What’s it like working in Apparel and Gear Design?

Rosanna Haider, Jordan Bautista, and Simon Leclercq  | Hands & Minds

KISKA’s Apparel and Gear Design team unleash the combined power of strategy and creatitivy to create functional apparel that looks good – and works better.

What do you do at KISKA?

ROSANNA: I’m a Strategic Product Manager for Apparel and Gear. My team and I work on portfolio, segment and brand design strategies, where we analyse the market for trends, benchmarks, and customers. We create briefings with this information for the design team, which support the creative direction and design process – all while fulfilling user needs, client expectations, and market trends.

JORDAN: As Senior Apparel Designer, I lead the creative direction of sportswear and functional apparel for brands in sporting goods, outerwear, motorsports, and cycling. Our integrated approach means I also work with a diverse team of brand experts and product strategists.

SIMON: I’m a Sportswear Designer and my job is to create garments and gear that look as good as they function. I’m involved in the entire process. From ideation and sketching, all the way to the final production stages. Working with some of KISKA’s coolest clients, I aim to bring out the best of their brand in each design. 

Describe your day-to-day work.

JORDAN: My day starts by asking my smart home speaker the weather conditions in Fahrenheit. I’m American, and even after years of living in Europe, I’ve yet to integrate myself with the metric system. Hah!

Then I get ready, head to KISKA, and greet the friendly faces I see from the moment I step into the studio all the way to my desk. Once there, I run through my tasks for the day, align with my team, and switch on my business brain and “game face” to prepare for whatever the day holds.  

SIMON: For me, first things first: double ristretto in the morning!

The days vary after that. One day, I’ll work on different creative phases for different clients. On another, I’ll focus entirely on the ideation of a collection. I appreciate wearing so many hats. It hones my skills. 

ROSANNA: On the Strategic Product Management side, we have multiple projects running simultaneously and each client comes to us with a different scenario and distinct needs. To work out an individual solution, we’ll start with a brief to get a thorough understanding of their situation. It could be a strategic system that creates long-term clarity, a sharpened positioning, or future planning. Whatever the solution is, to help them in the long run it needs to fit their brand and be straightforward to apply. We get there with a variety of tasks, but most often we work with researchers and designers to gather and analyse insights, brainstorm and workshop.

JORDAN: If the weather is good, the team will run outside to admire the mountain views and sunny skies. Maybe plan for an after-work get-together of sports or drinks. 

How would you describe your team dynamic and how you work with KISKA clients?

SIMON: Working with the team is exciting and humbling. We bring different specialisations and points of view, so we can support one another. I learn from them every day. 

JORDAN: We’re a relaxed group and have fun together, but when it’s business time, we’re super focused. It’s a privilege to be surrounded by talented people who thrive on the problem-solving part of the creative process.

With clients, I like to merge our chill and fun attitude with my results-oriented side. I know I’ve had a great meeting when we start on a serious note and agenda, but end with smiles and laughter (and project output satisfaction). You can’t beat that uplifted energy. It makes everyone excited to meet again.

ROSANNA: We work very transparently with clients and positive relationships often come quite naturally. There are always challenges, but they’re easier to tackle as a team.  

What’s the best thing about your job? And, the most challenging?

SIMON: The best – and most challenging – thing is working on many kinds of products and brands. That’s what you’re looking for at an agency.

ROSANNA: I love the collaborative work. Every project has a different combination of people, so it never gets boring.

The challenging part of the job is what makes it so interesting: the unique needs of each brand. There’s no such thing as “one logic” that applies to multiple clients.

JORDAN: Someone once told me that a successful creative lead is equal parts visionary and process enthusiast. I agree, because I love being involved in the entire creative process, and a key part of my job is having insight into everyone’s strengths and skills to merge them into a successful project output. Creating a flow system around 12 unique people is exciting, so it’s easy to embrace the associated challenges. It keeps things fresh and makes me a better teammate and leader. 

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