Glossary – How to Create Your Final Collection


bridge line

Secondary to the house “signature line,” bridge, or diffusion, lines are usually more commercial and accessible both in terms of cost and design. Bridge lines aim to extend the market reach of a label.

bubble-up theory

A theory that explains how styles created in the streets by subcultures may find their way into the fashion system and influence the designers usually seen as the creators of style.


A short-lasting, mechanical fabric finish achieved by pressing fabric at high speed under heat and pressure. This process makes the fabric smoother, more lustrous, and sometimes papery. It is used to produce moirés, cambrics, and sateens. It is destroyed by washing and in time, by wear.

client board

A visual tool used to explain the target market of the designer. It is often composed of images describing an identity and a lifestyle and it may be used as a source of inspiration.


An acronym used in the fashion industry when referring to the production of clothing. It stands for Cut, Make, and Trim: the three main stages that turn a piece of fabric into a finished garment.

color forecasting

Usually carried out by trend forecasters, color forecasting tries to anticipate the dominant and popular colors in fashion for a given season.

color model

These models help identify and reproduce color precisely. Fashion students are likely to encounter three different models. The RGB model designed for computer screens identifies each color as a percentage of red, green, and blue. The broaderspectrum CMYK model is commonly used by printers and dyers and specifies colors as percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. Finally, the PMS (or Pantone Matching System), a proprietary system, gives each color an arbitrary reference code. It is used by designers because it has the widest spectrum; each color reference mixes up to 14 base colors and does not usually come true when converted to another model. Such conversion can only be specified by Pantone or picked from a true Pantone sample.


Short for “comparative shopping,” comp-shop is an activity carried out by designers and retailers to evaluate their competition by analyzing what these other suppliers offer their target.


Commonly explained as a “principle” or an “idea,”

“concept” is synonymous with “construct.” The concept of a collection is the idea that supports it and explains in what way the garments are unique propositions.

convergent thinking

This is the kind of thinking used to solve a given problem logically. Convergent thinking has a starting point and a conclusion and ideas articulated in between progress step-by-step, converging toward the one correct solution.

crowd funding

This is the pulling together of resources from a large group of people to carry out a specific action, typically disaster relief or political campaigning. Crowd funding is the result of networking or campaigning and has been greatly facilitated by the use of the Internet. In fashion, such a process usually involves selling garments before they are made, requiring a minimum volume of sales before being able to deliver.


In fashion design, this term may refer to one of three connected notions: the analysis of a style by teasing apart the different elements that constitute it; the unpicking and reorganization of parts of a garment; a trend popular in the early 1990s for garments with unusual finishes, being either not serged (overlocked) or sewn inside-out.

divergent thinking

Used to generate ideas, divergent thinking is beneficial to creativity and typically used in brainstorming. It does not attempt to find one correct answer but to produce as many valid propositions as possible.


A term of law in the US, a docket in the UK is a production order that specifies style, fabric, color, sizing and quantities, maximum unit cost, and deadline for delivery to warehouse.

EPOS (electronic point of sale)

Today’s cash registers at check-outs are EPOS, electronic points of sale. They register each sale transaction, accounting for payments but also managing rolling stock, or inventory, and informing retailers as to which items sell.


Exits, in a fashion salon or show, refer to a model leaving the runway. Before the finale, there is usually one exit for each outfit presented.

fast fashion

This the result of retail practices at the end of the twentieth century whereby the lower cost of garment production and increased reactivity of retail accelerated and shortened fashion trends. Today fast fashion often refers to the fashion sold by chain retailers—often perceived as throwaway fashion, socially and environmentally damaging.

filament yarn

This is produced by light spinning of long strands of fiber, usually silk or man-made. It differs from spun yarn that is produced by higher spinning of shorter fibers. Filament yarns have the regularity required for smooth and lustrous materials such as organza and satin.

fit line

This is the result of the joining of different pieces of cloth cut in shapes designed to create fit and form. When highlighted by the design it is also a style line.

grand couturier

A French expression that translates as “great dressmaker” and refers to fashion designers who create haute couture. The status of grand couturier is traditionally seen as the highest in fashion.

gray state

This is the condition of fiber, yarn, or cloth when prepared for dying.

haute couture

A legally protected label, governed by its union, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. It requires that designers present two collections a year in Paris and that they make garments to order, with at least one client fitting. Haute couture is considered the ultimate in garment design because of the range of skills and techniques it relies upon.


