Behind-the-Scenes at Gen Woo
Ever wondered what happens behind-the-scenes of a fashion brand? There are many steps that a fashion brand takes in order to bring a collection of ladies ladies clothes into the shops.
You’re just in time to catch our Design Assistant, Sabrina Zamri, a member of Gen Woo’s creative team. Get inside her work processes, personal fashion inspirations, and how she stays updated with the fashion industry.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
S: I can't really remember the exact point that sparked my interest in fashion, but I do know that I didn’t like dressing the same way as my peers. When I was still in school, I didn’t like to wear the clothes my parents had bought for me; not because it's ugly, I just didn’t like the idea of being "mainstream". Instead I would mix-and-match something from my mum's closet.
To me, fashion is how you showcase one's uniqueness, one's identity. I finally shopped for my own clothes when I was old enough to get a job. Before Gen Woo, I was travelling for work for 2.5 years and that influenced my decision to explore fashion.
What does your job entail at Gen Woo?
S: I’ve worked as a design assistant at Gen Woo for the last two years. It forms part of the creative team. One of the main responsibilities I have is supporting anything that requires a visual image, for example a mood board for a new collection or a visual merchandising plan for the retail team to follow in our shops. It also crosses over into marketing where I prepare all product photography and advertising photography for our website and advertising platforms.
When designing a new collection, I analyse trends and develop and propose stories to our creative director. Once we are set on our new direction for the season I will further support the design process by creating in depth mood boards on shapes, print and trims. We may also decide to redesign our accessories (swing tickets and care labels). Once we reach the design stage I will draw up CAD’s for our specification packs that get sent to Bangladesh. I shadow and follow each design as it moves through the various stages covered by merchandising. Once a style is approved for production I will then work in marketing to cover the photography side of the product. We work with many external stakeholders to ensure we have product, catalogue and editorial photography for the collection.
In your opinion, what are the essential skills/traits to work in a creative department of a fashion house?
S: Well, to me, having the right mindset comes before the skills. You can teach a person to learn technical skills but it is harder to ‘teach’ someone to have the right mindset. So I think the most essential trait to have is motivation and passion.
How do you stay up to date with the fashion industry?
S: The fashion industry is huge and moves very fast which makes staying up to date a big challenge.
Keeping up with trends would include an analysis of the 4 main fashion shows, Paris, Milan, London, and New York.
I will have key designers in mind from this research and I would then do an in- depth analysis on the brand looking at their social media, marketing, and ready to wear collections.
I use trend apps like Tagwalk that analyse data through the online traffic a show is generating.
Besides the internet, I often observe the streets and do weekly "Shop/Street" research to see what people are wearing, and look at different visual merchandising displays. The team also seeks customer feedback from our retail associates to help us gather information on what styles they like or what they would like to see next.
What kind of tools do you use for your work?
S: Most days, I'm using a Mac and Wacom tablet, but when traveling, I'll be on my Macbook instead. The software that I use the most would be Adobe Photoshop as it's easy for me to work on my moodboards and to edit.
How do you manage a creative block?
S: It’s easy to get a bit lost in the design process. For example, I am currently building a moodboard for the up and coming SS23 collection. There are so many ideas and trend directions that we could do but I can only pick one.
Usually, I’ll step back, revisit my notes and references, filter out ideas that aren’t relevant, compile those that are in separate folders and build the story from there. When there are too many ideas, it’s easy to lose track of what the intended direction is. That’s why taking a breather and revisiting the original brief to further streamline ideas is important.
What are the best and worst parts about working in the creative team?
S: The best part about working in the creative team is the sense of accomplishment when our ideas come to life. The downside? Sometimes you think your idea is unique, only to see another brand already launching it before you.
Are there any designers you admire, and do they have influence over your work?
S: At the moment I love Alessandro Michele. His work at Gucci is becoming iconic.
My favourite is the collaboration he did with Balenciaga. Both brands have their own brand identity that’s totally different, so their collaboration was the hot topic for AW21.
Second on my list is Vivienne Westwood who is known for referencing British pop culture in her work, particularly "Punk Fashion". She’s also using her platform to raise awareness on topics like culture and politics. I feel that her approach appeals to the younger generation who are concerned with social and environmental issues which I also relate to. To see someone like Vivienne Westwood use her influential position to talk about these issues motivates me to spread and raise awareness about them as well.
After all, fashion is a common interest that everyone can relate to. It’s a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of current social and environmental affairs to the general public.
What’s your personal style?
S: I don't have a fixed style per se, so my look often changes based on my mood. I tend to experiment with my looks and like mixing styles, for example, by wearing bright green high waisted pants with a purple cropped peplum top with balloon sleeves, and finishing with a pair of black chunky boots and a bucket hat.
What’s your favourite piece from this season’s new collection?
S: My favourite piece for this season would be the Check Interlock Crop Wide Pants. I just like how unique it is and totally looking forward to seeing how our customers would style it. Personally, I’d go with a cropped fitted top, cropped blazer and rock it with a pair of high-cut shoes.
Stay tuned for more insider reveals, quick styling tips and new collection previews! Till then, check out the new Gen Woo SS22 collection if you haven’t already.
Author: Media One + Sabrina Zamri