Here at Odlo, we have been engineering Active Layers since 1946, via a product design process built on pride, detail and quality. From initial product research right through to final manufacture, Odlo draws on its history of innovation during every stage of development to provide quality products that are always #OneStepAhead.
To help provide an insight into the Odlo design process behind our new products, we have reached out to our Head of Design, Lavy Ohayon, to talk through the processes and illustrate the sorts of challenges posed along the way, as well as detail the most exciting parts of the job.
THE DESIGN PROCESS – CONCEPTION TO CREATION
The design process begins with meticulous planning and research, identifying products that our target audiences want and require. The first step is to consider the macro trends, and what’s going on in the world and within the design industry as a whole. Consumer behaviour will be studied as well as colour, graphic and material trends to develop a path which the product will follow. The trends which the team pinpoint continue to influence every stage of the development process and will be regularly referred back to in order that the product vision remains intact.
The next stage is to accommodate seasonal direction - creating a red thread through the collection and colour palette. This is an important aspect of the process, more so when you consider that Odlo’s products are multi-seasonal and many will need to perform in the depth of winters whilst others are for use in high summer. Our task is to develop successful products and collections to suit the season in relation to performance, construction and colourways. Once a concept has been generated, the team look into the designing and materials process. According to Lavy this is one of the key stages of the process as the material drives the design and defines the product.
Prototypes are developed and reviewed taking into consideration proportion and fit as prominent factors of the review. These are details that are often taken for granted by the consumer, however they are an important part of the process as they ensure the product comes to life.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROCESS
Research and time are the most important parts of the process says Lavy, “Research allows you to come up with new and exciting concepts and time gives you the avenue to explore different product execution ideas.” It is this freedom for exploration that gives birth to the innovative concepts that Odlo continuously develop. It’s not just the research itself, it’s what is done with the information acquired which produces the best products explains Lavy, “It is very important to share our research with our suppliers so we can collaborate our ideas to come up with a common goal. This is essential as a design process free of any confusion and doubt invariably creates the high quality product which was envisaged at the beginning of the process.”
TESTING THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS
Testing is a vital part of the effective design of a new product or collection. No matter how great the product looks or what it claims to achieve, if it doesn’t actually work, the process is wasted. As athletes and people with a passion for active lifestyles themselves, the design team have a great idea of what works and what people look for in their products. By wearing the products themselves as well as ‘wear testing’ them with Odlo athletes, Odlo’s design team can generate great feedback that is accommodated to deliver a superior product that meets Odlo’s standards. Lavy and his team have Odlo’s 70 years of innovation to use as inspiration for continuing to produce exceptional garments and this encourages the team to test them rigorously to get them exactly how they would want them if they were the consumer.
The testing stretches further then consumer and athlete opinion, the products are also sent to the Research and Development department where they undergo strenuous scientific tests to eradicate any issues in their performance before going into production.
THE SPECIAL SKILLS YOU NEED AS PART OF THE DESIGN TEAM
To get the best products, it’s ideal to have a range of people from different design fields to generate to collaborate on new and exciting ideas. The differences create a great dynamic that feeds on contrasting skills and techniques and leads to fresh ideas being bought to the table. “Planning and designing products allows us to learn and challenge each other and it develops different view points.” says Lavy. When recruiting designers, Odlo doesn’t focus on a single profile; instead we look for people from a variety of design backgrounds who are exciting, innovative and who we feel will fit seamlessly into the team.
THE MOST EXCITING PART OF THE JOB
Lavy’s favourite part about working at Odlo is the opportunity it gives him to work within an exciting team which has the freedom to, “Explore a new idea and bring it to life with very little red tape.” Odlo’s history and drive to discover new materials and technologies encourages Lavy and his team to investigate different avenues in technology and design and inspires them to deliver leading products which keep Odlo #OneStepAhead of the others.