Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A behind the scenes look at the Planning for the next Dea London collection

Take a glimpse  in to the world of Dea London, see how the ideas were developed for the SS13 collection.  Going from the planning stage  how the fabrics are choosen and how the garments are created, so much more goes on than we'd think. Check out this interview with Dea London’s designer, the lovely and talented Jelena Fehmi. 

Janie B - When and were did you start designing and why did you go into this profession?

Jelena F – “I started at an early age. I would play with dolls and make them clothes by hand. At home we used to have old Singer table machine, so when it was time for my family to sew, they allowed me to be the “motor”.  

This involved standing next to it and manually spinning the wheel of the machine to make stitches, it made me feel proud. 

In High school I used to sew for my girl-friends making disco outfits for the weekend dancing clubs. If something sits right in you it is not difficult to choose your life path. I did try a couple of times to do something completely different like art and architecture, math and physics. But life always brought me back to fashion where I belong”.


JB - Do you design using a computer or do you draw the designs by hand?

JF - “I design by doing a hand drawing. I draw every idea by hand on a post card size piece of paper, or even smaller, like a sleeve, or a neck line, they're not completed garments and I collect them in a box. I have had a collection of small drawings for many years then when its time to create new collection after research has been done, I pull out my box and see what ideas I can apply for this season and then from that, draw a sketch.”

JB - How do you get the ideas for your collections?

JF – “The idea for my collections always starts with a women’s body type. 
From my research, the full figured woman has always had a  limited choice of clothes on the High street. The same style clothes that are made for a size 10 are also available in a size 24 or even 30I think its wrong as they increase the size but do not take in to account the differences/changes in shape. The clothes fuller figure women, usually buy are from a catalog and research shows that the return rate is high.

The Starting size for DEA London is 18 (104-86-110 cms , I prefer to use measurements and encourage every women measure yourself and memorize personal measurement.

The Idea for the collection is also based on fulfilling the demand of the customer, current trend on shape and color and of course Dea’s finishing touches.

JB - Do you often find that during the design that you have to re-adjust your design?

JF – “Yes definitely, design is a developing process; it goes from idea, to sketch, to working on the garment. It depends on so many factors.”

JB - How long does it take from blank page to a finished product?

JF - “Well… the Fashion world turns around as per a seasonal performance. High street fashion is a non-stop process. I used to work for High End Fashion, DEA follows September and February LFW timing. Between these times a lot of preparation has to be done. The actual time to prepare depends on how many pieces there are in the actual collection, where the  fabric comes from and of course the garment making process. “

B - Could you talk us through each stage of the development process of the product, from initial design to completion of your product?

JF - “To simplify answer I could break down one garment.
I draw out the design on an A4 sheet, that’s when the Pattern creation starts.

Then from a sample fabric, I start imaging what the real garment would look like. I cut the fabric and start to produce a sample garment.  The sample is a garment with all the fashion details but its not yet complete. The model is then called for fitting.  Its at this stage when I see the garment in 3D , that I can check the fit, shape, proportion, position of small details and do adjustment and marking on the fabric ( Toile).

The second and more important stage is when the pattern needs to be altered and re-cut in real fabric. On the second fitting you can see how the fabric behaves,  I can check on fitting and complete other adjustments.

When I am satisfied, all information detailing the garment must be written down for reference for the manufacturing stage. Then the garment and instructions get sent to the manufacturer.The above stages apply to all garments in the collection, but time spent varies.”
 JB - At the initial design stage is color important,?

JF - “Color is important to me. I do like color. And correct use of color for Plus size could give great benefit in visually enhancing the figure. I do generally have ideas about color before the collection starts.  I chose the main color first and then changes happen in the process, usually on fitting.” 


JB - How do you decide on which fabrics to use for which piece?

JF - “For fabric choice I usually go to the Textile fairs and look for samples of fabric for future use. Then I work through swatches in my studio to allocate fabric ideas to each design. Of course my ideas may change at a later stage. “

JB - What type of pieces does your Dea London collection consist of?

JF - "Dea clothes  emphasizes  the female-goddess  ( and in the business world it is a pretty powerful weapon how a woman dresses and presents herself, independent of size. So my collection consists of smart dresses and soft jackets. To these I want to add skirts, trousers and blouses. Dea will keep provide smart casual garments to give full figured women more confidence and respect." 


JB - Do the different shape bodies, mean that the design is altered in anyway apart from fit?

JF - The type of the body shape is key for the Dea design. I follow my rules for creating clothes for Full figure women. For example, if a women is a Pear shape I  will accentuate the shoulders for example by adding epaulettes or shoulder yoke, or lighter color at the top to create an illusion of a similar silhouette.  For Apple types the design accent slides down the garment with an A-line skirt, or, Pencil skirt and peplum to emphasize the waist line."

JB - At what point would you start thinking about designing your next collection?.

JF - SS14 collection is already in the developing process. It all takes place simultaneously. Dea is based in a Dalston studio and in the early stage of the company it is comfortable to have all the control making garments. I have a team who support me to achieve Dea’s best look.

JB - How do you choose the model to best represent your collection?

JF - To choose model is not as easy as you'd think. Sabine Gruchet  found Dea and she is the perfect fit in Dea’s clothes even without fitting. She is beautiful with the right attitude. Then we found Jada Sezer, you can see her in the SS13 collection, now she has got couple of big contracts. Both models are an hourglass shape. Now I am looking for a model with a different body type. As most women in UK are an Apple shape,  (big top and smaller bottom), I need an Apple shaped model..  

JB - Out of the SS13 collection which piece is your favorite?
JF - "In the SS13 collection I love all of them, but my favourite is Dress N1 with side lace panels and Jacquard Trench coat. As you can see the dress is not black but is still shaping and slimming I also have a really attractive trench coat with amassing lace collar that will brighten up any dull day.

JB - Well thankyou for talking to me today Jelena

JF -  Welcome all :0) "

Dea London Shows/Events/Articles

6th July  - AW13 Preview event
5th Sept - Article in PA Life featuring the AW13 collection
21st Sept - Dea London exhibiting - Loving your curves expo
Social Media
Written by Janie Britton  - Copyright 2013 -

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