Oversee the business side of clothing design and production.
What does an Apparel Product Developer do?
Apparel product developers ensure the profitability and quality of mass produced fashion items. This means you oversee the decisions where design intersects with marketing and cash dollars.
Apparel product developers’ general tasks include deciding what material the designers will work with making sure that finished designs meet the technical requirements to undergo production, and overseeing aesthetic coherency between all designs in a line and the brand image they represent.
As an apparel product developer, you have your fingers in all sorts of pies, and your voice has a good deal of sway in determining the direction of a line. You work with fashion designers to set the direction along which the season’s line will be developed (e.g. the market says floral with a focus on the pink/green combination is in this spring), draw up preliminary pricing, and choose what fabrics and trim you will work with. Throughout the design process you keep the lines of communication open between the designers and fashion merchandisers, making sure the clothes are salable, appealing, and cost-efficient.
For you fashion is less of an art than a business. You understand cuts and colors in line with market shares and current trends. To do this job, then, you need a wide range of design and quantitative skills. You must keep up with current trends to figure out what direction your designs need to go, understand the merchandising and business sides of the equation, read technical pattern designs, and match colors and trims together in an appealing manner.