Crystal Tide: The making of an Energetiks Collection
There’s something uniquely thrilling about discovering your favourite clothing brand has released a new collection, whether you wander past your local store and see an array of gorgeous new garments on display, or hit 'New Arrivals' online and find a fresh style has materialised right in front of you. Nothing quite compares to slipping on a brand new outfit for the first time and feeling that boost of confidence that instantly brightens your day.
What you don't often get to see though, is the journey that your new outfit has undergone before it magically arrives in store, ready to wear. You may find there's a lot more that goes into creating a new collection than you realised. So today we're pulling back the curtains and taking you behind the scenes to reveal the creative process involved in the making of
Energetiks Crystal Tide Collection.
The creative process begins with the impulse of an idea - long before any clothes are on hangers, or sketches on notepads - the beginnings of a new collection often happen one or two years in advance as the team starts the creative ball rolling and begins forecasting future trends. This is one of the most exciting stages of the process because at this point virtually anything is possible; patterns, colours, fabrics, styles, textures and themes are discussed at length as the team aspires to find the perfect look for the upcoming season. Crystal Tide evolved from summer themes; dreaming of sun-drenched beachside destinations, crystal clear turquoise-coloured waters and the feel of soft, white sand between our toes.
Once our designers have gathered plenty of ideas and have a direction to go forward with it's time to turn that inspiration into something visual. This may be a quick sketch or a mock-up in illustrator. These sketches are simple and stylised, rather than elaborate or detailed as the aim is to try out many different possibilities. Testing allows the designer to get a sense of how easy or complex a certain concept might be to create, and whether the final design will really embody the brand and fulfil all the needs of the wearer. The designs we make are required to fulfil certain purposes: Is it unique? Will it be comfortable? Is it suitable and (more importantly) beneficial for dancing/exercising? Is it stylish? Is it practical? Will it be affordable? Does it work as part of a collection?
And last but not least, do we love it?
Having explored every idea in the testing stages, it's now time to choose the very best possible designs and bring them to life. Thalia Carter, one of Energetiks graphic designers explains; "Summer is all about escaping into nature and being active, so our aim for this collection was to create something really fresh for the brand that embodies the vitality and energy of summer." With this collection those designs were the ones inspired by combining two strong visual elements together; the ocean tide, and the geometric facets of a crystal.
It's this striking contrast of the mesmerising organic shapes of the ocean water against the crisp white geometric lines that made this design the winner. Visually the combination of two such different elements created a slightly enigmatic quality to the resulting pattern, making the garments quite transfixing to look at. The duality also seemed to mirror the qualities that dancers channel every day; serene and graceful like the ocean, yet as precise and sharp as the facets of a diamond. The exact choice of colours was an easy decision once the inspiration and patterns for the collection had been decided on says Thalia - "We wanted the collection to incorporate a tropical colour palette, bringing to mind the crystalline turquoise waters of the sea and the mesmerising purple hues of an ocean skyline at sunset and capturing the rejuvenating feeling of a swim in the ocean" .
Creating new collections is always a collaborative process, and now that each garment in the collection has been fleshed out more extensively and the overall style of the collection is properly solidified, the designers meet with the other creative teams and the directors to get feedback and suggestions on the collection so far. Production has a big input in this stage as well, pointing out if a design is possible from a manufacturing point of view or if it will need amendments.
After around two weeks (depending on the number of styles in the collection and samples requested), samples arrive at Head Office. Melissa Kumar our Production Manager says “This is my favourite part; Once the designs are handed to me I love bringing them to life. We work one-on-one with a pattern maker ensuring the pattern is created in line with the design, then relaying this to the manufacturer to make sure the look is perfect.” The adjustments and refining continues until one size of the pattern is perfect, and from there the complete size set is created.
An accomplished dancer herself, Melissa relishes the opportunity to be able to create garments that aren’t just visually appealing to the dancer, but offer a cohesion of comfort and support tailored to a dancers needs – “It’s so rewarding getting the opportunity to apply my dance background in a way that benefits other dancers." It’s the knowledge and experience of the whole production team including Melissa that ensure that at every stage of the process - from the garment design to fit testing – the interests of the dancer are paramount. This means even the most minor variance in the samples are addressed and returned to the factory for amendment. Our Blue Diamond garment samples came back beautifully the first time, however the Purple Gem colour proved trickier to perfect; the first try resulted in a purple that was a little too warm, but after some more tweaking we arrived at the exact shade of amethyst purple that had been envisioned.
Once we've ensured our samples are exactly right and and the team is happy with each design's final incarnation we begin organising the campaign photoshoot for Crystal Tide. The campaign shoot is how we get to introduce the feel and style of the collection to everyone, and when it came to Crystal Tide there was only one location that perfectly captured the mood and inspiration of the collection: the beach! The Crystal Tide campaign is also the big reveal of our 2016 USA Model Search Winner, Rachelle Di Stasio, who blew us away with her radiant personality, elegance and enthusiasm to represent Energetiks. With Rachelle living in New York this was the perfect excuse to make the campaign our second international photoshoot this year, and what better beach to shoot at than Malibu, the coastal Californian city with 27 miles of beaches! Rachelle and our photographer Chris Bagôt spend a day shooting in front of the scenic Malibu coastline, under that iconic golden California sun.
By the time they wrap for the day Chris has done a fantastic job executing our vision for the shoot and Rachelle is radiant in the Crystal Tide. ...Now for one of the greatest tests of willpower ever endured: not sharing the images with anyone until it's time to launch the collection. Toughest. Job. Ever.
Whilst we're busy in one part of the world shooting campaigns in exotic locations, back at Head Office the production team personally hand-delivers each collection to one of our Melbourne-based factory, ensuring everything is communicated correctly and set for a perfect production run. Once the factory receives the go-ahead from our production team they begin production of the order (our incredible production team have already calculated and ordered all the fabric and trims and pre-approved all artwork, threads and colours). This process takes several months to complete, ensuring that enough quantities are made to stock every Energetiks store and the huge number of stockists who carry our dancewear, plus enough remaining to keep all of our hundreds of online customers happy the world over!
Now, at last, the moment has arrived. After all the stages, ideas, planning, discussions, refinement, testing, brainstorming, creation, phone calls, emails, plane flights, hard work, and a whole lot of teamwork, the Crystal Tide Collection is ready to launch to the public. Which means it's also time to share the Campaign shots and spread the word with all of our excited followers! Often by this point many of you have spotted a sneaky behind-the-scenes photo or two and the anticipation is pretty high. Our social media team often gets bombarded with questions about the collection and it's arrival in the lead-up to our release date, so it's a huge pleasure for us when the final moment for unveiling arrives.
Energetiks Crystal Tide Collection
Featuring Rachelle Di Stasio
Find out all about our USA Model Search Winner Rachelle here: www.energetiks.com.au/ambassadors-dancers/