Fashion Faceoff: Q&A With Vantage Apparel

Wearables was lucky enough to have Vantage Apparel (asi/93390) as an enthusiastic partner in this year’s Fashion Faceoff contest, where we introduced six fashion design majors at Moore College of Art & Design to the world of decorated apparel. Vantage helped guide the contestants through the process of creating a vector design and explained the possibilities – and limitations – of various apparel decoration techniques. Now that the contest is complete (winners will be announced in the August issue of Wearables), we decided to check back in with the supplier. I spoke with Diana Mumm, Vantage’s creative director, about her experience with the Fashion Faceoff.

Q: Why did Vantage decide to participate in the contest?

Diana Mumm: We were excited to tell the decorated apparel story to an entirely new group of people and spread the word about creative and design opportunities in our industry. It was also an opportunity for our professionals here at Vantage to get outside of their daily routine and exercise their abilities to provide creative solutions. We knew the students would bring a fresh perspective and were curious to see where we would end up.

Q: What were some of the challenges of translating the students’ artistic vision into a production-ready design?

DM: The students delivered very tight concepts which allowed us to get started right away on translating their ideas. One of the challenges we faced was creating a finished product that the students would be happy with. A second was the reality that we weren’t creating a garment from scratch and that the finished product was already a physical piece that we were embellishing and decorating per the students’ designs. As we know, when you’re in design school the sky’s the limit, so we had to break our own rules to be more successful with their designs. We are lucky enough to have very knowledgeable staff members whom we brainstormed and coordinated with to find a creative solution for each student.

Q: What was the most rewarding aspect of producing the Moore students’ work?

DM: Receiving the final pieces and comparing them to the concepts submitted was the most rewarding. I think that we were very successful in capturing the students’ designs. Many of the garments had to be taken apart – ripping open stitches, detaching pockets and linings – then reassembled after decoration spending hours in our sewing department. This is something we typically don’t do, so once the pieces came together, we all were wowed.

Q: What do you hope the contestants learned from collaborating with Vantage?

DM: I would hope the students gained a little more knowledge about decoration and how combining lifestyle garments with both traditional and non-traditional decoration methods can completely change the appearance of a piece. We used screen printing, embroidery and laser etching to embellish the products, but not in their everyday use. By thinking outside of the box, the students took our decoration methods to a new level. The finished pieces were far from just a left-chest logo placement.