Last year, I wrote a blog post with tips for designers submitting proposals to us. You can read it here.

As we were discussing topics for future blog posts, it occurred to us that this is a natural jumping off point for a series of blog posts on the making of an edition. Often, people only see our call for submission and then, 9 months later (give or take) a beautiful new edition is born, but in that time, there's a lot going on.

So in the first, of an as-yet-undetermined number of blog posts, we'll be discussing the behind the scenes production cycle for creating an edition. You will be able to find all the posts here.  

The first step of an edition, is setting the mood. If you flip through the pages of our magazine, you'll notice there are individual stories made up of seven to ten designs, all shot with a common theme. For instance, in our Spring/Summer 2012 edition, we pay homage both to April showers and the subsequent May Flowers.

rain date Blooms
April Showers Bring May Flowers, with a little peek at Regent, Ceylon and Caeles

In order to ensure we have designs that can be grouped together, our mood boards also feature themes. These themes may or may not relate to the final shoots. More about that in future posts. 

SPSU12 board
Spring Summer 2012 Mood Board

Our mood boards don't focus on specific garment shapes or styles. We have found that when we put a garment in a mood board, we get tons of submissions that are just variations on that design and while there's nothing wrong with that, it feels like it actually limits people's creativity instead of sparking it. Instead, we focus on feelings like, top-left: light and airy or bottom-right: texture.  We might want people to think of a technique in a new way like top-right: lace, or design for a situation like bottom-left: poolside. When an idea cannot be literally translated into a design, we find that people abstract the concept into something that is uniquely their own. It's always inspiring to see what people have come up with.

With the mood board together and instructions included, we package everything up into a PDF. We send a link to the PDF to everyone who has signed up to receive our calls for submissions, and we post about it in the Designers group over on Ravelry.

We generally give people about a month to create a sketch, swatch and brief description of each of their proposals. 

We would love to hear what you think of our behind the scenes series of blog posts, or any of our other posts. To get in on the discussion join us on Facebook.