Talking Trends with Koskia Bello

Talking Trends with Koskia Bello

When people think of fashion designers, one might think of an eccentric genius commandeering an entire fashion house, cigarette in hand. Yet that is just a tiny slice of the picture and leaves out legions of incredibly talented fashion designers designing collections for brands we all love, own, and wear. Koskia Bello is one such person. As Design Director of Retail Markets for golf brand Greg Norman, she is in charge of design and development for their menswear lines. She and her team put out two collections of golf-inspired sportswear a year. An essential part of her job is staying up to date on trends in fashion and the culture as a whole. We recently sat down to talk trends with Koskia and find out her process in taking trends into her work in men’s sportswear.  

When beginning a new collection, Koskia begins color trend research with presentations from established trend services. This information gives her an idea of what is happening in color across all industries. Next, she filters that information down into fashion, then athleticwear, then men’s and women’s sportswear.

From there, she looks to her company sales history. It’s vital during the design process to be aware of trends. Yet it is also important to stay true to the people she’s designing for, Greg Norman consumers. For example, her research may show pink is the season’s hot color, but that version of the color may not sell to their customer base. Is there a pink that would work for her customers? She aims to translate this trend into something salable for them.

With research in hand, the design team gets to work.

When creating colorlines for collections, she and her designers start with their core colors: navy, black and white. Next, they look to their past sales to help guide their color choices. What were their recent bestsellers? What are consistently good sellers over time? Lastly, they look toward their trend research to round out their color choices.

Koskia also considers geography. Customers who wear Greg Norman in Florida have different lifestyles and needs than those in Vermont. She needs her collections to have options to serve everyone. Ultimately, her goal is to create a garment that is on-trend while reaching her customers where they are. When she executes this process well, she knows she’ll have a best-selling garment.

Thinking about how this particular moment in time is impacting trends, Koskia Bello doesn’t see the COVID-19 pandemic as having a significant impact on people’s color choices. However, she does see it influencing people’s product choices. People are going back to the office and socializing again. And as Koskia puts it, “when people are ready to party, they’re ready to look and feel good.” Fashion is how people do that.

People want to wear something that makes them “feel good, confident, and pretty.” After this past year, she sees people ready for something besides leggings. However, they are not willing to go back to feeling uncomfortable. As they start to shop, people are looking for clothes that are comfortable to wear, easy to care for, and easy to launder.

What does Koskia find exciting about designing for menswear?

For Koskia, designing golf-inspired sportswear has many limitations, and that’s not a bad thing! She sees the limitations as a creative challenge. The garments at Greg Norman don’t actually have much variety year to year in terms of shape. So she needs to design them in a way that inspires a customer to buy something new. In her world, that means thinking about the base fabrics she uses, making slight changes in construction, and using on-trend colors and prints. In fact, prints are a lot of fun in golf shirts. Since they are not formal garments, prints can be fun and engineered. For example, rather than an allover repeating print, she may strategically place a single motif for a striking impact or work with a stripe in a surprising way.

At the end of the design process, there is always the less glamourous side of fashion design, the testing.

All the choices she and her team make in the design and development process must stand up to rigorous tests. Everything must be colorfast, lightfast, and not pill or deteriorate. Even the buttons go through impact testing. Her challenge is figuring out how to create the best possible product at a good value and see happy customers wearing her items. “The ultimate gratification is seeing someone wearing my shirt on the train.”

Thanks so much to Koskia Bello for taking the time to talk trends with us!

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