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Raw Talent Series 4 Episode 8 with Erica Horne CAD For Fashion

In S4 Episode 8 of Raw Talent, I am joined by Erica Horne founder of CAD For Fashion. Erica and her team teach the most effective steps for computer and iPad based Photoshop and Illustrator. They offer group sessions and one-to-one lessons with a step-by-step watch, learn and do approach for students, graduates, established and senior designers of all levels.

Erica believes iPad Illustrator launched in 2020 will revolutionise fashion CAD with its speed, accuracy and ease of use. It makes light work in enabling a designer to create highly professional CAD's and illustrations to a professional standard, a skill we see people continually honing throughout their fashion careers.

Erica studied fashion and textiles at The University of Derby and fell in love with every process. In her placement year, she worked at Somitex Morocco SA, a local girlswear supplier initially on a 4-week trial and was invited to stay, taking on a 360-degree role which was amazing for someone who loves the whole process. They hired her straight after university and she stayed for 5 years. It was during this time Erica found her niche for CAD and problem-solving.

As a designer, Erica likes to work to a brief with limitations to enable a focused result and has become adept at finding workarounds and solutions to achieve results using skills she has honed during her career and as a freelancer working for a variety of brands including start-ups involving lots of travel to clients and factories.

In 2015 after having her daughter she decided not to return to her full-time job and took the plunge towards becoming a specialist trainer in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for the Fashion and Textiles industry inspired by her university days as the go-to tech person. She began lecturing professionally, building her teaching up to include the BA Fashion & Promotion course at Birmingham, in CAD for Fashion at the University of Derby, BA Hons in Fashion Design at Sheffield Hallam, BA Knitwear at Nottingham Trent and Fashion at the University of Gloucester) whilst teaching professionals in her dining room on evenings and weekends over cheese and ham sandwiches. Chrystal Martin and Motor Direct began sending clients her way inspiring her to take her CAD teaching to the next level.

Erica explains that her teaching style is very engaging based on the philosophy of “if the why is clear, the how is easy”. The feedback is that she makes a difficult skill seem easy. Her goal is to help people to overcome the software barrier and blast through any built-up fears and presumptions by keeping it bite-sized and relevant supported by reassurance and help.

CAD for Fashion was established in 2018. Having sought business advice from schemes up and down the country, she did an elevator business workshop to establish a roadmap and launched her studio with group classes which pivoted online when the pandemic struck offering recorded sessions for easy playback.

Having won a local award scheme for digital and creative enterprise in 2020, Erika has continued to hone her courses which have a maximum of 6 people. She introduced a series of 1 hour skills updates which have proved very popular with the international community. People are inspired by how friendly, patient and supportive CAD For Fashion team are.

Erika also works in-house with a wide range of clients including Motor Direct who have very specific requirements including lots of panels, graphics and customization. She developed a process that allowed them to quickly draw a design and create 10 more in a matter of minutes dramatically improving efficiency. She has also worked with a knitwear design sourcing company needing help illustrating knitted samples from China with the right gauge proving that Illustrator can be highly effective in design and range building allowing digital sign-off for certain product types saving time and money.

Many designers are self-taught and Erica has focused heavily on illustration, hand-drawn illustration and techniques to help them create professional illustrations using Procreate, digital drawing apps and iPad Illustrator.

Clo3D is now set to revolutionize fashion as digital technology evolves at pace to offer ever greater efficiency across our industry and Erika observes that Clo3D, Browzwear, Optitex and Vetigraph are all evolving to offer ever more realistic fabric appearance. For development and sustainability it is amazing and will change the structure of companies using it however we are at the beginning and there is still a steep learning process. You still need a 2d pattern and to tell the software where to stitch to create the 3d model. As the technology evolves it will create a massive saving in sampling and carbon footprint. Realistic representation allows for reliable decision making.

For 2022, Erica is extremely excited to be teaching in person again… people want to meet and receive hands-on help whilst also having a recording to playback.

Erica's teaches in Nottingham and plans to add some London pop-ups in 2022 in line with demand.

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