Claudia Gorelick
John Jones

How Designing a Business is like Designing a Clothing Collection

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) recently hosted its annual Education Summit, consisting of panel sessions and Q&As with prominent designers at different stages of their careers, as well as experts in manufacturing, distribution, fashion marketing, and academics.

On Friday, we presented a session entitled: How Designing a Business is Like Designing a Collection. We combined our areas of expertise (Business Design for Claudia and Design Strategy for John) to show fashion designers how they can create a business by using the same approach and tools they use to create a collection.

Building a collection begins with an idea and then requires a clear, systematic approach to bring the pieces into a cohesive whole. Business and design are often considered two ends of a spectrum — “left brain” vs “right brain” thinking. However,  there are common threads between the two that can show commonality — a user-centered approach to problem-solving.  There are also common steps to building both a collection and a business including, user, brand and market positioning, systems and implementation planning, and an iterative approach to creating prototypes.

Fjord and Accenture have formed a collaboration with the CFDA to help shape how the fashion industry integrates consumer insights into its business practices. The team at Fjord and Accenture will be using expertise in physical spaces and consumer behavior to help emerging designers find new ways to engage with their current and future customers.

Claudia Gorelick
John Jones

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