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From Sketch to Store: Inside Gap and BR’s winter collections

DesignBrooke Ginnard, Gap Inc. bloggerComment

The Gap women's team works on a piece for Holiday 2016.

Each piece of clothing has a story. This embellished sweater, that pant with the flattering fit, the perfect Holiday outfit — every item begins as an idea, a sketch, a rough pattern.

Once design teams work with their sourcing partners and vendors to translate these ideas into prototypes for the season, these early clothing samples are workshopped by a mix of design, merchandising, fit and sourcing teams.

Through a series of sample reviews and on-model fitting sessions, the clothing is guided through multiple iterations of seams, trims, fits and even fabrics before the product's transformation is complete, and finally adopted into the brand's line.

The Gap team refines the fit of a men's overcoat for Holiday 2016.

Banana Republic design, merchandising and fit teams work with vendors and fabric sourcing partners on-site to translate their designs into clothing customers will love.

How a garment looks in a sketch, and even how it appears in a flat sample is entirely transformed once placed on a human body. Designers then become aware of constricting collars, questionable lengths, and all of those important details that can make or break a design. Even the colors of a knit blend can read differently once stretched around a human form.

Behind every decision is the customer: How and when she or he will wear each item — with sparkle for a Holiday gala? Ice skating with friends? Cozy couch time? — is just as important as the refined, polished details making each garment personal.

As each team pores over the details of every piece, each fitting session becomes a conduit for teams to build off of their initial designs — editing and re-imagining the pieces with wearability and versatility in mind, while refining all of those little details that make a garment special.

The Banana Republic women's team adjusts the collar of a piece for Holiday 2016.

Gap Inc. teams frequently travel to Hong Kong so that they can closely collaborate with sourcing teams and vendors, who work to source the materials and construct the clothing that the Gap and BR teams design, fit, buy, produce and ultimately sell. Each vendor is vetted by Gap Inc. to ensure their factories implement wastewater management programs and comply with Gap Inc.'s other strict sustainability standards.

Take a look behind the scenes with Gap and Banana Republic, and see teams from each brand working to craft their Holiday 2016 collections — in stores now. Shop the finished versions at Gap and Banana Republic..

Banana Republic color swatches for men's chinos.

Gap's design and merchandising teams pore over the details of a garment for Holiday.

Teams work on a men's Gap sweater.

Teams work on a men's Gap sweater.

Gap design and merchandising teams work to ensure the flow of a collar is just right for the customer.

A cross-functional team from BR discusses men's chinos for Holiday 2016.

Gap designers pin color and print swatches.

BR design and merchandising teams work together to ensure each piece of clothing is designed with the customer in mind.

The Gap women's team adjusts the fit of a sweater, on-model.