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#CommonlyMisusedFashionTerms - Atelier, Mélange And Couture

May 11, 2020 | by bolu | 2 Comments

There’s a whole glossary of fashion terms, some of which have obvious meanings and some of which don't. Words like bespoke, contemporary, haute couture and many others are often used in the fashion industry, and often times these words are misused.

In our previous posts, we discussed the ways in which terms like bespoke fashion, haute couture, contemporary fashion, slow and fast fashion and so on are commonly misused and the right context to use them in.

So, how about Atelier, Mélange and Couture? What do these terms mean, and how should they be used?


Atelier is a French word which actually means studio or workshop. So, in fashion businesses, an atelier is regarded as the workshop in which a designer creates masterpieces for customers. Although this term was firstly used for professional artists in the fine or decorative arts line, atelier is now being used by fashion designers, especially haute couture fashion designers.


Mélange, in all works of life, is regarded as a blend, mix or collection of various things. With respect to fashion, mélange refers to a mix of fibers that are cross dyed to create a unique color effect. A type of yarn known as mélange yarn is the yarn produced by the mixture of at least 2 or more fabrics. A mélange fabric is the fabric produced from single or spun mélange yarn.


In fashion designing, couture is the business of creating, designing and manufacturing custom-made or made-to-measure outfits for clients. The outfits are classified as bespoke because they are specifically made for a client, and they are not produced in mass quantities.

How These Terms Are Commonly Misused And The Proper Ways To Use Them

When some fashion designers say the word atelier, most times they use it in place of the word ‘brand’.  So as a fashion brand, your atelier is not your actual brand, it is just the workshop in which your designs are produced.

For example, Bimpe’s atelier is the workshop where the designs are created, measurements are taken, brainstorming is done, and all other things that are involved in the creative process are done. So, it is not the brand itself.

For an outfit to be considered as a mélange outfit, there must be a mixing of at least 2 patterns, fabrics or even hues. But if an outfit doesn’t have this, it defeats the entire purpose of being a mélange one.

Saying, “This dress is mélange”, for example, means that it should have been blended or speckled with different colours and patterns for some texture and depth.

For fashion brands that name their brands and include couture at the end, this is only right if they deal in bespoke wears, not necessarily specializing in them. A ready-to-wear brand with the name “….. Couture” isn’t using the right brand name, and this doesn’t speak too well of the brand too.

These are some of the words designers misuse some of the time. You can also check out some of these other commonly misused fashion words here.



Ifeoma Commented 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Now I know 😁

D Commented 6 months, 2 weeks ago

This was a nice read.

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