Last month we heard from the amazing DJ Tigerlily about what a day in the life of a DJ involves. Next up is a job that we’ve all dreamed of in fashion!
Alice Isles is here to tell us about a typical day as a clothes designer:
7.15am Pull myself out of bed and get ready for the day.
8.30am Arrive at the office and spend the first hour going through a long list of unread emails that mainly consist of questions from our China office asking about new sample developments, fabric enquiries, bulk approvals and fittings… the list goes on! Also, if I have time I will pull up the daily sales from the stores to check what’s selling and what’s not…which can be exciting when things are working really well.
9.30am Catch up with the Creative Director to plan out the day. Every week brings a different type of deadline… This week we have a product sign-off for Spring/Summer ’15. The sign-off is a meeting with our CEO, Buyer and Planning team where we present the product we have designed for a particular month or “Drop”. Also on the schedule is a “spec-out” deadline, which means we have to get new designs out for the next monthly drop. Usually we have to design about 60 styles per month. We also need to discuss plans for our up and coming trip to China to start Autumn/Winter development… eek! It’s a busy week and day ahead!
9.45am The Creative Director wants to talk about the latest Fall ’15 runway shows… We talk about key shapes, fabrics, themes and ideas that we think will work for our brand and the type of fabrics and yarns we will need to source on our trip to China. We also think about new shapes we can work on with the pattern makers at our factory in Shanghai.
10.15am The best part of the day… a parcel from our factory in China has arrived full of new pro to samples, we rip it open like children at Christmas! It is so exiting to see your sketches brought to life. We get totally over excited, ripping everything out of the box, driving our assistant crazy as she tries to neatly hang everything up!
10.30am We try on the new samples being presented at the sign-off with the Buyer. She will decide which samples and how many will go into our retail stores. We also talk her through the upcoming drop and what we are proposing, which can lead to a lot of debate and deliberation about what colour a certain dress should be, if the fabric is too expensive or how we see the customer wearing the outfit.
11.30am Fabric appointment. We have lots of fabric agents come through every week to present new fabrics and developments. We go through fabric headers, pick out references we want to keep and order sampling of new fabrics.
11.45am Worried about my impending spec deadline, I am finalising sketches for my specs – the “specs” are the technical design pages we send out with our design sketches (measurements, fabric info etc)… these are sent to China to create our proto samples. I go over the final details with the other designer, my trusted side kick! We talk everything through, bouncing ideas of each other and make sure we are both happy with the smallest of details.
12.30 LUNCH! Nothing stops our team from sitting down for lunch, we all love food and get something different every day. We all sit around the table together and catch up!
1pm Before I get pulled into fittings, the design assistant needs to pin me down for colour approvals, bulk fabircs, print strike offs all need to be checked and have a very critical eye across them. We get piles of approvals everyday and I always try to avoid them, the poor design assistant is always trying to chase me down!
1.30pm Fittings… Twice a week we have to fit all our proto and production samples. In these fittings we have to make sure the garments look perfect – changing lengths, making them smaller/bigger/more tailored/oversized. We work with a technician who is highly skilled and they help to communicate changes with our pattern makers in China.
3.40pm Back to my sketches and specs! This is my favourite part of the design process. I love sitting with the dummy and creating new shapes, necklines, tucks and folds. We tape the new design lines and shapes on the dummy and use this to guide our measurements and instructions for the spec pack we send to China. It’s a mix of being totally creative and precise at the same time. Often the pattern makers in China will send us photos of the first toiles pinned on the dummy and we send them comments before they make the proto sample.
4pm TEA TIME! We always need our tea and chocolate hit round this time in the arvo, it is also a good excuse to get away from our computer screens for a few mins.
4.10pm Keep going with the specs!!! Headphones on I try to block our the chaos of the office noise and get my head down.
6.30pm I jump online and start printing our some inspirational images… I look on blogs, fashion websites, pintrest and photos I have taken from overseas trips. I’m looking for details and images that we can use to start creating mood boards for the upcoming season. Also, I search for detailed pictures of fabrics and yarns that I can show to suppliers in China to help source new things while we are away.
7pm Husband is calling…Time to go home!! SO much happens in a day, but each week is totally different. The weeks we actually sit and design are my favourite but are never as long as we want them to be. A large part of the job is about problem solving and communication with the different members of our team and having creative solutions!
Want to feature in ‘Day In The Life’ or have someone else to put forward? Please email the laura @ work her dot com or fill out the submission form.