What is a PLM System? Part 1

“Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is both a company strategy and a specialised information system (IS). It unites various data and processes related to the product, allowing the many types of professionals involved to share this information within collaborative environments.” (Segonds et al., 2014).

This project utilises FlexPLM to introduce industry software early in our course to benefit us in our future careers. We will look at sourcing, collating, managing and communicating the data in new product development. Throughout this project we will be collaborating with the second years. From the first year it was another girl, Gracie and myself, and from the second year there were four students: Jonny, Saskya, Reshaun and Leah.

We have been set a task to develop a range proposal for a chosen brand for the launch date of A/W 17. Just before Christmas, we were set the task to propose our range idea in which we will utilise the PLM system. We were asked to present our sources of inspiration, comp shop research and analysis, our proposed ranged and our sourcing strategy. This was marked as a formative assessment. Later on in the project, we will be constructing a document for the individual Tech Pack that we have developed together with reflective learning logs of our experience. This will be in the form of a booklet and will be assessed in a summative form.

We initially chose our brand that we will create a A/W 17 range for; we chose La Redoute. For the first few weeks of the project we were getting used to navigating FlexPLM and inputting various information into the system that will help create our Tech Pack later on in the project. In preparation for our team presentation, the first years decided on the colour and material theme for our range. Looking at WGSN, we came across the trend ‘Elemental’ for A/W 16/17. The collection of colours really focused on the earthy, neutral shades- varying from pale pastel shades to heavier, more atmospheric metallics.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 11.47.36

This is the colour mood board that was created by Gracie. We captured the mood and colours that we were trying to achieve perfectly.

Next we chose the materials that we thought complimented the elemental colour scheme. For this exercise we had to think about the A/W season and the trends that might be seen in A/W 16/17. We wanted to see some knit, lightweight cottons, leather and lots of texture and interesting surface design.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 11.47.55

This is the material mood board also created by Gracie. The combination of the textured material alongside the plain yet earthy colours created the perfect feel for our A/W 16/17 range.

Next we came up with a concept. We had decided on our colour and material theme but now we needed to link it in with our brand and their audience. We came up with the colour and material inspiration first as we thought it would be easier if we had an initial idea of the feel for the intended season. We sat down with the second years and we all shared our thoughts. La Redoute are a French brand who primarily cater for the 35-55 year old woman. They are accessible in store, online and also have a catalogue order system. They cater for all needs, as they stock everything from clothing to household decor. They also feature collaborations with designers such as French Connection and Chrisitina Phung. So we found it hard to find a gap in the market. After much deliberation, we decided to collaborate with English designer, Phoebe English, to appeal to a younger demographic and further extend their market base.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 12.48.40

This is a slide from our presentation which captures Phoebe English’s general taste: boxy, naturally flowing, sheer and boyfriend style.

Now we had our concept in place, we could insert flats into the FlexPLM system that will make up our range. As La Redoute frequently use guest brands to collaborate with, we noticed they only created a limited amount of pieces to make up the collection. We wanted to create a balanced collection and make it interchangeable for the 25-35 year old working woman.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 11.47.20

Using tactile and interesting materials, we will make the collection feminine, simplistic and sophisticated. We will take La Redoute’s signature garments and give them a twist to target a new, younger demographic.

In our presentation, we conducted a comp shop and also looked at sourcing but didn’t go into great detail. This is something we will look at closer later on in the project. Our formative feedback from our team presentation was that we needed to make a collection that had more interchangeable pieces.

References:

Segonds, F., Mantelet, F., Maranzana, N. and Gaillard, S. (2014) ‘Early stages of apparel design: How to define collaborative needs for PLM and fashion?’, International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, 7(2), pp. 105–114. doi: 10.1080/17543266.2014.893591.

WGSN> Colour> Colour Direction Women A/W 16/17 – Elemental. (Date retrieved: 24/01/2016).

WGSN> Design Library> CADs/Flats> Refine Search> Category> Materials & Textiles. (Date retrieved: 24/01/2016).

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