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March 02, 2017
This week Creative Director Sherene answered several questions about the New Collection in the lead up to it’s appearance at international trade shows Premiere Classe in Paris and Source British in Los Angeles.
What was the main source of inspiration behind the New Collection?
“I have designed the collection using London’s historic architecture and rich multiculturalism as a source of inspiration. Having travelled and experienced different cultures has helped to create a collection that has a universal appeal. The addition of the unisex backpack was intended to ensure the collection would work not only across international markets but also to have a gender-neutral appeal".
Did designing the previous collections help or change your thought process?
“Absolutely. When creating something for the first time, I learn a lot from the process and this helps to improve the next creation. This includes thinking about how people use the style of the handbag and what people want from a handbag. That is why being in a role that is focused on creativity is so fulfilling as I love learning. Being able to work with new trends, materials, colours, techniques and inspirations from collection to collection is a real joy”.
How did you balance customer feedback with your own ideas about what you wanted the collection to be?
“Customer feedback is essential because it helps realise areas for improvement and have an understanding of the things we are doing right. This knowledge then needs to be put in the backdrop of having a clear idea of what the brand is about and what the finished product should be – it’s a fine balance. Receiving feedback puts us at an advantage. It gives us more confidence with knowing how receptive people will be to the new collection as ultimately our job is to create something new and interesting”.
What played a greater role in designing the collection – creativity or commercial awareness?
“Definitely both and that is where I think as a fashion brand we either succeed or we don’t. The way that customers respond to previous collections becomes engrained in the thought process and this will affect the design. The important thing is to juggle that with staying creative. Financially, I have a rough idea of what the final price range of a handbag will be but never limit the design to a price at the start of the process as this can compromise the creativity and quality of the end product.
The brand has grown in various ways recently including the number of resources around you – did this help at all in regards to the New Collection?
“Yes because it allows me to give more focus to the necessary aspects of my work. A bigger team has meant more input into many areas of the business including both the creative and commercial aspects of the collection. I believe that the latest collection has seen growth in different areas partly as a result of having those resources around me”
What did you find most challenging when designing the New Collection?
“The most challenging thing is questioning myself and my thought process – does what I’m designing meet with our brand values and is it unique enough? There is naturally a feeling of pressure when designing a new collection. I have to think about whether it ticks all the boxes concerning our existing customers and then balancing that with the need to grow including internationally. I am a perfectionist, which means that I am my greatest critic and ultimately this is my livelihood.
This collection has been designed with an international market in mind, as the goal has always been to have a multinational brand. We are exhibiting at Source British and Premiere Classe this month, trade shows based in Los Angeles and Paris respectively. So consideration has to be given to how a style and colour suit the lifestyle of someone living in America, Paris, Italy or Japan for example. I think about different cultures and how that affects the clothes that people wear. To me it is the ultimate reality of understanding what people want and designing a collection that can fulfil this”
What has been the impact of the New Collection so far? How have people responded?
The collection was showcased as part of a London Fashion Week collaboration. I think that people in the industry are realising we are serious about what we’re doing and our approach seems to be working. All aspects of the brand and the collection are evolving and we are starting to make tracks into areas that haven’t been open to us in the past. Our existing customer base has been excited to see the new bags and we’ve received positive comments about them. We’re selling more and more so we must be doing something right!
What’s next for SHERENE MELINDA? Do you have any more plans for another collection in the near future?
Yes we are currently working on the next collection to be released at the end of this year – very exciting but I shall say no more!
The New Collection from SHERENE MELINDA is now available to buy online. We are currently showcasing the collection at Premiere Classe at Jardin des Tuileres, Paris from 2-5 March and then at Source British, the California Market Centre, Los Angeles from 13-14 March. To stay up-to-date with all the latest news from SHERENE MELINDA follow us on social media using the links below.
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