In more recent times I am finding myself entering into conversations where the central solution is the value of prioritising good design and functionality. It should be considered a rite of passage in tackling any product development process.
There are many occasions, where as a designer and consumer, I have felt let down by poor development choices. It becomes tiresome when garments appear to be ‘winging it’ and not really fulfilling their true call from the market.
Increasingly there is less appetite for this type of design today. We need to be smart, savvy and ahead of the curve.
Throw away design only equates to throw away garments and this is not acceptable practice anymore. In intimate apparel the time and energy invested in creating such garments is high. So for them to be worn once then left to line a draw or charity bag is completely crushing and wasteful.
It becomes tiresome when garments appear to be ‘winging it’ and not really fulfilling their true call from the market.
Everything about good design starts with knowing your market. Understanding the person who buys this product, what they do in it, how old they are, what they can afford or want to pay for it.
Knowledge is King
Research cannot be undersold here. It’s not just looking at competitor analysis; seeing what colours and styles seem to do well for them. Instead it’s putting this to one side and diving into a product area completely.
Maybe you are working on a project because it is your absolute passion and have first hand knowledge in the market you are creating for.
But if you don’t you need some!
Perhaps you’re designing a running bra? So go out for a run in your own bras and see how it feels. Reach out to runner friends, clubs, Facebook groups. Ask them first-hand about the pros and cons. What causes real concerns for them and the pain points that trigger a final decision?
Seek out the fabric companies to see what they provide in materials, components and fastenings. Understand why they created what they did and the comments that were fed back to them through their interactions with clients.
The final piece of the picture is openness and talking about what we are setting out to achieve. Speak to others in your community; don’t worry about sharing or asking for advice.
Many of us have ‘Designer’ as a tittle but we have all taken very different paths to get there. We can’t begin to know everything there is to know but as an industry that seems to sustain us all, we can connect to those that may have the advice we need.
So when you sit back down again and open your sketchbook you will be vastly more knowledgeable in your design direction. You will create a purer, more refined and more powerful piece of product that should confidently stand the test of time.