The design, production, and delivery, through an accelerated process (as short as 12 days) of a few garment designs to answer a customer demand that is not satisfied by the main collection. Only the large chain retailers are able to carry out this practice.

intelligent/smart fabrics

Fabrics developed to produce garments that improve the comfort and safety of their wearer, sometimes through monitoring of the person and their surrounding. Gore-Tex, able to let moisture flow only from the inside out, is the most common smart fabric. Intelligent/smart fabrics usually rely on nanotechnologies that provide very specific qualities to the material or on a combination of electronic and conductive material able to monitor vital signs (Adidas’s Numetrex sport-bra, for example, is designed to measure its wearer’s heart rate).

line plan

Also known as range plan, the organization and presentation of the garments that constitute either a collection or a retail stock. In the case of retail, line plans focus on optimizing sales and specify volumes of stocks for garments organized according to type, style, color, and size.

look book

Used to present the work of models, photographers, or designers and fashion labels, look books are commercial tools that focus on the garments presented. They usually rely on studio pictures with limited styling, also known as pack shots.


A chemical finish applied to cotton or hemp, in the form of thread or fabric, to increase its luster. Treating these fibers with sodium hydroxide modifies the cellulose structure, resulting in a swelling that increases reflectance and softness.

mood board

These usually consist of a combination of tactile and 3-D elements and of images and pictures that express the feeling and the mood of a collection.


The prototype of a garment design, called a toile in the UK, and referring to the inexpensive material used for that purpose. Such material however must have qualities, in particular weight and handle, similar to that of the intended final fabric.


The process of dyeing fabric not in a gray state, hence already dyed. For best effect, overdyeing must use a color darker than the original one, which however sometimes remains somewhat visible.

pack shot

Photography presenting products as seen by customers, hence often includes packaging and labeling. In fashion design, pack shots are studio pictures with little styling, usually gathered into a look book to present a collection.

ply yarn

Yarn produced by twisting together several threads or ply.


A French expression translated as “ready-to-wear.” In English it refers only to ready-to-wear designed by haute couture houses, usually produced by external manufacturers to a standard house fit.


A French word today commonly referring to trade fairs and exhibitions. In fashion it may also refer to fashion fairs or to the room where designers present their collections to a limited audience.


This is a style easily and commonly identified as originating from an individual, a designer, or a label. Burberry’s tartan (plaid) is its signature.


The outline of a shape, in fashion of an outfit. Silhouettes are very important in fashion because they are usually the first aspect of a style to be perceived.

single spun yarn

A yarn produced by spinning fiber, not by twisting together threads or ply.

spun yarn

A yarn produced by spinning short fibers in order for them to hold together. It is different from filament yarn, produced by lighter spinning of longer fibers. Spun yarns make soft, warm, and light fabrics.


This refers, in fashion merchandising, to the organization of stock garments into outfits to be presented in store. Creating stories is one aspect of styling.

style line

Usually a fit line, the result of joining different pieces of cloth cut in shapes designed to create fit and form, highlighted for aesthetical purposes.


The activity of combining garments into looks, usually includes choice of model, hairstyle, makeup, and accessories but may extend further to music, set design, etc. Styling is central to the presentation of fashion.

theme board

A board presenting a selection of inspirational images (and text), usually based around one or two themes that aid designers to generate design ideas during the development and sampling stage.

TOP (top of production)

A finished garment produced by a factory to demonstrate a level of quality and finish. It has a contractual value and is used as a reference to evaluate the quality of the docket produced. Known as a “sealed sample” in the UK.

TPI (turns per inch)

Fibers are spun to hold together and produce yarn. With that aim, fibers of different lengths require different levels of spin as indicated by the TPI or turns per inch. From 2 to 12 TPI produces soft-twist yarns, soft and flexible. From 20 to 30 TPI produces high twist yarns, firm and crimped.

trend forecaster

A person who usually works as part of a large team that filters through a vast array of information to try and identify, two seasons ahead, the ideas and aesthetics that will influence customers’ behavior and result in fashion trends.

trickle-across theory

A term derived from the trickle-down theory and referring to the idea that styles developed in different creative fields and fashion markets influence each other.

trickle-down theory

A theory that explains how a fashion style introduced by fashion designers increases in popularity as it is adopted by successive groups of people to become mainstream.

warp yarn

The yarn that runs in the length of a piece of cloth. During weaving warp yarns are held in tension on a frame or a loom.

weft yarn

The yarn drawn through the warp yarns during weaving. Because it is not stretched on the loom, the weft (or woof) yarn does not need to be as strong as the yarn used for the warp.

window dressing

An expression that refers to the presentation in store windows of garments selected for their impact. In fashion design, window dressing qualifies outfits identified for their visual strength rather than their commercial potential. They are used to promote a strong image and attract media attention.

yarn count

A number inversely proportional to the weight of a fabric. An 800-count cotton, for example, is twice as light as a 400-count cotton. This relationship, however, does not hold across fibers, each having a different scale. The metric yarn count represents the length of yarn in kilometers necessary to produce a kilogram of fabric.