To celebrate ZALORA’s 4th birthday we take you behind the scenes of the design department at ZALORA HQ. We follow a handful of the most creative people behind our in-house regional private label team to find out what a day in the life of a ZALORA designer and buyer is really like. Along the way you’ll meet a team of our raddest designers that live & breathe making the hottest styles inspired by both runway and street-style trends, and the buyers who love making this happen for you! All this will of course be accompanied by the burning questions we’ve always wanted to ask….
PENNY YIP, Head Of Footwear and Creative Direction
Where did you study at and what did you major in?
I studied in Monash University in Australia and majored in Industrial Design.
What was your first job like?
It was in a small town in the middle of nowhere in China called Zhangmutou as an Assistant Footwear Designer.
What is your current favourite shoe that you’ve designed?
The Zalora T-strap Heel Sandals are my favourite because of the simplicity of them, they can be worn to work with jeans or on the weekend with a midi dress, I have them in several colour.
What’s the best-selling footwear style on ZALORA?
At the moment, the Zalora Strappy Grecian-look Sandals are selling like hot cakes everywhere! The editor of our ZALORA Magazine has a few pairs which she lives in!
NUR CAHAYA (CHY), Senior Accessories Designer, Women’s and Men’s bags
Who is your favourite bag designer?
Katie Hillier is my definition of #designergoals. I am at awe at any designer that has the magic touch of creating IT bags after IT bags like Katie has. On a non-designer topic, I never underestimate the Chinese factories as they have an incredible knack for creating ‘beautiful accidental mistakes’ that are sometimes so wrong they look so good.
Does that mean you prefer designing women’s bags over men’s?
Funnily enough I prefer the challenge in designing men’s bags because of the simplicity & in-depth analysis which must go into each bag. For men, function generally overrules the fancy. Materials can get technical like coating for waterproofing, sometimes a tiny earphones outlet, sandwich-mesh fabric for sweat-resistant ventilation on the backpack makes the difference. Or sometimes no details at all keeps them pleased. This subtlety is sometimes the hardest to project.
Have you always had a passion for accessories?
I studied fashion in a local art school, afterwards garnering on-the-job experiences through factories & trade fairs. In between, I’ve attended summer courses in London’s Prescott & Mackay for deeper knowledge of handbag constructions. Now I’m at ZALORA I see every trip to China as an enriching way to continually self-learn the latest techniques out there.
Would you say the bag is your favourite accessory?
(Laughs) Yes, designer or not. An eco tote is the must-have bag everyone should really own though — we must start to cut down on plastic bags.
ZACHARY ANG, Regional Senior Buyer
What do you buy?
I buy Men’s Apparel, Men’s Bags & Accessories, and Women’s Bags & Accessories for ZALORA and 24:01.
How did you get into the industry?
I studied Fashion Design and started as a womenswear designer, then slowly switched to buying whilst working in one of the department stores.
What is the most successful piece you’ve bought?
The men’s watch I bought for ZALORA contributed to 55% of the total sales for men’s accessories in 2015, it totalled to just over 55,000 units.
Zachary top 3 watches:
Wow that is impressive! What is your most loved item in your wardrobe?
My winter jackets, because when I’m getting them out of my wardrobe it means I’m off on holiday!
EDWARD CHAN, Print Designer
What does your job involve?
Several elements, to begin with I have to do research and trend analysis on the themes we are focusing on for that season. I then contribute towards the print direction and execution of the prints whether it’s for our monthly themes or the more major focuses such as Chinese New Year and Christmas. Finally I make sure the colour accuracy and print quality is up to scratch before it gets sent off to the factories.
Does that mean you have to be computer savvy?
Yes, I guess so. My job requires me to be efficiently well-versed with digital art-making — that and being able to sit still working at my desktop all day!
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
All over really but the runway shows, WGSN, tumblr accounts and pinterest are my main source of inspiration.
What’s your favourite / most successful print you’ve created?
The Meadow Floral Print as it has so much versatility and commercial potential; we managed to adapt the same print across different styles and markets, to communicate various moods in different colourways and scales. It was originally driven by the botanical illustrations of the macro print trends inspired by the illustrated quality and feminine pastel hues.
GRACIA CHRISTABELLA, Assistant Designer, Womenswear
What is your favourite part of your job?
I enjoy being able to create what I envision and seeing it come to life. Many times when I see something I like in a store, there is always a detail or something about it that I wish i could change — in my job I am able to do that.
Which designer do you admire the most and why?
Christobal Balenciaga. For me, he’s a legend in the fashion industry. He created new, fashionable silhouettes for women which were always very innovative when it came to using new fabrics. He had this ability to create something that made a woman look flattering in a unique way. You can still see a lot of recent designers being inspired by his work.
How long does it take to get a design from paper to product?
A product needs to go through a few processes before you see it ZALORA. From design stage to quality control etc, usually it takes around 4–5 months till we can see it online.
What is the one piece of clothing you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?
A bomber jacket. It can instantly elevate any look and adds an edge to even the simplest of outfits. If you pick one in a lightweight material, it becomes an ideal layering option for our hotter climate.
It’s ZALORA’s birthday month and we want you to join in the celebratory fun.
Girls, STAND A CHANCE TO WIN 1 YEAR’S WORTH OF AMAZING SHOES when you spend over RM100.
Guys, STAND A CHANCE TO WIN A BRAND NEW WARDROBE when you spend over RM100.