Ever wondered what goes into designing your weather proof gear? With so many considerations it’s quite a process!
Firstly there’s function; because it needs to keep you dry and comfortable in a range of weather conditions. Secondly there’s fit, as no one wants to wear a garment that doesn’t sit comfortably in all the right places and last but not least, aesthetics. Because let’s face it… who wants to wear something that doesn’t look amazing and make them feel that way too?!
So exactly how does the Rainbird team tackle these challenges? Here is a behind the scenes look at the design process for the Rainbird range.
The journey always begins with research.
We look at trends around Australia and across the globe to find the latest styles, colours, prints and performance textiles. Our passion for function leads us to the latest advances in fabric technology ensuring you keep dry as well as micro-climate controlled, which is needed to either warm you up when it’s cold – or keep you dry when the weather warms up.
Obsessed with colour and unique textiles, we gather inspiration for our quirky prints and colours from the creative culture we see and experience in our favourite city (Melbourne of course!). We then couple this with global art and design trends we see emerging. Sometimes we’ll design prints in-house, other times we’ll work with local creatives to bring together our research and to finalise Rainbird specific prints/colours. Either way, all prints you see from Rainbird are 100% exclusive.
Another important aspect of research is customer feedback; because after all it’s you guys that we strive to protect from the elements. Our customers adventure test our products first hand and their opinions and feedback are vital to our design process. As well as our customers, all of the Rainbird team are avid wearers of our product. We live and breath the brand which includes sharing our experiences of wearing it.
Now we step in to our absolute favourite part of the process – design! Each season our design team introduces new key styles as well as existing style updates to ensure the range is at the forefront of the outdoor and workwear markets. Beginning the design process with a traditional pencil and sketch pad, initial designs are quickly drawn by hand to create a free flow of ideas. This allows the design team to envisage everything from new silhouettes and pocket details to hood designs and colour palettes. The team then collaborates to sort through these ideas and refine the best concepts, which are then professionally sketched and detailed with digital programs.
One of the most important aspects of designing our functional garments is the fabric selection. Our design team aims for a balance of tactility, waterproofing and breathability to ensure comfort across the entire range. We’ve come a long way since the traditional raincoat that looked, felt and sounded like a plastic bag! Nowadays we’re lucky enough to work closely with specialised fabric mills who have amazing technology at their disposal.
We join forces to create textiles specifically woven for our Rainbird ranges. Focusing on soft, urban fabric surfaces that are backed with lightweight, waterproof membranes you don’t even know are beneath the surface! Our Rainbird prints are also managed and produced by these textile mills, we do this by transforming the original artworks into what we call a ‘repeat print’ – meaning we can continuously print the artwork onto however many metres of fabric that we require.
Nothing brings good mood to a wet weather wardrobe better than colour. Which is why a great deal of attention is put into creating a palette of uplifting hues each season. Using colour chips (similar to ones that you find at the local paint shop) the design team piece together the best colours that work harmoniously across the range.
The next stage of the design process is called ‘sampling’, this is where the finished design sketch, fabric selection, prints and colour palette come together and are sent to the factory and the first prototype called a ‘sample’ is made. This sample is then sent back to the design team and the garment is fitted and tested on a model (as well as around the office!). This is one of the most important stages as it allows the design team to ensure that each component of the jacket functions correctly. For example, we check that each pocket is waterproof and allows enough space for your goodies, that the hood provides adequate coverage to keep the rain off your face and that there is enough flexibility of movement whilst wearing the garment. If any detail within the garment is not up to the high quality standards that Rainbird are known for, the sample is sent back to the factory with notes on where to make changes and the process is repeated again until we can 100% back the product quality, performance and design.
Whilst all this is going on, our fabrics are also subjected to stringent tests, undertaken by independent labs according to Australian and New Zealand Textile Standards. By passing these tests, we can ensure that our fabrics will withstand the greatest outdoor adventures. That’s why we’re always transparent when you see our breathability and waterproof ratings too – we invest in only the best!
Once the sample is finalised, it is ready to be produced in larger quantities, which will ultimately be sold into stores and online. The sample is then handed over to our production team who organise the process with our suppliers. Working closely with the factories, our team travel extensively to oversee the production process. This is how we can ensure that our high-quality standards, as well as ethical and sustainability requirements are met. Implementing strict quality control processes from day one also help us minimise faults and reduce waste (we’re not fast fashion, we make products that last and won’t need replacing year in and year out).
We inspect goods at each stage of the manufacturing process (rather than just at the end) and because of this we can maintain a fault rate of less than 1% across all product and back every product with our famous 3 Year Warranty.
Proudly entering our 35th year of Rainbird – we’re still bringing our Australians some of the best technical lifestyle gear and performance workwear around. Now the question is, which jacket is the one for you?
Hi there! Our Rainbird team is taking a break over the festive period, this sadly means no orders will be despatched from 20/12/18 – 01/01/19. You can still however place your order making the most of our free express postage during this time. We will then Express Post your order out to you on Wed 02/01/19 or Thurs 03/01/19 at no extra charge. Apologies for the inconvenience, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!