So You Want to be a Fashion Designer

By Danielle Lieneman

The fashion industry is one that’s alluring to many, especially with shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway dominating cable. It’s an industry that’s competitive, creative, and captivating. There’s nothing more awe inspiring then seeing the formal gowns donned by movie stars at the Oscars or the edgy outfits gracing the models on the cover of Vogue. We’ve had the pleasure to speak with Ermelinda Manos, a Las Vegas based fashion designer, about what inspired her to join the fashion world, her creative process, and the industry as a whole.

My inspiration when creating a collection comes from films, traveling, and fabric sourcing. My designs are effortless and timeless. I like to accentuate the female form, as I design for a confident and elegant woman.

First, I start off by making mood boards, with inspirational images that help me keep ermelinda-case-study-1focused on the style I want to design. This is helpful to maintain a cohesive collection. Elements, styles, and colors within the collection should be cohesive and all effortlessly flow together, or be able to mix and match the looks with each other. I start sketching my ideas out on my sketchbook, and I sketch the entire inspiration based on how I envision the model on the runway— from hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories to go with the design. After I make several sketches, I make a list of the elements that stand out the most and the fabrics I want to use. I always do a color and trend forecast to make sure that the colors I pick are in season. One of my favorite parts of designing is going to the garment district to source the fabrics, trims, the beading, and all of the materials needed for each design. Sometimes, the design is created after I find the fabric that inspires me.

Next, I lay out all of the fabrics and the materials as I play around with them and create more sketches. This allows me to have a clear vision of what each design will be, as I narrow down my sketches to six to 12 looks that would be the final looks created for the collection.

Ermelinda Case Study 4.jpgThe production begins, and I always have music playing in the background as we start creating the samples. All of the patterns are either draped or drafted, but I prefer draped a lot more. I’m very hands on with the sample processes as it is the most crucial part of the design; there’s room for adjustments during sampling that you cannot do once it’s finalized. I love to sew by hand, more than sewing on the machine, which is why you will find my designs have a lot of details that are handmade. Usually, our fit model is always a standard size when we try on the designs to ensure they are wearable and fit correctly for the ideal woman we have in mind— and that the design is flawless. Once the sampling and fit is approved, we then produce the final look or make multiples of the design.

Hand sewing and creating dresses has been my first love since I was a child. I’m fortunate to be able to live out my childhood dream, but the fashion industry isn’t always so glamorous. I spend many hours in the studio sewing, sampling, or running around downtown for endless hours to find the right bead or the right zipper. It’s a fast-paced industry, and there’s not a lot of time to sit and daydream when creating. Sometimes I have deadlines to create a design within hours, which is a lot of pressure. The results are very rewarding— the moment you see the gown draped on a woman’s body, and the woman feeling confident and beautiful in my design. To be able to have my designs be part of women’s lives, to be a reason for them to feel beautiful and smile, that is what makes everything worth it.

Her advice is so intriguing! I never thought about how fast paced the industry must be and the constant struggle of being creative on a deadline. What do you find most fascinating about the fashion industry?

If you’d like to learn more about the fashion industry, please reach out to us or preorder our book on Amazon!

 

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Mo’s Bows: Fashionable Advice From a Young Entrepreneur

by Danielle Lieneman

We’ve decided to try out something new here at Atlantic Teen! In addition to our regular content, we will have some featured spotlights that correspond with upcoming releases to provide real life experience and advice from young adults just like you! For our first feature, we have Moziah “Mo” Bridges, a 14-Year-Old Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur.

ya_fashiondesignercoverMo will be featured in our upcoming release: So You Want to Be a Fashion Designer: Here’s the Info You Need, which will be available for purchase in early 2017. This book provides all of the information you need to get your foot in the fashion industry, even from your own home! No need to live in New York City with this book in your hands. Reading this book, you will learn how to pursue an education in the industry, how to determine your specialty, pattern-making, bookkeeping, and everything in-between, all explained simply and thoroughly.

 

From Mo himself:

Mo’s Story 

I started my company when I was nine years old, and I started because I couldn’t find any other bowties that really fit my style or my personality. So, that’s when I asked my grandmother to teach me how to sew…From that point, I started an Etsy and then, I would sell my bowties for bags of chips or trade them for rocks… We would go out to farmer’s markets, and we would do local shows and local trunk shows. After that, I would make it into the newspaper, and then the newspaper contacted the magazine. And then the magazine went to the show, and then the show went from show to show to show to show. I didn’t think it would get this big, but my hard work and dedication led me to this point.

Shark Tank actually called us and they wanted us to be on the show. Originally, my mom said no because she didn’t want to have us crying on the show. We went out to LA, and we shot the show, but it wasn’t for sure that we were actually going be on the show; it was just, like, a thing that we did. But then, when it got to that point, we were so excited that we got the opportunity.

If you didn’t see the show, I didn’t walk away with the check, but Daymond [John] did offer to be my mentor… and so, after that, he’s just been guiding me through the practical aspects of owning my own company. He’s taught me always to stay true to your company and never sell out your brand. Always know your brand, and just be yourself. My particular brand is fashionable with a touch of class, and urban.

[Mo’s Bows bowties] are in a lot of stores. I have twelve to fifteen stores that they’re in right now, but, where I get most of the profit is from, um, online, and that’s my website. Someone helped me [make the website]. We have a whole Mo’s Bows team that helps.

Advice for Teens Interested in Fashion:

I would tell them to always figure out what you like doing and find out how you can make profit out of it. And, also, just to be true to yourself and believe in yourself. I think believing in yourself means invest in yourself, and just stay true to your brand, like Daymond always taught me.

I do give back to the community. I have my Go Mo! Summer Camp Scholarship, and 100% of the proceeds help kids go to summer camp because in Memphis it’s hot, and childhood hunger is at its highest in the summertime because kids aren’t eating that nutritious meal [that they’re eating] when school time is in. So, I figured they can have fun, go to the movies, go to the swimming pool, and just be kids.

Future Goals:

I want to be a fashion designer, and I want to have my own clothing line by the time I’m 20. I want to go to Parsons School of Design and hopefully get a Range Rover in the process of that.

Don’t forget to preorder our upcoming book here. Hope you enjoy the read and pursuing your dreams to become a fashion designer!


mo-pro-shot-copy-headshot A former Shark Tank contestant, Moziah “Mo” Bridges is the 14-year-old CEO of Mo’s Bows handmade bowties: a Memphis family-run business. Mo’s bowties have been featured in numerous international publications, and are sold online at mosbowsmemphies.com, as well as Neiman Marcus and other retailers throughout the United States.