You may have seen – and shopped – our AW17 collection but we’re taking you behind the scenes to meet some of the talented design team and to find out what it takes to bring their creations to life.
While many of us are obsessing about the current season shoes, clothes and accessories, those in the design team are already seasons ahead of us, quietly dreaming up the next collection. With work starting months in advance, the process is one that begins – literally – at the drawing board. ‘We start by looking at [Creative Director] Emma’s creative boards, getting a feel for the styling and the shapes,’ explains Footwear and Accessories Product Developer Caroline. Next up is researching imagery, vintage references and making the most of London’s many markets. ‘We then put together our inspiration, fabric ideas and colour palettes before selecting fabrics and sketching,’ says Designer Merje.
Once clothing designs are worked up, patterns are made and toiles (a mock-up of a garment) are sewn and sent back to the team. This enables them to see what it actually looks like because – as Junior Designer Anissa points out – ‘it changes when you see it on the body.’ Tweaks and amendments are then made before the next sample comes back. The team individually fit each item to ensure it is absolutely perfect before it gets a gold seal approval.
For Caroline and the footwear team, their main focus is ensuring the shoes and accessories all tie in with the rest of the collection. ‘We look at apparel a lot and make sure that we’re building outfits with the shoes,’ says Caroline. After initial sketches, specs are made and sent to the suppliers who then make a sample. ‘We normally go out and approve the samples before they can grade them.’
So what have they all got their eye on from the AW17 collection? Merje will be treating herself to the Alberta shearling jacket (coming in October), which she’ll be wearing with ‘everything!’ once the temperatures start to dip. ‘I kind of have a boysy side to my style so I like to have very feminine pieces but mix them up,’ says Anissa. A fan of the Sandingham jumpsuit, she will also be wearing the Assam this autumn. ‘I think the Henrietta sock boot,’ muses Caroline. ‘I can imagine myself wearing that with just a chunky knit.’