Main Content

Behind the Scenes

Something we don’t talk about very much here on the BP. blog (though we should) is our talented BP. fashion designers. That’s right—we have our very own in-house design team, and we thought it would be cool for you to meet one of them and learn how each season’s new styles go from concept to your closet.

Tracy Griffith has been an in-house fashion designer at Nordstrom for eight years, and has spent the last two of those years designing clothes for you, our BP. friends. We asked her to describe the process of creating a garment, and she said it all starts with an inspiration board that she and her team put together with some help from our Trend Forecasting department. Once she’s got a solid feel for the trend, she starts drawing!

blog_InspirationDrawing

After the drawing has been approved, it’s time to start looking for the perfect fabric. The design team receives fabric samples from all over the world, in every color and texture you can imagine. Tracy sorts through all the samples until she finds the perfect one.

blog_FabricSwatch

 

Fabric in hand, it’s time to take her drawing from a dream on paper to the reality of the dressmaker’s dummy. Now she creates her initial sample garment.

blog_TracyDummy

That sample garment then goes to market with all the other clothes the designers have dreamed up for the coming season. Buyers from the BP. department will come to the showroom and place their orders for the items they want to see in the stores and online. Once they’ve placed their orders, the patterns get sent to the garment factory for a full production run.

hero

Tracy was nice enough to answer a few questions for us about how she found her career and what it takes to be a working fashion designer:

BP.: How did you get to be a fashion designer? 

TG: I decided at 13 that I wanted to be a fashion designer, I deviated from this plan a couple times along the way, I majored in fashion merchandising for a minute, and also worked as a costume designer for a year but ultimately ended up where I was meant to be, as a fashion designer.  A lot of my friends who are designers have similar stories.  It’s usually something you know you want do from a young age and then it takes a lot of work and dedication but you just work hard and make it happen.

BP.: What’s your favorite part about your job?

TG: My favorite part of the job is that each season there is something new!  I love how fashion is ever-changing, new trends, silhouettes, fabrics, even the change from designing Spring seasons to Fall seasons is an exciting one. It never gets old, it’s always fresh.

BP.: How long does it take between when you design something and when it hits the stores?

TG: It typically takes anywhere from 6 to 9 months.  There are many aspects; designing, sampling, meeting with the buyers, fit, production, and shipping. Each part takes time.

BP.: How do you know what’s going to be in style by the time your designs hit the stores?

TG: There is a lot of research and forecasting involved.  There is a whole part of the fashion industry that is dedicated to trend forecasting.  Nordstrom has their own team and they present to my team and then my Design Director drills it down further for the Juniors Market and presents to me and then I research from there.  I look at what is trending on the runway, in vintage, on the streets, and on blogs. Even though runway shows are more high-level and maybe it doesn’t seem like they directly apply to the juniors market, they do. It is important to look at Runway because it influences what’s trending next across the industry.

BP.: Who are your main inspirations or role models and why?

TG: There are a lot of designers I admire and feel inspired by. Like fashion, the list changes constantly.  My favorite designer right now is Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent. He has really updated the house to look super cool, grunge, and rocker, but he always references something from the original YSL looks in his collections to tie it to the house’s origins.  I’m a huge fan and can’t wait to see more!

My mom is my role model.  She is a very strong and successful business woman and has always empowered me to be and do whatever I want in life. That kind of support and example has been invaluable.

BP.: What’s your number one wardrobe essential right now?

TG: I am loving the combination of crop tops with high waisted bottoms right now.  It feels new, and so right.  A little gratuitous self promotion of a product I designed: this crop tank is great for wearing under cardies and button-downs, with a pair of overalls, or on its own when it’s warm out, I love it!

BP.: If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring fashion designers, what would it be?

TG: Believe in yourself.  Being a designer requires putting yourself out there—your ideas, your creativity, it’s what it’s all about.  Don’t be afraid, go for it! If something you’ve designed doesn’t work out, don’t take it personally or get discouraged, just move on to your next great idea.

February 28, 2013

Fashion Daze

Guess what I did last weekend. I went on location with the BP. team to the photo shoot for their April lookbook. I also went to a prom 2013 photo shoot. Whoa—thank you, Nordstrom!

