Olsen would not be Olsen if it were not for the 600 dynamic personalities on the team, each breathing life into the company and infusing each day they spend here with passion. In this series, ‘Inside Olsen,’ we’ll introduce you to some of the people who make Olsen incredible, along with some insights into their day-to-day work life.

Fashion meets each of us every morning when we reach into our wardrobes. It makes everyday life more colourful, diverse and full of inspiration. It never gets boring. We owe this all to the designers who, thanks to their creativity and passion, are constantly creating new and fresh styles for us to wear. Zhale is one of them, and she has been designing pieces at Olsen for over 10 years.

“The best thing about my job? When I meet someone on the street wearing a piece I designed. It feels great!”

Of course, due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the associated travel restrictions, many things have changed. Usually, Zhale visits numerous trade fairs and travels to different fashion capitals around the world to find fresh inspiration. But, for now, city trips have been exchanged for extensive internet research. Zhale currently follows various platforms to stay up-to-date on the latest fashion trends and gather ideas for new styles.

In regular Olsen meetings, the whole design team comes together to share their ideas. They plan collection after collection by defining key colours and creating mood boards. This is how the ideas and inspirations are visualized before coming to life.

“It is super important to me to sit down with my team as often as possible. These creative brainstorming sessions usually produce the best ideas!”

But Zhale does not only work closely with her design colleagues, she also regularly consults the product managers and colleagues from the clothing technology department. They provide her with specific guidelines for each collection, which she then follows in her design work. For example, the product management team analyzes the sales figures of previous styles. This provides Zhale with a better understanding of the pieces that were most popular so she can incorporate certain elements into future designs.

Drawing is probably the most important step in a designer’s work. In today’s digital age, this is no longer done with a pen and paper, but on a computer using special design programs. Drawing is not only associated with high levels of creativity, but also with great concentration. It’s important that Zhale draws every detail and seam correctly so that the garment produced by the supplier is exactly how she envisions it.

Using her sketches, the supplier creates prototypes to send to Zhale. They then go for an inspection together with the garment technicians, asking questions like, “Is this seam in the right place? What does the cut-out look like? Do the pockets sit at the correct height?”

“The style should look perfect. Every detail counts!”

After receiving feedback from Zhale, the supplier goes to production and sends the finished samples to the Hamburg office. During the internal presentation of the collection, the entire Olsen team gathers together (with the current pandemic, this is an online meeting, of course) and the new styles are presented before they go on sale. Meanwhile, Zhale’s work is far from over – she’s already gathering ideas and inspiration for the next collection!

“I always try to put myself in the customer’s shoes and imagine what else she might like. If I can always surprise her positively with my styles, I have achieved my goal!”