“Outdoor apparel used to be pretty utilitarian and mostly for men, with a few unisex garments tossed into the mix. Now it’s about 50-50 men’s and women’s. While our clothes still need to be functional, these days they have to be fashionable, too. That’s where the fun comes in,” remarks Woody Blackford, Director of Outerwear Design and Development at Sierra Designs Canada.
Design, for the Sierra team, has become a complex process in which clear communication at every stage is critical to success. CorelDRAW has helped Blackford and his colleagues achieve that clarity in a number of surprisingly powerful ways.
“I used CorelDRAW from the first release,” says Blackford, “designing T-shirts back in university. Even then, the preview capability was crucial: you could show people what you were doing and make changes in real time.”
When Blackford joined Sierra Designs in 1993, the company was already using CorelDRAW. Over the years, as its design requirements evolved, CorelDRAW evolved along with them. The renderings that Blackford and his team create in CorelDRAW are so detailed and of such high quality that they actually reduce the number of iterations required to create a finished garment.
At the same time – according to Sierra Designs’ Vice President of Operations, Dennis Koop – the ability to build comprehensive spec packages is invaluable when working with manufacturers on the other side of the world.
“It cuts through the language barrier,” says Koop, “by allowing you to communicate in both pictures and words. It accelerates your process; you can be clearer in your instructions. There’s less need to go back and forth with questions. When you’re separated by a12-hour time difference, that’s extremely helpful.”
Koop estimates that, in the prototyping process alone, CorelDRAW cuts the time it takes to progress from one iteration to the next by 20-25%.