Let’s return to an analysis of which people work within the product office. After the product manager and the pattern maker, we find the prototypist.
This is that figure in charge of making the first garment derived from the paper pattern made by the patternmaker. Sometimes the prototypist, if he or she has the skills, may be the patternmaker himself or herself (depending on the internal company organization and the number of garments being made).
The prototypist is basically a tailor, so he or she must be able to use the tools to construct a garment that is consistent with the pattern and, above all, must know how to make all the changes to it that the different fittings to which it is subjected entail.
Whether it is cosmetic changes (requested by the designer and his team, who may not like the prototype 100 percent) or fit, related to the garment’s comfort and proper body image.
Once the prototype is made, a series of meetings (fitting) are held during which, using a model of the size perfectly aligned with the garment produced, all fit tests are made and any changes deemed necessary are made.
The prototype then becomes a mirror of the work in progress of the garment, and on it as scars appear all the modifications made with scissors, strokes of chalk or permanent marker, and stitching.
Changes made on the prototype should be immediately recorded on the pattern, so it is imperative that the pattern maker (if he or she is not the prototype maker) attend the fittings to become aware of changes in the pattern, before the final samples are released.
Often in the product office, the prototype is archived in collection and season order along with the corresponding paper pattern so that it can be retrieved if the garment becomes a best seller, a carry over (continuous) or the designer wishes to reintroduce it in subsequent collections with appropriate changes to make it contemporary.
by Stefano Sacchi
March 14, 2023