The Product Brief is the start of the fashion journey describing the categories of clothing. Target audience, target market, the launch season, the number of styles and the target price point of the collection, giving you all the basic knowlege to start researching the collection.
The Research analysis starts with the key trends that will fit the companies brand identity. Looking into all relavent fashion shows which show the future in combination of whats in the stores at that time. Breaking down the research into more focused chunks like what are the key garments? key silhouette? focus colours for the season? and seasonal styling looks for marketing and fashion shows.
Seasonal inspiration is building a creative story that combines with the trend analysis research. My inspiration normally comes from movies, documentaries, architexture, music, musicians, artists what ever inspires me for that collection and has a connection to the clothing.This is used to inspire the coompany, designers and will also be used in marketing the collection.
The next stage is an integral part of building a collection and can sometimes be under estimated in how import the process is, to building a successful collection. I spend a lot of time choosing colours that give a fresh approach to the collection but can also elivated the collection to another level.
The range plan is normally built from looking at previous sales from a buying manager. I will sit down and show from a design focus what is important for the season and we adjust the range plan so the company and i are happy with the balance of the collection.
The Brand brief is a digital mood board presentation. I worked with big companies and had to present to a lot of people,so It was easier to build up a brand brief using Adobe illustrator and sometimes transfering the presentation to powerpoint to sync it with music. The brand brief shows inspiraton images for key garments, colours, prints and in combination with the seasonal story that inspires the whole collection. Its used to inspire the designers the buyers and steakholders show the direction of the collection. The story is also used in marketing for add campaigns and fashion shows to explain the direction of the collection.
The next stage in the Design Process is to sit with the Product Designers and go through the garment inspiration boards and the trends. I will explain what is important for the collection ie colours, silhouette ,fabrics key garments. I go through the styles i need to be in the collection to give collection to give the seasonal directional look. My job is to Keepthem within the boundries of the collection, while still giving them creative freedom to build the collection and i take care of the big picture.
The Product Designers would go away and start to research there specific product groups and keep in mind the seasonal inspiration, they would start by designing the key garments i asked for then start to design new the rest of there products. They started to build up fabrics they liked and colour and print ideas. I would have meetings every 2-3 days to make sure they kept in line with the collection inspiration, making sure i kept the red thread through all product groups.
Once we start to add fabrics and colour options to the boards.I start to research more specific the graphic aspect of the collection. Focusing on all over prints and placment prints for garments and trims. I build the ideas from the brand brief research and build a graphic story. Then I sit with a graphic designer to build up ideas. Once the ideas are finished. I then put the prints on specific garments and get alternative colourways made for styles. Then put all artworks up on the collection boards.
One of the last processes is going through the whole collection before handing over to the buyers. The first stage is to work all the way through the whole collection with the designers go through every garment and every detail with the whole team. This is when i have to be tough and take styles away that dont work for the collection and change colours that dont work on certain garments. At this stage i count all colours to make sure we have enough commercial colours and the right balance of fashion colours. This meeting is exhausting but the more thorough i am here means less mistakes later.
The designers go away and update all sketchesso they are ready for the handover to the buyers. I would also make them sketch garment overviews for each product group showing colour options and graphics. all this works is done on Adobe illustrator, and will be put up on black boards. I would then meet with the steakholders in the company and present the whole collection and ideas thoroughly from focus garments, fashion forward garments, the silhouette, prints, colours and finally styling. Still making sure we are covering the needs of our customer from basics to high fashion. Once approved its time for the handover.
One of the last stages was to sit down with each product designer and buyer and we would go through the collection we had designed. It was important for me to be there as sometimes the buyers had othere ideas and tried to repeat old styles and my job was to pre strike this by explaining the big picture and what garments where going to take over from the style. So had to be clear that this was a company focus so the brand would keep moving in the right direction.
The Product designers would sit with buyers once we had went through all products and then the buyer would send out techpacks with sketches, patterns, fabric choices, trims, colour options and print art works for garments, to all the choosen manufactures to start the samples for collections.
The Prototype samples are a very important part of the design process this is when you actually get to see the garments and make small adjustments if required. I would look into the fitting of the garments,make sure the quality was the right standard and worked with the styles and looked into colour options and prints and at this point even cut styles that were not up to standard. This process is just like in UX Design when you start to test your wireframes to see if the flow and solution works if not you tweak the design to make a better solution.
The sales collection is used at the seasonal sales conference,its a full collection used to merchandise an in house store and sell in the collection to all world wide sales team. I would normally style 10-12 mannequins showing all the key looks and garments in the collection. It was also a chance to take any garments or colour options away before the presentation. I would present the digital brandBrief explaining all aspects of the trends and selling in the seasonal storyline.I would present the mannequins for key garments, colours, cool colour combinations and styling. Then i would take any questions that the sales team had to help them understand the focus of the collection and the story built up for marketing and sales purposes.