Spring Inspiration

Home Sweet Home

Spring is upon us! The days are getting longer and our minds are turning to flip-flops, shorts, and light breezy knits. Our Spring collection is full of looks suited for the beach or the office. But where do these designs come from? Who decides what makes the cut? This week on the blog, our Creative Director Susan Mills talks about the inspiration behind the Spring Collection. Find out what goes into planning a full season of yarns and garments, and see all our Spring looks throughout the month here on the blog. Subscribe and you won't miss a thing!

Nailing together a window frame to show off our valance

I began working on the CEY Spring 2011 collection in February 2010. First, new yarns need to be chosen and new colors ordered to add to existing yarns. Choosing colors is a tricky business. We want to be up to date with current fashion trends but need to keep in mind the look of the overall palette. For Spring 2011, I looked for colors that were dusty and watered down but not quite pastel, and deeper colors with a gray or earthy tone.


Next, I put out a call to designers and get our team of in-house designers swatching. I keep track of current fashion through magazines, trend services, blogs and websites, and online and in-store shopping. Since we work on designs a year ahead of the season, I need to judge which hot trends of the moment are likely to having staying power and still look fresh a year from now. I don’t like to give too much designer direction to our designers – I like them to do what they do best and give us what they see as up-and-coming styles.

When design submissions are received, the real work begins. Choosing which designs to include to balance the collection, picking the right designs for each yarn, striking a balance between garments and accessories, AND choosing colors to fit our color themes and photography locations...all these factors create a huge interlocking puzzle. Chosen designs are usually knit in a different color and often in a different yarn from what the designer swatched. I have a big bulletin board where I hang sketches and snippets of yarn to judge the overall look of a particular pattern booklet. For spring 2011, I looked for designs that could span seasons and work for a wide range of sizes while keeping the overall look bright and sunny for summer.

As the garments are being knit, I begin planning photography. First I plan the locations and models, then schedule models, photographer and hair and make up. Planning wardrobe for the models to wear with their knitted items is time consuming. Wardrobe needs to showcase the knit item without overpowering it. Much time is spent shopping and closet-raiding and trying different outfits on mannequins or willing fit models to judge the overall look.

Beautiful wind-swept Plum Island

Then finally, we are ready for photography. Photo shoots are stressful. So much work has already gone into each sweater and a fabulous garment can go unnoticed if we don’t get a good picture. How the garment and clothing fits the model and the location and light are key. And if we are outdoors, the weather is always a concern.

It was freezing!

When photography is complete we look through the images to find the best for our booklets, ads and website and the very labor intensive process of tech editing the patterns begins. And by the time the booklets are printed and the new yarns begin to ship, we are deep into work on the NEXT season.

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