So what’s a prototype…I knew I had to build one but I didn’t really have any idea what went into it. In my experience, a prototype is the first working model of your product. You’re able to see how it works, if it works and make changes and improvements on the original concept because now, it’s real.
The first hurdle to overcome was finding the perfect fabric in small enough quantities – not a 300 yard bolt of fabric – to fit the purpose of the design. It takes some time to ferret out the right supplier who has the fabric you need and then, is willing to sell it to you in the quantity you want.
The LA Fashion Mart was my first stop and luckily for me, I had a referral from my manufacturer which helped me create a relationship with a swim fabric supplier who led me to what I needed. The other blessing was she gave me no precursors about being on this path, only positive encouragement to move forward with my concept. Believe me, that’s worth millions in this type of journey.
To save costs, I drove my Prius deep into the bowels of East L.A. to personally pick up my purchase. I had two very long bolts of fabric from my windshield to the rear window and thank goodness they fit as I cautiously zoomed back home on the 101 Freeway.
I unloaded and tucked the bolts of fabric under my bed, for lack of a better place, not sure what the next step was but I knew it was another visit to the swim manufacturer to discuss what we’d be creating.
Greeted warmly, I was ushered to the desk of the lead designer. We talked about my concept and she immediately had thoughts and fears, mostly as she’d never created an ‘active capri’ style swim suit and wasn’t sure she could. We got right to it and she knew the intricate points of fit and feel that were important.
After this conversation, patterns were built and our first pair of spalshpant prototypes were born.
From here, almost holding my breath to see if they’d work, I went directly to the pool. SPLASH PERFECT! With a few more adjustments in the styling and function, we were ready to manufacture our first batch of splashpants!