Meet the people behind the Mamas & Papas brand, we are going to interview people from different areas of the business. …today Zoe Woolls from our Design & Development department shares her passion for baby wear in our first Q&A session.
How did you begin your career in clothing design?
I studied Fashion at Manchester Metropolitan University and have always been passionate about fashion and clothing design, however my career in baby clothes didn’t begin until my first job as a designer with French Connection.
Which are your favourite pieces from the autumn collection and why?
There are so many to choose from- I love them all, but I really like the stripe all in one in Rainy Day Story, it has such a great mix of colour and with an abundance of Mamas & Papas signature detailing such as prints and embroidery, its different from anything else on the highstreet.
The jersey/woven dress in Seagulls Rest is so fun and great for any occasion and the fairsile cardigan in arty workshop is really on trend for this season, and looks just like mini menswear so baby can copy Dads stylish look.
How do you come up with your creations? Who or what are your influences?
As a designer many things inspire you, art, fashion, film to name but a few. It’s a part of who you are and picking up on trends is quite an instinctive thing.
We also use trend information from companies such as WGSN & Promostyl. Once we have collated a wealth of information we will get together and brainstorm an abundance of ideas and will finalise the trends then.
How do you negotiate the balance between fashion and comfort for baby clothes?
Both are as important as the other and we will not compromise on either. It is important to consider all elements, the baby’s comfort, how the fabric feels, the fit of the clothes and the overall look of the garment.
Are any of your designs influenced by the men/women’s wear market?
Absolutely. Mums and Dads love to dress their children in clothing that is similar to what they would wear themselves. Inspiration for our Limited Edition ranges in particular comes from trends in the men’s and women’s wear market.
How do you choose your range names for each season and to what extent do you create a back-story?
All our collections have a story and journey. When we get together to brainstorm the trends we come up with key words/ideas that fit within that story and the range names flows organically.
We have a very creative team that think about the smallest of details; I think this imaginative process comes across in the garments especially in the graphics.
What do you feel makes Mamas & Papas baby clothing designs unique?
The attention to detail and the fact we’re not afraid to try something new, particularly on our Limited Edition range. We have beautiful quality fabrics and the overall look of the garments cannot be matched by any other retailer.
Do you ‘revisit’ previous collections before starting a new, or are you keen to achieve something entirely different every time?
As a designer you’re always looking for something new and are always keen to keep one step ahead of the competition. We do realise the importance of analysing best sellers and understanding what our customer wants and needs.
What are your plans for 2012?
Our fashion collections maintains a strong handwriting with a melting pot of colours and key details. For 2012 we have more of the same great designs.
We are keen to keep our signature range Welcome to the World looking fresh and constantly different from our competitors and we’ve introduced a new range called White with Brights in autumn, which we are very excited about and we’ll continue to develop this.