I met the coolest people ever and got to see them do everything they do best—from hair and makeup to nails, wardrobe, photography, art direction, production and so much more. They showed me not only how much fun fashion can be but also how much hard work it takes. Now I know for sure that all I want to do is fashion. (What a revelation, right?)

I can’t wait to see the finished product and buy the fabulous clothes when they’re available (that’s right, April in BP. is going to be fantastic). Best weekend ever? I think yes. Here’s how it all went down:

5:30am - Rise and shine, then choose an amazing outfit for an amazing day.

Hot-cocoa

7:05am – Stop for a cinnamon roll. (You caught me, I’m a foodie.) Then head to the desert.
8:20am – Arrive on set. Blues music was playing in the motor home—very fitting for the location.

Bp-april-lookbook-shoot

8:30am – Check out hair and makeup then nails, which were almost done when I got there.

Bp-hair-makeup-and-nails

8:45am – Cool prop car arrives.

Scout-car-bp-nordstom

11:35am – Location change.
1:25pm – Lunch.
2:30pm – Location change.
3:30pm – Arrive deep in the desert.
4:00pm – Make it to the BP. Nordstrom Facebook page

.  Bp-nordstrom-facebook-page

4:15pm – Ride around in the cool prop car.
5:30pm – Head back home.

Sunset-desert

My reaction to the whole experience was pretty comparable to the little green men in Toy Story when they see the Claw—total awe. I’m sure you’ll react the same way when you see this lookbook!

XOXO,
Aya

P.S. Check out #nordstrombp and #nordstromprom on Instagram to see pictures that everyone took at the shoots.

 

We take a lot of incredible pictures at our photo shoots, but sadly we can’t publish them all to the Nordstrom.com site. Thank goodness for the blog, right? Check out these yummy, goofy, totally gorgeous outtakes from our fall sweater guide, The Great Escape, Part 2. (Speaking of The Great Escape, Part 2, don’t forget to download the new playlist and watch the second video. Both are waiting for you on the last slide of the slideshow.)

P.S. You might notice the models looking distinctly hot and summery in these outtakes. That’s because we shot the sweater guide in July, on one of the hottest days of the year! Gotta love the fashion calendar. :p

It’s a bittersweet day, as this is my last blog post for BP. It’s been an incredible year, and I have been so fortunate to share it with all of you! I can truly say that blogging for Nordstrom has been one of the best experiences of my life.

198290_10151831341180008_1612139075_n

225161_4648309652678_1047730337_n

I’d just like to recap some of my favorite blog posts in pictures! Here were my looks from 2011-2012:

381329_2772236512022_806078657_n

IMG_5596IMG_5600

IMG_5636217881_4438531528356_1701126505_n

547762_4438497847514_1199967088_n

400474_4600539738460_474817264_n

I would also like to personally thank my family, friends and the whole Nordstrom team for making my dream become a reality! The support you have shown me does not go unappreciated. None of this would have been possible without you.

602974_4264106487839_1127048080_n

247792_4747308327583_12841732_n

401752_2690472439511_1396434545_n

425557_3537803290713_2084043683_n

321274_2758523569207_201810965_n

306553_4844512837635_16759733_n

It’s certainly been a blast!

430344_4528975629402_1869503588_n

548050_4438498567532_892323352_n

577333_4341965634269_1282327395_n

Good luck to Brittany, Samantha and Aya! I can’t wait to read all of your posts!

I am currently working on creating my own blog. For now, check out my tumblr, Ma Belle Blog. You will be able to find my new blog through that once it’s up and running!

For the last time XOXO,

Ashley

Capture1

Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at our Fall Trend Guide photo shoot. We called it “The Great Escape” because we shot all around Washington’s beautiful Vashon Island, working with photographer Tim Barber. An early morning ferry ride, a road trip to an abandoned barn and a rowboat tour of a remote cove provided the perfect backdrops for the latest sweaters, jackets, scarves and other adorable fall styles. Oh, and we did a little skateboarding in our downtime, too!

Check out “The Great Escape” and make sure you don’t miss the video and downloadable playlist at the end.
-xo
BP. Team