For this week’s blog we wanted to invite you behind the scenes to learn all about our design process - how we come up with the ideas for our products, plus the technical getting-shit-done stages of design.
Every designer and business has it’s own process, but this is how we approach designing and product development:
1 FIND THE NEED
As part of our brand identity centres around functional, technical and practical design, we always start our design process by finding out what’s needed most in a product.
This can start in a couple of ways; we can have an idea for a type of product that would make sense in our collection - e.g. pair of training shorts or a sports bra - or we could get insight from our target market/audience (that’s you), asking for input and requests via social media, an approach which helps us create products we know you want and need.
Once we’ve decided on the item that needs designing, we move onto research and inspiration.
2 GET INSPIRED
Before we manufacture anything, or even put pen to paper, we do a stack of research. We look into current and future trends, research fabrics, colours, finishes and technologies. We look at classic designs that are tried and tested along with the newest ideas.
Again, we often check in with our audience at this stage, finding out the colours and styles that excite you the most.
We also look at what the garment is being used for - running, lifting, swimming, commuting - as this has a big impact on the design and fabrics we go with.
By looking at all these different ideas we end up with a whole lot of information and inspiration, which helps us with the next stage: designing.
3 CREATE THE DESIGNS
Our designs are that beautiful combination of classic and cutting edge. We aim to create wardrobe staples that will see you through seasons - we do this by using classic, flattering styles in wearable colours and quality materials - without sacrificing performance (newest materials, cuts, and finishes), while still giving a nod to what’s trending and stylish. The thing about having a slow fashion, sustainable focus is that we want you to keep your pieces for years - not have to throw them out because they’re not in fashion after six months.
Taking all the above into consideration, we start the actual designing with hand drawn sketches and illustrations which help to see what the garment might look like, the features it might have and how it will fit with our existing collection.
Once we’ve come up with a range of sketches we move to CAD (computer aided design) to create technical drawings. These have all the precise measurements, proportions and specifications included (right down to the type of stitching on each seam). This step is usually tied in with the following one...
4 SOURCE COMPONENTS
Before the product can be made, we first need to source the materials, trims and other components. We’ll have an idea of what we want in the designing phase, and we’ll try and source the closest materials as possible to that original vision. Often we’ll use the same fabric across multiple garments, so those would go through the design process at the same time.
We’ll often work closely with the manufacturers at this point to make sure they can work with what we’ve chosen, and sometimes they have contacts or in-house options that are great. This also streamlines the next step: sampling.
5 GET SAMPLES
Every product goes through a sampling phase. All this means is we get a single item produced to our design specification which we then test and check to ensure it’s perfect. Sometimes there’ll be multiple samples and adjustments, but the closer you work with the manufacturer the easier this process is. Having local manufacturers is definitely a benefit too.
Once the samples are approved we can move onto production.
6 OPEN PRESALES
It’s usually around this stage that we’ll launch a presale and create our launch collateral, doing photo shoots etc. This allows us to start marketing the upcoming arrivals and gauging interest in colours and styles. It means that last minute adjustments to quantities and additional orders can be placed if needed.
7 PRODUCE THE DESIGNS
This part is all with our makers, they create our stock based off the approved samples, giving us the number of sizes and colours we require. If needed we’ll check in with the manufacturers along the way to make sure everything is being done to spec. Once production is done (usually a few weeks), we get to the fun part…
Once all this is done (usually a 2-3 month process) we receive the stock and start sending out your orders! We also do some additional content creation to help you get the most out of your new Valkyrie.
This sums up our design process. At the moment it’s all handled by Meg Nicholson (that’s me), our founder, who has a Bachelor of Branded Fashion Design. There’s a lot of companies out there now that aren’t headed up by qualified designers... and while anyone can create a brand, there’s a whole lot of industry experience and design understanding that goes into our products. We hope this has shown a fraction of the love and expertise that we put into every product in our store! If you have questions please comment below or contact us here.