Tuesday, January 01, 2008



The purpose for Boston Design Laboratory™ (BDL) is to redesign the fashion industry in Boston, through creative research of new production technologies and new business structures – for consumers to obtain fashions at reasonable cost, and to help DEs (design entrepreneurs) and dressmakers to make a good income – increasingly more difficult in today’s markets. Our research divides the industry into 4 design functions, and forms collaborations of self-employed DEs to develop the new systems. The 4 functions were determined by Shirley Willett, the founder of BDL, in a 2004 paper prepared for Massachusetts Institute of Technology to compare design practices in the fashion apparel industry with other industries, as architecture and automobiles.

In the 21st century every DE must have skills in 4 functions, or collaboratively link to all 4 – because services aren’t available. Each function requires designing – meaning pre-planning.

1. CREATIVE DESIGN is the initial fashion idea with a plan for the functions of: 2) patterns, 3) marketing and 4) production.
When meeting, BDL functions as an informal Design Room, in which we critique each others’ designs, play with fabrics, study ideas for the right consumer, discuss the patterns and any technical problems, and plan the production of the first and repetitions. We are planning a small collaborative collection for 2008, to test BDL’s technology and business ideas. We are also considering a catalog of diverse design ideas at different stages for selling to DEs, dressmakers, and customers.

2. PATTERN DESIGN & ENGINEERING: Patterns are information systems, planned and engineered for production processes, and includes information on specific consumer types.
The Stylometrics Pattern Templates, a foundation pattern making system, was researched in NSF grants and tested by many designers and dressmakers, for making pattern design easier, faster, ready for produc-tion, and more adaptable to custom design. They are ideal for flat 2-D work or for creative draping as on an armature in sculpture. We are building an instruction booklet for selling them.

3. MARKET DESIGN & SELLING is the presentation of fashion products to customers for their acceptance, and must have a pre-designed plan.
For DEs and dressmakers to make a better income, without high prices which will destroy selling in today’s markets, many expensive middling costs must be studied and eliminated. In BDL, we are discuss-ing a possible Fashion Consultants collaboration for selling direct to consumers through trunk shows, home parties, etc. We are also planning some “fitting standards” for mass-produced custom.

4. PRODUCTION DESIGN & ENGINEERING is the plan and management of production processes: cutting, sewing, pressing, trimming - one, many, custom.
Stylometrics Templates are designed for efficient production. BDL is designing a Boutique Production system for collaboratively making quality small lots or custom for less cost. Eventually we hope to collaboratively structure a “Timeshare Factory”, a place for Boutique Production.