From the outside looking in, the creative process is often gazed at with curiosity, cloaked in an unknowing allure. While fashion and clothing mean something particular to you, increasingly now, we believe that knowing how something is created strikes a meaningful chord. Our unwavering commitment to craft and cut, and signature of ageless versatility and ease, lives within each garment. We recently shared how we consciously create and now we're pleased to walk you through creating an AUDRA collection.
A behind the scenes look into how we design for you...
The ingenuity of each piece - and the collection as a whole - is derived from a balance of design and business. Our creative director, Audra Noyes, pulls inspiration from the AUDRA woman and what we understand and believe will best fit into your lifestyle. From there, elements of wonder are incorporated. Audra becomes immersed in the story she wants to tell through a collection each season which is derived from an abstract feeling or emotional journey that either her family or she is experiencing. This ultimately informs the cuts, fabrics, and silhouettes in the collection. This Spring/Summer '20 collection draws from her own growth, followed by the discovery of this Walt Whitman quote:
"Be not afraid of growing slowly. Be afraid of only standing still."
Sketching & Fabric Sourcing
A pivotal step of two parts that function simultaneously. Audra personally sketches each design, making adjustments as she pulls fabric samples that are innovative and consistent with the AUDRA brand. Working with family-owned mills, fabric development is a collaboration that takes upwards of three months of evolution. While it varies each season, she regularly customizes and develops distinctive textiles with the mills - whether it's placing a new stripe on wool suiting, to designing artwork for a custom print, or increasing the elasticity of the textile blend to satisfy the AUDRA woman's active lifestyle.
A collection espouses our brand's essential silhouettes, in refreshed versions, with wearable fantasy-driven pieces derived from the inspiration. All of which complement one another and are ready to be presented to the patternmaker.
Completed design concepts with sketches are sent to the patternmaker with further nods of inspiration guided by the mood board. This storytelling enables a conversation with our patternmaker - a female entrepreneur like Audra and whom she's had a 5-year business partnership with - to expand on the garment creation. Facilitated by a balance of both digital pattern drafting and hand draping, this speaks to the craftsmanship of Audra's Haute Couture training in Paris and also a smart, resource-driven focus in operating.
Fitting in Muslin
During muslin fittings, the clothing starts to become multi-dimensional. Once patterns are developed, Audra leads a fitting with the patternmaker on a standard US size four fit model. The muslin for each piece is in a similar fabric as the planned final garment but completed in this manner for cost-effectiveness. This real-fit mock-up allows the team to transform silhouettes, place buttons and embellishments, and alter cuts accordingly, all by hand. Attention to detail is paid to each mock-up, resulting in some approved silhouettes at the first fitting, while others take more than one to ensure precision. Once "fit is confirmed," the style moves into sample production.
Quality Control & Sample Creation
As muslin fittings occur, concurrently, the appropriate fabric is shipped from the mills directly to our partners at female-owned small-batch factories in NYC. Before cutting and sewing, all fabric is quality control inspected to ensure it arrived with merit and delivers on the integrity of the AUDRA brand intention. Extensive special pattern placement occurs at this step of the design process, all completed again by hand, from floral motifs matching precisely to side-seams aligning.
Upon the final arrangement of the sample garments, they're hand-sewn by a single sewer. The sample becomes the guide for the most efficient manner of the garment production down the road.
Off To Market
Garment samples play a significant roll in bringing the collection to market and are leveraged in multiple areas of our business. The samples are worn by a model to shoot our look book campaign, they're brought to market at New York Fashion Week, and used for press and celebrity dressing. Clients also place pre-orders off of samples. This is the moment the collection is shared with you for the first time.