Are you better than Adele?
I can answer that for all of us. No! I’m not, you’re not, she’s not, he’s not, [famous designer you idolize]’s not.
That’s why I was hit so strongly by this line from a Rolling Stone interview with Adele when she launched her last CD (that sold like hotcakes):
There’s roughly a full album’s worth of outtakes from 25. Adele is ruthless in her quality control, and was still making final tweaks to the track list when we met. “Some songs are not f**king good enough,” she says. “And I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong, thinking that people will buy any old shit from you.”
So maybe you don’t have to throw out every other design you create. But you do need to sit down at each stage of designing your next collection and pull back. So start with more on the idea board than you’re going to need and take out 20% of what’s in front of you before you move on. Keep it pinpoint specific. Stick to a clear vision.
Then take your sketches and drapings and cut out 20% of them. That means for every 10 dresses you throw down on paper or up on your dress form, leave 2 there. Make sure you’re sticking to your message and your brand.
And when you reach samples and fittings, be willing to leave some on the cutting room floor. Ugh. I’m not even designing still and that hurts my stomach to say. Look, I know how much time, effort, creative energy, and money goes into making samples. But you’re better off keeping your line up to scratch and attractive to your ideal client than moving forward with designs just because you’ve already put so much into them.
There are sunk costs in every stage of designing, but there are lost opportunity costs every time you sacrifice your quality and message for fear of making a tough choice about a style.
So as we’re moving closer to Bridal Week and you’re all getting things ready to send out to buyers, take a hard look at what you’re creating. It’s not about not taking risks or honoring your growth as an artist. Take those leaps. But make sure you’re absolutely in love with what you’re putting out to the world.
Be willing to throw out some of your designs. Be picky. Be clear. Be consistent.
Want to grab something to inspire you as you work? Here’s a printable for you to stick up on your bulletin board (or share out there in the social media world).