Roles & responsibilities

What is a Product Designer responsible for?
Pushing new seasonal trends, what’s new on the catwalk, designing for their target customer, cover key product shapes and updating best sellers. Sourcing fabrications and trims. They are responsible for briefing the graphic print designer and building the final range so there is enough choice for their target customer. It’s their job to build and put the collection together and needs to be exciting and always new!

What is a Print Designer responsible for?
Pushing new seasonal trends, what’s the new floral, camo, ditsy, check, stripes, animal conversational….. you need to keep an eye on newness and come up with your own exciting ideas. The print designer needs to know what the key print trends and what techniques are new and on trend. You may be looking at exciting new repeats layout… does it always have to be a multidirectional or drop repeat. You need to always be on top of the game, looking for newness, going to exhibitions, gallery but also keeping up to date on WGSN. You and the product designer will work closely together to build the range as a team. Finding the right research at the beginning is the most important stage…if you have week research, you will have a week collection. Spend your time and enjoy sourcing all the amazing inspiration which is out there.

What is a fashion buyer responsible for?
Negotiating prices with suppliers to meet increasing margin targets as well as sample development with suppliers (globally) to fulfill design brief.

What is a Merchandiser responsible for?
Planning and developing merchandising strategies. Analyzing sales figures, customers reactions, and market trends to anticipate product needs.  Collaborating with buyers, suppliers, distributors, and analysts to negotiate prices, quantities and time-scales

Stage one - Trend research

The product and print designers work closely together on trend research. Make sure you have great inspiration to back your new seasonal collection proposal, as this is crucial to producing a strong collection. Also make sure you have updated your cash bankers (best sellers).

Below is my list of key websites to kick off any trend research. You may also want to get print house companies to come in so you can view their latest collections. This may trigger a starting point.

Trend websites

WGSN trend catwalk research

Patternbank (Print, colour and trend)

Peclers trend & colour

Premier Vision Paris & New York

Pitti Bimbo- Kidswear, Florence   

Pitti Filati -Knitwear, Florence

Playtime -Kidswear, Paris

Bubble London- Kidswear

Trend magazines
Milk, Vogue & Bubble

Print Studios

Helena Gavshon Studio-Kids, Ladies,mens homewear

Susanne Samson – -Kids, Ladies,mens homewear

Nancy Parker-Ladies & homewear

SEE Creatures–Kids, Ladies,mens homewear

Peagreen-Kids, Ladies,mens homewear

Stage two - Build a seasonal trend moodboard

Product designer
Your responsibility as a product designer will be to cover key trend:

  • shapes
  • fabrications (sustainable innovation)
  • detailings & trims
  • seasonal colour palettes

Always remember who your target customer is. Will your customer buy in to these shapes?

Sustainable company, contact Sustainable Angel who will assist and work with you on sustainable fabrications,

Print designer

Define the key print and graphic direction for you target customer. Think about:

  • what new techniques are out there
  • what exciting print directions are around
  • interesting graphic placements
  • if you have updated your conversational print. what is the key animal?
  • what your key colour will be?
  • what the updated key print for the season is?
  • getting in contact with your suppliers about innovative new techniques

Look at my example to give you an idea of how this should look

Stage three - The design brief

All of the design department will present their moodboard to buyers, merchandisers and designers.
Remember, are the directors and your Buying / Merchandise team onboard with the direction?

Stage four - Designing the collection

Make sure you work closely with buying team. They need to be onboard & confident in what your designing because they will be buying the range. The buying team will always working to tight margins but don’t let that affect your proposed collection.

Best & Worse meeting – As a team you will recap on last years collections on best performing lines & product which didn’t have a strong reaction.

Product designer
Your responsibility as a product designer will be to:

  • incorporate key shapes
  • build the range & offering with enough choice (no duplicating)
  • offer something new
  • cover must haves
  • have a strong colours balance

Print designer
As the print designer you will be expected to:

  • design the prints and graphics for the range
  • work with the product designer on colour balance
  • show enough choice and new ideas

Stage five - Range plan review

A Range Plan is your flat CAD designs with all print and patterns on the range. You will present the range CAD form to your:

  • Leadership team
  • Merchandise team
  • Buying team
  • Technician

Discuss what your fabrics, shapes, colour pallete, graphic and print direction is.

Stage six - Tech pack & Artwork spec handover

Designers will take the buying and Tech team through all the product and print information for every product in the range.

Tech pack & artwork specs will then be sent to the suppliers. Sampling time is approximately 3-6 weeks. You need to be clear and provide as much imformation as possible on your specs. Each supplier will have their own strengths and weaknesses, so make sure the packs are going to the right suppliers.

Product designer
Once the whole team are happy with your direction, you then prepare your tech pack & Artwork Spec so it is ready for factory use. Product designers will specify all requirements needed on the product.

Print designer
Once the whole team are happy with your direction, you can then start work on your Artwork Spec for all graphics and prints so they are ready for factory use. Attach any new techniques to hand over.

Stage seven - First samples come in

First samples will come in from the suppliers. The design, buying and Merchandise teams will go through and make any tweaks to them before taking them to the sign off meeting.

Stage eight - Sign off meeting

The collection is presented to Leadership Team. Final tweaks will then be made before being sent back to the suppliers so they can make the final tweaks and amends.

Stage nine - Sample walk through

Final samples with all amend made are presented back to leadership for final sign off before going in to store

Stage ten - In-store collection

Your work has finally made it in-store and it’s great to see all that hard work done by all the teams is on show. You now go back to stage one and repeat 🙂

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