We take you behind the scenes at the Country Road to see what goes into designing the versatile wardrobe staple with menswear design manager Kerrin.
Each season we obsess over colour. It starts with reviewing what colours have been working for us in each style. Then we research forward colour direction and trends and create mood boards to convey the look and feel that we want for the season. At the end of the day, it comes down to intuition and what we feel is right for our customers. This season we were inspired by a rich but still very natural autumnal colour palette of rust browns and army and moss greens, anchored with navy.
The mood and feel of the season is an important guide. Not only does it help dictate colour, it also influences what styles we design and how we see them outfitted. As well as looking at short term trends, we also look at the broader lifestyle influences that determine how men are dressing right now and that’s how the parka came into the range. Our more active lifestyles in Australia have had a big influence on how we dress with sportswear and functional outdoor apparel becoming part of our everyday wardrobes.
The parka and windbreaker are two key outerwear pieces this winter. The parka is in a waxy canvas and lined in brushed cotton. The windbreaker is a shorter lightweight style in a more technical shell fabric. Both cater to our milder Australian climate.
The parka and windbreaker are such versatile pieces. Although they originate from military and mountaineering traditions, they don’t look out of place in the urban environment. Whether pairing with a simple t-shirt and track pant or layering over a tailored navy blazer, there are a number of easy ways to wear these items this season.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
While we are working through mood and colours, we begin sketching design ideas and researching fabrics. This aspect involves visiting trade shows as well as working with our fabric sourcing team who are in contact with fabric mills all over the world.
Sometimes a fabric can inspire a garment and other times we have a particular garment in mind and we look for a fabric that we think will work. When we have a design that we think is right, we decide on what colour or colours the item should come in. This then involves sending our colour swatches to our fabrics suppliers so that they can dye the fabric to our specification. In the meantime, the garment sketch with all its technical details like trims and fit, and a sample length of fabric, are then sent to our manufacturer.
Within a couple of weeks, we receive our first garment prototype. We fit this on a standard model and check the fit, design details and trims, then make any required adjustments to the design. If there aren’t too many changes we issue a pre-production garment that we fit once again for a final check to ensure it’s perfect.