We’d like to present you to Julia Braczyk, Designer and Fashion Design Consultant based in Brooklyn, New York City. She has designed accessories for some of the leading US and Global fashion companies as well as local, independent labels.
She lives for creativity and is deeply passionate about design. She hopes to one day have her own small line of ethically produced goods.Her work and her views on the future of the fashion world got us interested in having a chat with her:
SO CATCHY!: Tell us about your role as and Accessories Design Consultant.
JULIA BRACZYK: I work with clients to design and develop seasonal lines of accessories (bags, belts, jewelry) that fit the brand’s aesthetic, are desirable to customers, drive sales, and hit target costs. I specialize in American Sportswear, but the clients I’ve worked with are often global brands with stores all over the world and a major presence on the web.
When I begin a design project with a new client, I generally start with an in-depth discussion with the client to outline the project and align on concepts and ideas for the season. I like to understand their point of view, so that I can best satisfy their needs. My next step is to do extensive research into brand history and the market for which the product will be produced. I also spend time further researching the concepts discussed in my meetings with the client, and keep up to date on current trends in material, color, style, etc. Material research and sourcing is also crucial early in the design process, because it informs the work, and lead times for producing sample materials can be very long – it’s good to get a head start.
Before I start sketching, I’ll often create ‘concept boards’ (usually a mix of inspiration images, material, color, and technique swatches, etc..) to share with the clients and refer to as I sketch. For me, the sketching / design process is very fluid and often changes depending on the project. I am usually sketching starting from the first meeting with the client, but the sketching truly begins in earnest when I am satisfied with my initial research and ideas are starting to gel.
When I have some ideas and sketches I’m happy with and think meet the clients needs, I create a presentation and meet with them again. Often after the presentation, I adjust the designs based on client notes, and begin creating design packages for the sample maker to create prototype samples. It’s important to understand the manufacturing process and consider cost to create successful samples.
Depending on the timeline, I might visit the sample maker or factories while the samples are in process in order to assure that the design intent is maintained. When samples are ready, they are reviewed by myself and the client. Styles are discussed, modified, dropped, added, etc. Sometimes there is another round of samples to get the product perfect before the final ‘salesman samples’ – these samples are shown to buyers and must be 100% representative of what the product will look like in bulk production. My goal is always to work with the client to create beautiful samples that excite buyers.
SC!: How do you think the fashion world is evolving?
JB: To me, one of the biggest evolutions in ‘mass fashion’ has been the gradual shift in the past 30 or so years from mostly localized sourcing and manufacturing to globalized production methods. This shift has allowed ‘fast fashion’ companies to dominate the market and drastically change the way business is done in the fashion industry. I think ‘high fashion’ is also effected, but on a smaller scale. It too is functionally and aesthetically influenced and altered by globalization and the rapidly evolving trends of global markets. Personally, I hope to see a shift back towards more localized and environmentally sustainable manufacturing.
SC!: Which emerging designers do you like?
JB: Right now some interesting ‘new’ designers that come to mind are: Christophe Lemaire, JW Anderson, and Yang Li. There are many, many others that I admire as well – too many to list here. I’m eager to see what new talent the Spring 14 shows bring come September!
SC!:What are the 5 best websites to check out fashion?
JB: There are tons of great style and trend blogs and web-based services out there. I generally look at everything and anything that interests me from WGSN to Style.com to my favorite designers blogs, to my friends Pinterests, etc. I just found this really useful website called ‘Maker’s Row‘ that works to connect designers with local sourcing and manufacturing facilities in the US.
SC!: What is your dream job? Where would you like to be in 10 years?
JB: I would like to be designing awesome, high quality, eco-friendly product with like-minded collaborators.
Thanks for letting us in on the life of a Design Consultant.
You can find out more about Julia here on LinkedIn.
Images courtesy of juliabraczyk.com
Layout by Michael Padilla