolous.

But as the fashion industry grows, the nature of the selling of High Street Fashion changes. We are seeing more pop up shops and collectives, as shop fittings for temporary stores become more affordable and portable, meaning they can be moved from place to place as small businesses move around.

Fashion is also becoming much more universal in terms of entrepreneurship and business. As the High Street continues to struggle, more and more individuals and independents are starting small businesses and online stores that offer something different from the general High Street fare. Ebay and Etsy stores are becoming increasingly popular, selling a range of fashion products from independent designs to trendy imports that tap into the market. It is becoming far easier to make online stores look attractive and professional, using acrylic display units for jewellery and accessories in order to market your products is now an effective way to add sales.

Plus size stores that avoid the usual cliches of tents and butterflies are also a new and attractive business idea, with the added help that companies like TNT, who consider fashion to be important, giving lots of sound advice on issues like packing your items for delivery, transporting items safely, and even hosting your own fashion show, all important ways of getting your own small business out there onto the fashion radar.

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Whether you look at fashion from a designer point of view, or from the point of view of an etsy store holder taking their first tentative steps into the industry, it is clear that far from being frivolous, fashion truly is big business. All this, and fabulously stylish too.

Iconic Style: Flag Clothing

When it comes to iconic looks and prints, those of the flags of the USA and the United Kingdom are pretty hard to beat. Worn patriotically, like Katy Perry in her Stars and Stripes dress, or Geri Halliwell flying the flag for Cool Britannia in a Union Jack dress that was apparently made from a tea towel, celebs have often turned to the flag when they are trying a real memorable statement.

Geri Halliwell and Sarah Jessica Parker in Union Jack dresses

Katy Perry in a Stars and Stripes Dress

Flag style can be all things to all people.It can be sexy, as shown by Katy and Geri, but it can also be cool and casual when worn in the style of a shirt or a tee shirt like the designs of Patriotic Clothing @ TheFlagShirt.com. The Flag Shirt also shows that the designs can be unisex, and can range to accessories like socks, to leggings for those trying to make a statement, Hawaiian style shirts for those hot summer days, and tie and die designs for those who want to add a modern edge to such a classic look.

The beauty of the flag style is that it is an affordable fashion choice. You can often pick up flag styles on souvenir stores just like Geri’s tea towel, and this is one style choice where it seems to be true when we say the cheaper the better. That said, key designers have also embraced the look, with Anglomania from Vivienne Westwood being one UK designer who often uses the British flag as a starting point (check out the incredible Zendaya in her Anglomania suit below) , and Catherine Malendrino created Halle Berry’s elegant take on the Stars and Stripes. Whilst the flag style can often be considered as a bit of fun, a la Miley Cyrus, it can also be incredible high fashion, as it looks on Zoe Saldana.

So fly the flag in style this season.