Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Arc'teryx Makes Its Mark

Last month I saw this Arc'teryx ad on a Seattle bus. If I'd seen it before I'd enrolled in UW's fashion certificate program, it wouldn't have been as interesting. But the program has stuffed my head so full of useful information, I thought, "Look! It's a marker!"

A marker is a layout of pattern pieces that the pattern maker creates to ready the garment for cutting and production. The layout is printed full-size on a plotter. Here's a good example of a marker on a pattern maker's Style Portfolios page:
A goal of a marker is to leave as little unused fabric as possible, as wasted material = more yardage, which increases the cost of the garment.

I've been sewing since I was a kid, and know how to lay pattern pieces on fabric, but until I started at UW last fall knew nothing about garment manufacturing. I enrolled in the program because I have some specific garment designs I want to work on, but I'm also really interested in the processes involved in taking a bit of fluff off of a plant and the tasks involved before it ends up in a garment on the store shelf. There are so many things that have to happen to accomplish this. It's all very cool.

When we buy apparel, we usually don't think about all the work that goes into designing, reworking, and manufacturing a garment. I like that Arc'teryx is giving the average consumer a glimpse of the process. The tagline "every piece with purpose" is good marketing: the Arc'teryx customer wants reliable, quality outdoor gear, and is function- rather than fashion-focused (although Arc'teryx has done a great job of combining the two attributes in their designs). Nice job, Arc'teryx!