Apparel Giant Kellwood Revamps Design Department At Fashion Business Inc.
Fashion Article Posted April 28, 2008 
   

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For California-based apparel giant Kellwood, maintaining its globally competitive position is no easy feat.  Significant challenges come from rising labor costs, constantly monitoring supply chain efficiency and staying a step ahead of its megabrand rivals Liz Claiborne, Polo Ralph Lauren and Jones Apparel.

To revamp productivity within its highly labor intensive design department, Design Process Manager Mary Pintarelli enrolled the company's creative team of 39 employees in 24 hours of Adobe illustrator training at Fashion Business Inc. Her goal was to improve company efficiency by having all designers certified in the same version of the program.  Many of the designers were creating apparel sketches by hand, but now all design concepts will be submitted in Illustrator.

Multimedia software instructor Chris Schiotis customized the curriculum especially for Kellwood to include specific apparel design exercises from their workplace.  "There's a critical need for this type of training in the apparel industry," says Schiotis. "At certain training facilities there has been a high rate of attrition because instructors teach this software from a graphic-design perspective, rather than using material that is specific to the fashion industry.

By aligning Kellwood's creative team with industry best practices and globally competitive design skills, Pintarelli hopes to speed new ideas to market and capture fast moving industry trends that will keep Kellwood's brands on top.

The Kellwood Company (NYSE: KWD) has an office in City of Industry, California and generates nearly 60% of its sales from women's wear, including its Koret and Sag Harbor lines.  Kellwood brands include Baby Phat, My Michelle, Phat Farm and Sierra Designs. The apparel, footwear and accessories manufacturer sells its products through department stores, mass retailers, specialty boutiques and catalogs. Kellwood has gained a foothold in new niches and grown through strategic acquisitions including Vince, Group B Clothing, Romance du Jour, Phat Fashions, Hollywould and licenses with David Meister, XOXO, Eddie Bauer and Gerber Childrenswear,.

Fashion Business Inc. 501(c )(3) provides the fashion industry with the resources and training to turn businesses into a profitable reality. 
FBI Resource Centers, along with its website and business partners, offer business education, technical training, sourcing, networking, marketing and consulting services. These services and tools promote the success of FBI members and ensure the future vibrancy of America's fashion industry.  FBI has nurtured key West Coast brands from startup phase to global distribution including American Apparel, C&C California, Frankie B. and many others.

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