For our first installment of Behind the Seams, we met with Design Director Adrienne Manno to get a peek into how she concepts and creates styles for A Pea in the Pod.
A Pea in the Pod: Since this series is called the Behind the Seams, let’s start at the beginning. What questions do you ask yourself before you begin the design process?
Adrienne: As the Design Director of the A Pea in the Pod brand, runway shows are very influential to my design process. I reference multiple seasons’ shows from a variety of designers, as well as use Pinterest and Vogue.com as the main tools to create the concepts each season.
A Pea in the Pod: Working in maternity, are there certain design elements that are priorities for you that would not be the case for non-maternity?
Adrienne: The difference lies in the additional step of engineering the garment in such a way to flatter the pregnant body. Experience has taught me to continuously try new silhouettes, as many fashion trends are adaptable. On the other hand, there are some trends that just won’t translate, so it’s important to know when to move on. The bottom line is make sure the customer feels beautiful and confident.
A Pea in the Pod: Everyone is loving the LED Patchwork Maternity Cardigan this fall. Can you speak a bit to how the idea for this piece came to be? Which came first: the style (i.e. the sweater) or the design?
Adrienne: The idea started with wanting to do interesting cable layouts in a layering piece. We then decided to apply this trend into an updated cocoon body that would work well on pregnant curves.
A Pea in the Pod: Where did you draw your early inspiration for this sweater in particular?
Adrienne: We have traditionally had a lot of success with a cocoon shape as a layering piece, as it curves over the belly and is quite flattering. For this season, we updated the silhouette by designing sections of cable knit yarn into a tonal patchwork layout.
A Pea in the Pod: How did you source and choose materials?
Adrienne: The fabric/yarn drastically affects the drape, hand feel, and the overall appearance of the garment, so choosing the correct material is of the utmost importance. The designers partner with the fabric team to source a requested material. From there, we see options of fabrics/yarn swatches within a set of standards. Once selected, seeing the fabric tailored into a garment is the deciding factor to determine if it will be successful, and look as the designer intended.
A Pea in the Pod: What influenced you in terms of the actual colors and design, as well as knit/texture?
Adrienne: These days the fashion industry is rapidly changing, with no exact seasonal guidelines to follow, and the rules are constantly being rewritten. As designers, we are always shopping to see what the market is showing, from the high-end to commercial brands and stores at the mall level.
A Pea in the Pod: How do you communicate your ideas to the production team?
Adrienne: Communication with the production team starts by first introducing them to the important trends, fabrics, silhouettes and details of the new season. Designers then partner with the production team, as well as technical team and merchants on all steps, until the finished garment is delivered to the client.
A Pea in the Pod: Were there any challenges you faced with this particular piece?
Adrienne: We did face a bit of a challenge achieving the tonal patchwork on the indigo colorway.
A Pea in the Pod: How does this piece fit into the collection? Where do you envision this piece fitting into someone’s maternity wardrobe?
Adrienne: This fall collection is called English Rose and was inspired by the nostalgic image of classic American sportswear. Traditional cable knit sweaters are updated in new and modern shapes. In this collection, we have both pullovers and cardigans with special cable details. This cozy cable cocoon sweater would be a core piece to any maternity wardrobe. Easily layered over a basic tank or tee and worn with denim, this piece could also be thrown over a bodycon knit dress for an alternative weekend look.