VF Corporation: Sr. Director, Apparel Innovation Concepts
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This role reports to the VP of Global Innovation and will be based in our new Denver CO innovation studio. The role will lead a team of apparel designers, developers, pattern and prototyping engineers, to bring consumer-delighting apparel concepts to apparel teams at VF Brands i.e. The North Face, Timberland, Vans etc.
You will partner closely with the Innovation leads of each VF Brand to shape strategy, scope, timelines and teams for prioritized apparel innovation projects on the Brand innovation roadmap. You will work with the apparel design and product teams at VF Brands and with supply chain teams in Asia, to ensure effective commercialization of these apparel innovation projects.
You will partner with consumer insights, materials innovation, sport performance lab, advanced manufacturing and other capabilities in VFs global innovation network, to create inspiring apparel concepts. You will constantly seek out and leverage external collaborators and strategic partners to multiply your teams ability and speed in ideation, concept design, consumer / market validation, athlete testing and story-telling.
Relentless curiosity and a passion to create products which exceed consumer expectations and perform beyond imagination defines this role. From the onset of an idea or a dream, through to the final product, the apparel innovation concepts team will push new levels of form, fit, and performance. The ability to challenge and re-think the future of footwear is critical.
You will ensure your teams execution of all product details, beyond form, fit, and performance, including construction, color, style, detail and cost/value requirements. Personally, you will ensure compelling story telling of all product concepts identifying and addressing unmet needs of the target consumers, articulating how a product concept can create new or boost existing platforms, franchises or categories for a Brand and helping inline designers visualize how they can design seasonal product lines and product families leveraging the concept.
Leadership and Influence: Innovation Culture
We are building a high energy, learn fast, non-hierarchical innovation culture. Collaboration, curiosity, tinkering, passion, rapid prototyping, and boldness with humility are traits we are actively seeking and encouraging. Being part of our innovation culture is about leading by influence, so you will need to be a master at story-telling to bring creative vision to life.
Seeking a future vision requires an actively curious, questioning, and connected mind. You are confident and well entrenched in consumer and market trends, and follow design leaders, and industry innovation. You are equally comfortable with the ambiguity of complex discovery and the pressure of executing a perfect design on time. You live to translate technical problems into simple, elegant, profitable products.
Being a successful leader in this creative culture, juxtaposed between innovation team and design associates within VF Brands will need specific traits. We are looking for five essential qualities in this role:
Obsessed with delighting consumers & athletes - Translates consumer insight around usability, utility & desirability into product vision. Always looking outward to understand consumers what different kinds of people need, what inspires them, what problems they have, how they will engage with the product, how they will evaluate our offering etc. Sees all the richness and heterogeneity of the consumer landscape. Gets beyond research doesnt see consumer insight as a study or a project phase, but as a constant element of his or her lifes work. Always connecting the world of consumers to the world of technology, product design and production the specific possibilities for how a need gets met through physical product and the larger experience.
Insatiable curiosity and passion for building product About why things appeal, how they function, how they are put together, how they may be made better etc. Constantly pulls upward, toward new levels of functionality, performance, elegance, beauty. Always tinkering, and always searching for new ways to solve a problem.
Orchestrates creativity as a team process. Not just a creative, but someone who brings out the creative best of others. Able to share, explain and build ideas, stories and design concepts with both internal teams and external partners. Doesnt hoard ideas. Able to listen to foreign ideas and make conceptual contributions without rigid viewpoints.
Always ships. Works to the finish line, and balances process and improvisation to get there.Driven by the goal, not just the fascination of the innovation challenge.Understands and honors constraints, after making sure that they truly are constraints. Gets it done.
Creative problem-solving and spatial reasoning: Loves to resolve paradoxes and tradeoffs through design. Ability to rigorously analyze existing systems, patterns of use, and product solutions to identify, distill, deconstruct and organize problems that really matter. Ingenuity to come up with new design approaches and creative use of materials, color, construction, style & details to resolve paradoxes.
As a critical part of the GIC team, you are transparent & trusting. You use your creative talent to inspire and motivate others and you openly engage in productive, dialog toward collective, brilliant solutions. To succeed this role you will demonstrate behaviors which promotes shared vision and collective team energy; act with integrity, seek diversity of thought, share wins & failures equally.
A successful candidate must be a good communicator, possess an ability to proactively influence multi-disciplinary teams, and has solid understanding of the product creation process.
As part of the innovation team, you will also be expected to actively participate in innovation projects, planning, and team environment. Each team member is expected to demonstrate strong, committed partnership in supporting and engaging with the team and be a champion for an optimal work ethos & environment.
Experience & Qualifications:
10+ years experience in apparel product design or innovation (experience in technical product, especially outerwear is valued), 4 years college or equivalent design school or industry experience.
Experience in creating product creative visions and new product briefs.
Awareness of consumer trends, competition and business processes.
Awareness of global product development, materials, fit & construction.
Knowledge of color, textures, human factors and form related to designing excellent products
Understanding of global manufacturing, and pricing process.
Strong, confident, presenter. Advanced skills in creating presentations.
Engaged collaborator, teammate and influencer.
Experience working with multi-disciplined teams; global experience preferred.