top of page
  • Suzy Wakefield

Blurred Lines-The 4 Key Roles You Need to Take Your Product to Next

A Recipe for Your Fashion Team's Success

Sometimes seeing clearly happens from the blurring of the lines. Sounds funny right? We believe nevertheless this overlap and melding of roles and responsibilities is the magic for a great team to make a great product within the realm of fashion.

The movie stereotype of fashion design is that a designer is inspired to create something and then they sketch it out in a beautifully illustrated manner and then poof it’s draped on a form and done. Magic and so easy!

The Real Story Behind the Scenes

The real story is way more complex and so much more interesting!

Starring Roles-Designer & Tech Designer

Wherever the starting point of inspiration, you or your designer will ultimately need to sketch it in a way that makes it legible as a flat clear croquis front and back. Often a designer will collaborate with a tech designer to ensure that what they have envisioned is doable, and can translate across sizes in the desired fabrication and componentry. Once they talk this through, the visuals along with the measurements and details need to be documented in a garment tech pack which will evolve as often as the garment itself does.

The Producer- Product Development Expert

Simultaneously, they both will want to stay in close connection to the people who are leading the efforts for product development and production, whose job it is in part, to project manage internal and external team efforts within an often very constrained time period. They are so important to the integrity of the garment and the overall brand. Your product development partners ensure that the factories are certified with the desired standards, that all the stages of sample approvals have been negotiated, and that the costs of making those samples are worked out, among so many other avenues of importance.

The Agent-Merchant

And lastly, this entire group checks in frequently with the merchant to partner on the establishment of the line plan, target retails, units that they want to buy, the number of cc’s, and when they want it in the stores or online. Your merchant is a key player in the team. They are the conduit to getting your product to market and are the bridge between the creatives and consumers. In a perfect and volume-producing world, the merchant and designer are a key relationship. Merchant without a designer will not be putting new and unique collections out, and a designer without a merchant will possibly be designing products that don’t fit into the retail or SKU count that your brand can support. As you can imagine, neither is good for your success.

Your whole product development team are adjacent and interwoven experts who rely on each other for partnership and thought leadership. One significant trait that we’ve found in the colleagues that we have worked with, and hopefully have been, is that they keep each other in the loop and also ask each other’s opinions on a regular basis. Because our jobs are so intermingled, we need each other to both create the baton, pass it around, and often give sage perspective on what is happening on their leg of the race.

Organize to Optimize

Even if you can’t launch your brand with a fully fleshed-out team, it’s important to keep in mind the organization you are striving to build which could also give perspective on what you need from both internal and external team members in the immediate.

We hope you learned something from this peek into an optimized team. Reach out to us to learn more about the fashion development process, team organization, or mentoring brand development.

Have any advice of your own to jumpstart the fashion development process? If so, we'd love to hear. Or have any questions to continue to grow yours. Reach out to us here at We'd love to chat!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page