HAND-SEWN HOLIDAY HEIRLOOMS
Design Brief: use limited end-lot fabric of natural origins to create unique time-honored stockings within a tight budget
Solution: a collection of six stockings featuring silk, cotton, and wool made to mix and match with current or past Schoolhouse designs
While I was the lead Designer + Developer for this product, I could not have done it without the feedback and support from others. Throughout each milestone of the process I presented work to my Product team and Creative Services who provided design critique and ensured the product continued to stay on brand. I worked closely with a member from the Sewing team to review usage requirements, construction details, and create final prototypes in-house.
This brief outline aims to walk through the creation steps to fill in gaps of the product story not represented by visuals.
Design Brief – While the pattern of the stocking remains the same year after year, the firm design constraints make this product much more difficult to bring to life than its simple silhouette lets on. Adhering to the brief required sourcing challenges, understanding material interactions, and careful brand alignment.
Research – This phase primarily helped us decide if our target retail for this product remained in line with our competitors and if we needed to change it, how the product would sit among our new holiday collection.
Ideation – Using the seasonal company mood board produced by our Creative Manager as a guide, I began to create ideal pattern/color combinations to feel out how a cohesive collection could come together while feeling classic, yet freshly re-inspired. Early mock ups involved physically playing with fabric scraps and digitally mocking up options.
Sourcing – After calculating costs, forecasts, and fabric usage, I worked with domestic textile companies and visited an end lot fabric retailer to begin selecting fabrics to prototype potential stockings. My primary goal was to find end lot fabric made from natural materials with interesting textures within the Schoolhouse color story. Additionally, there had to be enough yardage of the end lot fabric left to hit our forecasted quantity of stockings, all within a tight budget. I also turned to left over materials we had sitting in storage from past products, where the yardage left was perfect for a limited seasonal run.
Prototyping – Once material choices had been secured, I worked with a sewing expert to determine the proper construction and finishing details for each stocking. We identified which stockings needed backing or linings, and tried different materials of each to find the sweet spot between quality, function, and cost. Once the stockings were stuffed, I noticed the cuff needed to be tacked to the sock, which was an improvement to previous years' construction.
Launch – These six stockings launched with the Holiday 2019 collection; two made from ace&jig scraps left over from a 2018 line of co-branded products. All stockings came in within the original budget, and integrated seamlessly with past stockings (for the benefit of collectors), continuing to be festive with a Schoolhouse lens. Despite nearly doubling our annual forecast from the previous year, most styles quickly sold out online within the first few weeks after launch.