Industry Spotlight: Q&A with Fashion Designer Michelle Ramsay

In this, the first installment of our ongoing industry spotlight series, we will be speaking to Michelle Ramsay, owner of Michelle Ramsay Design. Michelle is a freelance fashion designer, working with both new and established brands in the fashion industry. Designers like Michelle are a vital part of our industry, allowing clothing manufacturers to create and refine ideas before putting the garments into production.

1) What is your background?

After graduating in Fashion Design I worked in London for The Arcadia Group in women’s fashion. My career progressed working for various high street brands in both supply and as an in house designer, until I reached senior level multi product designer. I set up the studio in 2014 after 15 years in the fashion industry.

2) Who is your typical client?

I have two main types of clients. The first are established brands, who need extra help with a season, or new design input into their ranges. These brands have existing product to design around, and have often have current clients and suppliers.

The second are start-up brands, to whom I tailor a specialist service. Typically these are people with no background in the fashion industry, who have a raw idea and need an experienced fashion designer to help translate their ideas into a format that a factory can understand. They not only utilise my design skills, but also look for advice on the industry and the next stages by means of consultation services.

3) Why is it so important that professional designs are made?

Designs and tech packs are like blueprints for apparel, detailing front and back views, technical manufacture information as well as pantones, fabric, prints, logos and sizing. No matter how great a manufacturer is, they can only get something right if they have been given the correct information and direction from the client. This is where professional designs come in.

I see so many start-up brands that have wasted time and money approaching a manufacturer with images from the web, or really limited information, and wonder why a sample is not correct or sometimes not possible. The initial outlay to employ a professional designer will save the client a lot of money in the long term.

What is a fashion technical pack

4) Do you see a diverse cross section of the industry or do you specialise in certain garments?

I see everything from swimwear to technical sportswear, children’s clothing, men’s and ladies fashion apparel and everything in between. I’ve even designed clothing for dogs! I am a multi product designer so have experience in most areas of apparel and accessories. The variety of the clients I work with is one of the aspects I love, and it’s that newness that fires my interest in fashion.

5) Being in your position you must see trends before they even reach manufacturers – what do you see being the next big thing for the industry?

I feel there is a really strong movement toward ethical fashion, whether that is through sustainable fabrics, fair trade or eco-friendly product. This has been around for a while now but I feel the shift is not just in big brands, but smaller businesses demanding a better way. In terms of styling trends I am also seeing an interesting move towards gender fluid product whether that be through unisex children’s clothing or adult apparel silhouettes that can be worn by anyone, whatever gender you identify with.

6) What do you think our customers would like to know about the service you provide?

As well as offering a full design service for apparel and accessories, I also offer consultation sessions. I specialise in working with start-up brands so can guide them through the whole process no matter what their level of experience. I also retail a guide to manufacture for start-up brands which explains the need for cads, techs and specs, as well as what to expect in working with a manufacturer, the sampling process and how to find a suitable factory. I do work with established brands too, and consider all clients, whether that’s a full season’s range or just one item.

Thank you Michelle for the very informative chat! Stay tuned for more instalments of our industry spotlight series, where we aim to give as broad an overview as possible in to the people who are essential figures in the fashion industry.

You can check out some of Michelle’s work on her Instagram page.