When I arrived at Specialized in 2016, the team was getting ready to start development of its Fall 2018 outerwear collection. Calling it the “DEFLECT” assortment, we were emphasizing the wind and water resistant features of each garment. We were also putting plans in place to work with some of the best fabric manufacturers in the industry: Polartec and Pertex. At the time, the cycling industry was just starting to find ways to partner with these best-in-class mills, and Specialized was pioneering new ways to use their technology in apparel.
As the team’s new Technical Design Manager, it was my key responsibility to create the patterns for every new garment on the line list. And with the designs presented to me, this was no easy task! Unique seam placements and paneling on each jacket and vest created challenges for me. At the same time, I relished in the difficulty and was determined to figure out how to make each pattern fit and function properly.
This was really my first big test at the company, to prove that I knew what I was doing when it came to pattern engineering. If I created the initial patterns and the first samples came back looking terrible on our models, then I was immediately going to lose clout and credibility. Luckily, our first prototypes arrived and looked good. They were definitely not perfect, and needed a little tweaking, but it was a solid start. This was then when I really got the opportunity to shine. From the beginnings of my own patterns, I was then able to display my fitting and pattern revision skills throughout a number of fit sessions. Building trust with my team at this time in my career was unbelievably rewarding and exciting. I felt like I had found a company that I could call home for many years to come.
After our first round of revisions for the Deflect Collection, second protos arrived with vast improvements. I could not have been more pleased with the results, and those pieces are some of the highlights from my time at Specialized. I still see cyclists around town wearing those lightweight, soft, yet durable pieces when the sky is a little gray or dreary. And whenever I get on my own bike to head out on a chilly ride, those are the pieces I reach for as well. The high-end fabrics and features, paired with the precise fit that we created together made for some staples that I know have been loved by riders across the world.
As consumers got their hands on these pieces, we also started to see a good number of reviews come out! Here are a couple that I keep in my portfolio:
Bicycling Magazine Best Hi-Viz Vest 2020!!