When starting your own line, the design process is always the most sought-after position in any company. This is mainly because it offers the most space for creativity (which is why we all went to fashion school anyway, right?), and if you are starting your own line you have that much more room to play. But even though designing is a fun part of the process, it’s still a calculated and collaborative process. So if you think you think you can sketch and create away to your heart’s desire, take a beat and consider the below.
Designing is a critical first step in the development process. It’s fun, but it’s not a free-for-all. And here’s why:
The design process involves a lot more than just dreaming about a ridiculously buttery leather jacket and then throwing that idea onto paper and expecting to see it for sale on your website in a few months. It’s not going to morph off the sketch-pad into a live product without a tedious and meticulously calculated process, with many hands in the mix.
A designer is the captain of the developmental ship. Thus, the designer should be responsible for:
- Understanding the company budget (you can’t create a leather jacket on a pleather budget)
- Understanding fabric, and how it will work with your design and budget
- Understand fit
- Be able to express the construction elements desired
- Understand the brand image – in other words, is the design on brand?
- Designing a product that can be achieved with the available resources (do they have a manufacturer that has the capabilities they require for the design)? And if not, what alternatives could be presented OR how can we source the necessary resources?
- Keeping on-track with the developmental calendar
- Designing product that will sell
These are only a handful of responsibilities that a designer needs to be able to navigate and manage. This is why the design process is usually comprised of a team rather than a single individual in order to create the best product for the brand.