The Art of Textile Embellishment; a Visit with Fashion Design Concepts in NYC

Textile embellishment is an art form and a skill and should not (cannot!) be taken on by a amateur. From beading to embroidery, it’s important to make sure the fabric you have purchased to use in your painstakingly designed garments will be well cared for when being manipulated, stitched, pulled, and ruched. Knowing this, I scheduled a visit to Fashion Design Concepts to check out exactly what they do and get the lo-down on how a designer, especially a newbie, can get started.

Embroidery Yarn- Fashion Design Concepts

On a lovely Manhattan afternoon, I sat down with Samantha Cortes, textile designer and founder of Fashion Design Concepts,  to learn about what exactly they offer in terms of embellishment as well as the necessary steps needed to work with them.  While the company does work with emerging talent, their main clients are some of the biggest names in fashion, and they’re particular about the new brands they take on, wanting to withhold a certain amount of integrity within the business.  Well noted and completely understood.

Textile Embellishment Technique

So here’s what I learned:

Fashion Design Concepts is a textile design and embellishment studio that aims to create textile movement through a diverse portfolio of combined techniques like embroidery, hand beading, use of elastic, stud work and more.  There are two ways in which designers or brands can work with them.

Option 1 is to visit their showroom, look through their racks of collections (they produce seasonal and smaller collections), and choose something that fits your garment.  You can select a concept as is or modify to your needs.

Option 2 is to arrive with a technique in mind and inquire about the capability of the team to create it. The thing to keep in mind with this option is that sketch to production is not always feasible so you have to be open to the following:

  • See the Big Picture, don’t get yourself so locked into a concept that you fail to be flexible
  • Know what you want so the team can work to help you get to the next step.  Making an appointment and walking in blindly is kind of a waste of time, no?
  • Remain open minded for production suggestions.  Remember, you may create the most amazing sample in the world, but if you can’t afford to put it in production, what’s the point?

Textile Embellishment technique

My experience at Fashion design Concepts was insightful and interesting. The racks of embellishment concepts were stunning and I even got a little behind the scenes for next season and a some insider info about a program the studio is cooking up for budding designers…. Nope I can’t tell you yet, I pinky swore.

If you’re a serious designer and are truly interested in using embellished textiles in your work, you may want to book an appointment with someone from the team. Just remember to have an idea of what you want and be flexible!

You can check out more images from my visit on our FaceBook photo album!

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Krista

    This is a great article and one that I can totally relate with in my own business. We outsource our embroidery work, but the embellishments (bling) we use are done by my own hand. It takes a TON of patience and a steady hand to do some of the things creatively you like to do. And it’s a learning process, like making sure to “mirror” your image so that it doesn’t come out backwards (learned this the hard way). One of our signature designs is a simple wing, but placing 575 small crystals takes time and patience, we’re talking hours. It’s definitely a skill and one that should not be taken lightly, there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into making your designs sparkle and stand out from the crowd!

    Thank you for sharing this great information, it definitely has me thinking twice about outsourcing our embellishments as well!!

    • Nicole

      Hi Krista,

      Thanks for the awesome feedback! So glad to hear you found it useful and helpful.

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