Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The journey so far as a fashion design student

Photoshoot for our outfits came back! 
Did a little editing on my phone hahahhaha.

So. Can't believe it's happening so fast.
I will be graduating next thursday (!)
Convocation and fashion show will be held at J.W. Mariott Ballroom.

The journey so far? Hehe.
Going to talk about what producing a collection is like.

Currently I'm doing what we call a "mini collection" for our fashion show.
Each student will produce five outfits according to their inspiration.

Let's get started what goes behind the scenes of being a fashion design student. 
HAHAH. Finally something educational on my blog. -,-

First up is DRD, design research and development.
You choose your subject then explore the theme.
For this collection, I chose chandelier.

Initially I wanted pastries because you know, I'm the kind of girl who is girly and all rainbows and butterflies. BUT LECTURER SAID , NO!!! Too childish I think? HAHAHHA.
As in, not deep enough/abstract enough. 

So I moved on to chandelier and was given an okay.
Other students choose even more abstract things, like culture. 
Maori people, etc. Some chose thunder.

There's not really any limit.

And then you start sketching. Different designs and silhouettes etc.
Drawn from your inspiration.

Once the design is confirmed, illustrate front and back. 
And do flat sketch, which is technical drawing. Black and white
with all the seamlines and fastenings that you neglect when doing artistic illustrations.

Flat sketch are the ones you send to manufacturer for them to draft for you.

Something like this that you can do on Adobe Illustrator.

Got this off google, I have flat sketches but they're PDF form hehe.
Flat sketches have to be symmetrical and drawn in proportion to the human figure.

Next, figure out what fabric manipulation will suit your inspiration.

Fabric manipulation is basically anything you do that changes the fabric.
Fabric by itself is always flat and boring.

So you can do stuff like add pleats, do laser cuts, patchwork, appliques, beading, ruching.
To name a few. Dip dye as well. Smocking, layering. The list goes on.

Mine is just beading and a bit of layering and lace patchwork.
A lot of beading. Lol.

Next, you will have to draft your design.

This is how to draft a basic bodice block, which is something "like" a tank top.
A basic top, so to say. 

Darts are used to contour the body since our body have curves.
However, you can also "throw away" the dart by pivoting it or turning it into a seamline.
Pushpoints and notches are used to mark the fabric for the seamstress to sew. 

A bit technical right? Like how architect draw houses except fashion designers draw garment blocks.
I used to think fashion design was damn easy until I start studying the course. Lol. You can't sit still because it's not theory. There's a lot of practical work.

Usually the drafting is called the masterplan, done on a piece of mahjong paper.
I remember going to a book shop and buying a roll of mahjong paper and the shopkeeper thought I only wanted two pieces. NOOOO I need the whole roll like 50 pieces.

After you have done your masterplan, you will then have to trace out the pattern pieces.
Basically, you trace out each panel and add on seam allowance.
Usually, 1cm seam allowance is added for the seamstress to sew.
2cm seam allowance is added for zipper openings.

Next, you will have to cut out your pattern pieces.

And then buy your damn fabric if you haven't, and start cutting them. 
Basically before proceding to this step you will have to go to JALAN TAR
to buy about 2-5 meters of fabric according to your garment, zippers and buttons if needed, matching threads and interfacing. 1 meter of fabric can be as cheap as RM4 per meter, to RM1000 a meter.
LOL. But most people buy around RM10-60 a meter.
RM100 a meter can buy you really great fabrics.

However, manufacturer which mass produce clothings will have MUCH cheaper prices when it comes to fabric since it's in bulk. Maybe they produce 500 pieces using the same fabric and use 1500 meter of fabric.

That is why making a garment is such a tedious process.

Ok. Then you will have to pin your pattern pieces to your fabric and cut them.
Then mark your notches and pushpoints.

Then cut your interfacing and iron them to make it glue to your self fabric.

AND THEN you have to go to the overlock machine and overlock your fabric edges so that it doesn't fray. If you do lining or french seam/ flat felled seam you may skip this step.

Oh wait, did I mention you also have to do a toile? HAHA.
It's a sample made out of muslin, a cheap dummy cotton fabric you can get for
RM3-5 per meter.

This was the toile for the backless gown.
Looks so bare right lol.

You need a toile so that the garment fits right and is what you imagined.
On paper, everything is flat so you can't really tell.

On the other hand, you can achieve pattern-making by draping.
Draping involves using muslin (the stupid dummy cheap cotton but ever so helpful)
and draping it onto mannequin. Your mannequin should have style lines such as waist line chest line and princess line for you to follow.

Draping is great for flowy garments with a lot of flare.
Or curvy/oddly shaped seamlines and cutlines and form-fitting garments.

Drafting is great for jacket and menswear.
Or adding details like pockets/waistbands.

Backless gown actual, one side with beading and one side without beading. 
What a difference lol.

Backless gown behind.
This was done using draping,
because of the open back.

Next, photoshoot!
It was a six hours affair with make up and hair team.
Models rate was about RM2k a day?
Photographer I think was RM6.
Runway models altogether was about RM16k or 22k HAHAH i forgot.

Taken by iphone

Then the photos came back!

Such a world of difference.
Iphone and professional photography. HAHAHAHA.
I like my detail shot.

Another model who came for fitting today.

She tried on the three piece (pants bodice jacket) and jumpsuit

The outfit is not complete yet, lol. Have a lot of beading and patchwork to be added on to the jacket,
especially the lapels and the shoulder part.


I'm really thankful to have been able to come this far.
My work is very far from perfect, I have lots to learn, but I'm glad I'm still learning.

