What an exciting week! We held our first ever design meeting for the new collection that we’ll be releasing for the UK summer in 2018. It was such an important day for us; it symbolises the start of a new chapter and allowed us to vocalise our ideas and concepts.
Looking back on when we first started WYNAD Clothing, I think the design part is something we rushed. But we've learned from our previous experience and we're taking a very different approach this time.
I wanted to share with you what we’ve been working on and how we’re doing things differently. Here are our 5 key learnings that we're taking through in our new design process:
1. Work with a really talented designer
For us, this is probably the most important point. After all, if you don't have the skills to get the job done, then find someone who does!>Not only that, but we also wanted to have someone in our team who we enjoyed working with and shared our vision for the business. Luckily, the designer we met in our first year ticks both of those boxes.
Arpitha Raipally is a freelance fashion designer based in Bangalore. She graduated from NIFT (National Institute of Fashion and Textiles) and has worked for some huge global brands including Diesel, Banana Republic and Levi's. Her ability to listen and understand a brief and then bring it to life is amazing. As well as all that, she’s a fabulous human. Both me and Rob enjoy working with her immensely.
2. Give time for creative ideas to develop
The biggest difference between now and our first collection is the amount of time we have. Allowing ourselves the space to let ideas grow is key to the development process.
Rather than settling for the first things that came to mind we talked concepts through as a team, disagreed, fought our corners and as a result our ideas evolved.
This is a key step; the temptation to take an idea and run with it is hard to resist! We have learned to hold fast and take our time to avoid expensive mistakes or misjudged focus.
3. Create a concept
We want this collection to hold together as a unified piece of work and for each garment to hold its own individually. After a bit of brainstorming and deliberation we came up the idea of “abstract punk”.
We want our pieces to be edgy, modern, a little trashy and feel like a piece of artwork. I’m a great fan of the American artist Keith Haring and I wanted to bring a sketchy, art book feel to our clothing.
Everything from the colour palette we’ve chosen, to the prints on our fabrics, to the look and flow of our garments now incorporates this theme. And we’re really happy with it!
4. Absorb feedback like a sponge
Although our first collection didn't bring us a huge number of customers, we were still able to collect feedback from plenty of people.
The people who bought our products, our family and our growing network of contacts in the industry all had something to say about our clothes.
The main advice? We needed to keep things simple. Our first collection came across as a little confused - we needed to focus on creating a “classic” look that would be accessible to people and could help us break through.
We took this feedback and worked it into our new collection, whilst adding some of our own gut instincts into the mix, too. That, after all, is how you end up with something unique!
5. Don't be afraid to disagree
The WYNAD Clothing design team now comprises 3 of us; me, Rob and Arpitha.
We all had thoughts about what should feature and how we should take on board the feedback from our critics as well as remain true to our own ideas and direction.
This meant that the meeting this week between the three of us was a pretty long one! We talked through all of the ideas, one by one and everyone had their say. We put forward the ones which were unanimous, and cast aside those where there was doubt.
Everyone had a chance to speak their minds and through discussion and collaboration, we were able to create a collection of 17 garments (men's, women's and unisex) which have made it through to the sampling stage.
Along with the garments, we have a colour palette we’re working with and a selection of 5 different prints which we think reflect our "abstract punk" concept.
The whole process from that initial meeting to the time our final designs are submitted will take some time. Plenty of adjustments, conversations on WhatsApp, rearrangements, disagreements and flexibility are all to come. But we couldn't be more excited!