This position serves as a key team leader and an active participant in making strategic decisions affecting long-term growth and profitability of the women’s footwear business segment. Additionally, the Design Director will oversee the design and development processes of women’s footwear and leather goods categories in accordance with current business needs and future strategic direction.
- Collaborate with the VP of Design and Development to formulate women’s strategic and creative direction.
- Plan and deliver seasonal product launches while meeting specified quality, performance, cost, and margin criteria within budget and timeline parameters.
- Drive a performance oriented culture and fuel a team passion for creating innovative, high quality footwear and accessories.
- Motivate, mentor, and supervise design and development team to create compelling and trend appropriate product introductions on a seasonal basis.
- Head and direct creative team providing key ideas, methodology, and brand positioning.
- Establish artistic strategy, budgets, and schedules for key projects.
- Manage all design stages to ensure timely delivery of projects and departmental handoffs.
- Lead women’s product development processes from initial design concept to fully commercialized product execution.
- Create and maintain the product design/development lifecycle calendar, adhering to key deliverable dates for cross-functional departments.
- Formulate key partnerships with wholesale and retail merchant teams to ensure unity and alignment of seasonal collections.
- Build and maintain strategic relationships with marketing team to drive brand messaging and aesthetic positioning.
- Coordinate with sourcing/supply chain to evaluate manufacturing partners and build strategic global alliances.
- Bachelor’s degree in related design field of study.
- 10+ years relevant experience in women’s fashion footwear design and development.
- Demonstrated experience managing the full product development lifecycle, including product briefing, conceptual crafting, patent assessment, product line development, costing, prototyping, specification development and overseas manufacturing.
- Complete working knowledge of all leather good manufacturing techniques and expertise necessary to oversee and direct all design and development processes.
- Highly creative with a passion for fashion design and keen understanding of style, color, and advanced concepts.
- Proven ability to analyze market positioning and implement current fashion trends into commercial designs.
- Direct a creative product team, combining process management with the nurturing of a creative environment that encourages new ideas and innovation.
- Ability to construct, articulate, and implement strategic and tactical development plans.
- Hands-on approach to defining objectives and producing deliverables in a fast-paced environment.
- Excellent communication and organization skills with the ability to adapt quickly and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
- Strong blend of analytical, decision-making, and creative problem solving skills.
- Keen understanding of the nature and objectives of building and developing strong relationships with domestic clients and international manufacturing partners.
- Domestic and international travel required.