Nike and Mulberry
The Big Question for our Students:
- How do you blend two established brands while celebrating their individual strengths?
- How do you mix the soft drape or dynamic detailing of sportswear with design oriented, structured tailoring?
- How do you refresh sportswear styles from bygone eras with a modern twist?
- How do you create an outfit that adapts from day to night, work to play?
The Design Opportunity:
To combine customer understanding, brand insight and technical know-how to create an outfit in an exciting new hybrid style
To design a complete outfit for Autumn/Winter 2009 that fuses signature traits from Nike and Mulberry and blends a sportswear feel with structured tailoring to deliver an exciting new hybrid for high end customers.
Phase One: What we did and how we did it:
During the initial research phase, the students’ first task was to gain an in-depth understanding of the Nike and Mulberry brands; what they stand for, who their customer is and their signature styling. This enabled them to identify elements of brand synergy and formed the context for their project.
Next they referenced a range of other designer and retail brands that compete in this high end territory. Investigating designers such as; Aquascutum, Marc Jacobs, Puma 96 hours, Stella for Adidas, Junya Wantannabe and retail outlets including Brown Focus, Selfridges, B-Store and Barneys New York, gave them a invaluable insight into the space their designs needed to inhabit.
To further focus their research, students concentrated on soccer and tennis garments through the ages, paying particular attention to traditional tailoring and finishing but always with a view to redefining the look for a contemporary market.
Finally, students began to build a picture of their target market; creating customer boards which mapped out every detail of their lives. In this way they could understand why, where and how people would wear their designs.
Phase Two - What we did and how we did it:
Having researched the brands, market trends, fashion heritage and consumer profiles, the next step was to translate all of these strands into exciting new designs.
To create a hybrid design takes a great deal of skill and judgement. Key to the success of this project was the students’ ability to fuse several design influences while emphasising specific signature elements. In addition, every decision made had to be carefully evaluated to ensure that they achieved the perfect balance between a contemporary sportswear feel and sophisticated design, fluid lines and formal tailoring, fashion heritage and innovative modern technology.
Students experimented, producing design development sheets for at least 20 outfits. This allowed them to generate multiple design ideas which they refined in conjunction with Nike and Mulberry to a shortlist of 3 potential outfits. Each element of these outfits was illustrated in colour and as flats. The strongest design was then selected for production.
Next they turned their focus onto refinement, both in the silhouette and finish. Key to this phase was the students’ ability to filter and interpret their research to deliver the unexpected such as mixing sportswear fabrication with a tailored construction or adding traditional detailing to a modern sportswear silhouette.
Students had to consider every aspect of the finished garment in detail but especially cutting, fabrication, detailing and finish. Materials were chosen early in the process and tested at every stage.
The finished outfit was styled by the student on the model of their choice and presented to Nike and Mulberry. Students were asked to talk about their inspiration for the outfit and why and how it met the original brief.
The work was then exhibited at the School and the event was viewed by over 200 people.
In total, 40 new outfits were presented to Nike and Mulberry ranging from mens sport-inspired jersey pieces and soft tailoring, to womens pinstripe jumpsuits and sporty mini dresses.
“This project was very interesting and our design team gained a lot from it.
The students’ enthusiasm and innovative thinking was really refreshing and exciting to see.
It was educational for us to get a chance to see how the brand was viewed though the eyes and ideas of students.
The volume and the quality of the work produced was very impressive; several exceptional projects were produced.”
Andrew Coulson, Nike