From Idea to Fashion: Andrea Karg About her Design Process
Cashmere and fashion are my biggest passions, to which I have dedicated myself in my designs for Allude since 1993. For women alone I develop and produce six collections per year — in addition, there are the lines for men and children as well as home and accessories.
I don’t follow a strict plan for brainstorming, however. I initially rely mainly on my gut instinct, which gradually intensifies based on my own ideas as well as monitoring of the market and thanks to the input of trend forecasting agencies — in other words, it slowly becomes clearer and more explicit. In my mind I then translate this mix of inspirations into shapes, colours and patterns for the collection.
The most important thing for me is that the pieces will not only look good but also perfectly fit my customers’ lifestyles. For what use is the most beautiful piece of clothing if it is neither comfortable nor suitable for everyday use? This phase of my creative process is therefore all about a haptic approach: to touch the material, to place stitches, to knot or wrap together different textures. This results in a sort of collage that includes various ways and approaches for further development.
I then hand over this input to my design team, and they continue to develop my creative ideas and concepts in mood boards. I myself do not draw. At this point my team acts as my extended arm that turns my design concepts into first sketches and sample parts.
Since we have some knitting machines in our design department, we can follow the process closely. We can try out patterns right away and see immediately how an idea can be implemented. Will the trousers fit the way I had imagined it? Does a mix of soft cashmere and coarse leather even work?
My love of experimenting often poses enormous challenges, which I am happy to take on, though. There simply is no such thing as “It doesn’t work” for me – neither in design nor in business; I like to puzzle out initial problems.
As soon as the first sample parts are done, it’s time for refinements: The common thread, the signature style and the concept must be coherent. We sort out and sometimes even make design changes. Once everything looks good and the quality is as high as our customers expect from Allude, the collection is turned over to the sales department, which organises the actual production and later distribution of the garments.
Wherever Allude cashmere is available – whether in a boutique, concept or department store or in our online shop – the pretty companions are then just waiting for one thing: to be allowed to finally envelop their new owners in pleasantly soft luxury.