The Making Of: I’m in Design Mode
My job entails many things but one of the most important is designing the Rosie Pope Maternity Collection. I find designing both exciting and deeply nerve wracking. For me, it is a deeply personal thing to create a dress, a top or a blouse as it is a reflection of my creativity and of what I think pregnant women will want to wear and I genuinely want all our customers to be excited and delighted by what we produce so they can enjoy their journey into motherhood even more.
The way we feel is important and it directly affects how we parent and so I take great responsibility in my duties as a designer. I am not just saying this, nor is it a random mantra thought up by some agency somewhere – I truly live it and believe it. While I am designing it is as if I am having conversations with all of you, trying to figure out what would be just exactly right for you in design, comfort, fit, fabric, detail and I love more than anything to actually hear from you. I have even been known to call some of our customers just for feedback, although half the time I think they are immensely weirded out that I am calling them to chat about a dress! But I can’t help myself because I want to know what you all think.
Putting aside the emotional stress, designing a collection is also a tremendous amount of work. Before I started designing I didn’t quite realize all that actually goes into making a single garment but it is truly immense and each piece from t-shirt to gown goes through many stages from concept to completion. I love seeing a collection come to life, as each piece goes from a simple pencil sketch to a real, in-person sample being fit on a model in all its vivid glory. But the process can be stressful too, as I find some details that I thought would work PERFECTLY instead just…don’t. There can be many iterations that would make you roll all over the floor laughing; a well-intentioned foray into shiny gold sequins pops into mind! So as I ramp up to begin designing our next season, I have all the anxiety of someone just beginning –every time it feels like the first time I put pen to paper.
But, the moment I get going the clouds soon lift and it is so exciting. I am intensely keen on being inspired by everything (and, in some cases, inspired NOT to do something, like pleather maternity pants!): people I see, the landscape, colors of food, art, furniture, jewelry, sculpture, runway shows, vintage styles, London, New York….you name it and I have probably found some inspiration there (or I have decided to avoid it at all costs)!
After all of the inspiration has had time to percolate I usually formulate some kind of theme for the collection and collect copious amounts of inspirational materials. Then I literally lock myself in a room and start designing, pinning stuff all over boards scattered around the room: fabric, sketches, notes (oh, my, do I love Post-Its). What is funny is this usually happens in our bedroom, as it is one of the only quiet places I can find (much to my husband’s dismay, as he spends most of design season tripping over fabric swatches in the middle of the night).
Since we have had kids however, I usually get a little help from them as there is no way they are going to let mommy close the bedroom door to design. So I am much less precious about my design boards these days and let my oldest draw on top of them once I’m done. It is always a funny conversation with the pattern makers when I tell them to ignore the extra Crayola embellishment courtesy of my toddler!
I have to tell you though, when I am not sure whether a design is good enough, or whether it’s too outlandish or too boring, my oldest is great to talk it out with. Half the time I think he thinks I am insane but he’s certainly a good listener!
So next time you think to yourself,” I wish Rosie Pope sold this or made that”, Tweet me or send me a message as I would love to hear. If you get a call from me, please don’t get freaked out — I’m not a stalker; I’m just desperate for your feedback! And, if you see me in the next weeks wandering around looking distracted, don’t worry; I am probably just admiring some little detail or color that I want to incorporate in a dress you just might wear to your baby shower