And thank you God for answering my prayers and giving me the strength to carry through!
There were times I wanted to give up, especially during the first year.

First year is the hardest. You're learning a new skill, your brain is rewiring itself, and sometimes you end up tangled in knots. But. Perservere. If it is your dream, your passion- then don't give up.

Remember people say, if you find a job you love, you won't work a day?

I almost wanted to get into business course and take the so-called "easier" course in my mind.
I pictured sitting in lecture halls and typing a lot of things. No more assignments and designing work.
That was when I dropped out of The One Academy.

I remember telling someone I wanted to go business course and she said, "why give up on your passion?". HAHAH. I think it was Jennie. So yeah. There might be times you want to give up, but always remember in life you have to sacrifice and it will be worth it in the end.

My ambition to be a fashion designer started when I was around 7 ( I think)?
It started from drawing. I was in primary one and I had this sketchbook where I doodled
little girls and their outfits.

I loved drawing a lot. Sadly, nowadays I don't get to draw so much because of assignments hahaha.
Actually, people think you have to be draw to be a designer. Nope, not a prerequisite.
You have to design to be a designer. Honestly, I think drafting/draping/sewing is more important than drawing because it makes the actual product. Drawing is great though to get your ideas across. 

I would say if you have an affinity towards something, then go for it by any means.
Sports, reading, debating, whatever. I want my kid to be passionate about something, and not be a dead poker faced straight A student. Because it's passion that drives people.
Passions makes you hone your talent. When you're good at something, never do it for free. LOLOL.

Like baking. If you bake yummy cookies and people start requesting them from you,
sell them instead lol. Like famous amos! His story hehe.

I quite regret I wasn't so serious during my first year of college. 
I put more thoughts into dressing myself up and partying than college.

But this fashion show was a great learning curve.
3 months of work for 3 minutes on stage. 

I'm glad to have this opportunity, to be able to pursue my passion.
I'm thankful for daddy for putting me through college. Money is hard to earn.
If there is something my daddy taught me (and it's endless), one of the notable values is
diligence and perseverance.

Daddy is a business man. He used to work two jobs. One from morning until evening,
another from evening until night. Just to feed his family, to buy milk for my korkor because daddy always complained he drank so much milk and it was so expensive. HAHAHHA.

He would come home at midnight, sleep, do it all over again.
Day job is being a car spray painter, night job was lorry driver for metal scrap.
His wages for the day job was about RM60 a month.
Soon, his night job earned him more than his day job.
He found lobang and quit his day job.

So that's how he ended up in the metal industry.
I admire my dad for coming from not having enough money to eat to owning his own little company.
So many pai ka cai out there spending money like no one's business when others would die to have that sort of money as a start up capital.

But in life, if there's a will there's a way.
I believe life is fair and your hardwork will pay off.


There are two options for me now.

Work start with advanced diploma on hand. Gain financial freedom and work experience quick as I'm only 21. I want to work as a fashion designer in a company to see how things run. Maybe miss selfridge/ H&M/ Pestle & Mortar/ Forever 21/ Dior

Or. Study abroad and further my adv diploma into a BA degree. Studying abroad is a lifetime experience and gives you exposure/advantage compared to not having the chance. You have to get used to the new culture and being occasionally homesick.

Degree might take one or two years. Intake starts in September. 
Thinking of Heriott Watt in West London.

Boyfie might also be studying in UK next Jan.
His one will be two years, degree to masters.

I think studying abroad would be the stronger option as of now :/
I still have a year or two to spare as I'm only 21. 
If Sep intake and two years duration I will be 23 reaching 24 when I come.

You know. My dream is to always have my own brand.
Doesn't matter how big or how small.
Just something totally from my head. Having creative control.

Doesn't matter five years, ten years, fifteen years.
I want to build my own brand. 

I'll just call it Bubu, it's catchy and easy to remember.
Karen is like. Who the fuck. So many Karen out there.
HAHAHAHAHH. People know me by Bubu too anyway.

So. If I study abroad. 24 I'll start working, I'll work six years under some company.
First two/three years will be junior level la, getting the hang of things.
If I get managerial position by five or six years then I might work longer a bit.
Like two years longer so eight years.

By early thirties I should have garnered enough experience of how a brand/company runs.
The ins and outs of fashion industry. Then start my own brand.
I want to build a strong foundation first, and try working for others.
Build good working ethnics.

It's easier to be a employee than to be an employer.
So why try to be employer when you can't even be a good employee right lol?
I'm sure it will be stressful. But, exciting.

HAHHAA. I think mid forties I will slow down la.

Eh I wanna have kids also. Hopefully I can recover on time. Lol.

Anyway I have been lazy and enjoying life for quite some time now.
It's only this year that I've begun to sober up more and put more emphasis on discipline and study.
I'm in my twenties, I'm pumped. LOL. I got time and energy. HHAHAAH.

So better do more than be lazy. 

Well, that's all this post!
Hope you guys enjoyed reading.

Nights xx college tmrw wtfbbq


  1. this was such an inspirational post. thank you for giving me the courage to dream bigger to become a violin soloist. i am still pretty laid back as i am teaching violin everyday... not.much time for my diploma. need to work up and get even busier!! anyway your dress idea about chandelier is beautiful. seriously, looked so good on the models too! :-) keep it up, and one day i'll be a BUBU supporter! :-)

    1. You can do it nina 😙💐 saw u perform back in high school, you've always been talented in music and drawing. Creative person you are! You're an inspiration too :) hehe. Go get em! And thanks for the support! Xoxo 💕