Technical Design Students Collaborate With Fabletics On Design Thinking Projects
In the first of two consecutive project-based courses designed to prepare students for the rigor and creative vitality sought by the industry, students in Design Thinking: Research & Ideation (MPDV 4600) participated in a field trip this week to Fabletics where they selected product samples to redesign. Students Aliahmae Alzona, Ariana Barragan, Kiera Berry, Elizabeth Caldwell, Nael Jean-Jacques, Isabelle Leong, Yunzhi Li, Duanhui Ma, Xochil Munoz, Preyotee Raheema, and Elaine Wang have been challenged to use design thinking to research a technical design issue that calls for process or product innovation or improvement.
Headquartered in El Segundo, California, and co-founded in 2013 by actress Kate Hudson, Fabletics is a fashionable, high-performance lifestyle activewear brand that’s part of the TechStyle Fashion Group, formerly JustFab Inc., an online, membership fashion retailer with a portfolio of five direct-to-consumer brands that also includes JustFab, FabKids, ShoeDazzle, and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty.
FIDM Instructor Louise Wallace tasked each student with selecting an existing product in the Fabletics line to use as their baseline product and through a process of human centered discovery, define and interpret a problem, ideate their concept for resolving it, and identify potential risks to implementation before presenting their solution for review and evaluation to peers and industry representatives.
Wallace has asked her students to log their ongoing progress in a digital journal which she then reviews and grades each step of the way. Most of the products students selected focus on performance and inclusivity and include pants, leggings, tops, jackets, tennis, and intimates/lounge.
Fabletics Senior Technical Designer, FIDM Grad, and FIDM Instructor Krista Osborne led the students on a tour of their state-of-the-art facility. The students visited the retail store housed within the building, as well photo studios, fit rooms, Fabletics library, Zen break rooms, conference rooms, and designated loungey meeting spaces.
Earlier this year Grammy Award winning singer Lizzo, who has built her personal brand on loving your body as it is, launched her own brand of shapewear in collaboration with Fabletics, called Yitty.
Next quarter the students will continue their collaboration with Fabletics in the second component, Design Thinking: Implementation (MPDV 2850). In this course, they’ll be challenged to develop a complete business strategy for the product that details specifications, prototypes, experimentation methods, budget, and costs. They’ll describe sourcing strategies including a production timeline and identify potential business partners to support and help launch the new product or process. For the final exam, they’ll present their new concepts to an industry panel for critique and evaluation.