September 3, 2015

It’s officially September, and that means it’s time to whip out those boots, jackets and coats in preparation for the months to come. In the spirit of the changing season, we went behind the scenes with Penfield to get the latest on their Autumn/Winter 15 collection. We talk all things fashionable and functional, 40 years of history and coffee-fuelled late nights.

UO: What is the inspiration behind this collection?

The Penfield AW15 collection is inspired by the brand’s 40 years of history in making functional yet fashionable outerwear and clothing. We have revisited and updated classic and current styles with a seasonal colour palette of both autumnal and highlight shades, along with seasonal prints used across the collection.

UO: Which is your favorite piece in the collection?

I think my favorite piece would have to be the Chinook Packable Down Jacket, which is extremely light weight, but super warm at the same time. It’s the ultimate layer piece, looks great with any outfit and packs away into a little travel pillow.

UO: Which piece would you say is an important staple item for your wardrobe?

The Hoosac Parka is a staple for me (and the brand). I can honestly say it’s the best piece of outerwear I own. It will keep you super warm in the harshest of conditions and looks great both on the city streets and on the mountain trail.

UO: Can you walk us through the design process?

We are lucky to have an extensive archive of products from our 40 year history. We refer to this resource on a daily basis in the design process to ensure we maintain the Penfield DNA. At the same time we travel the world to source seasonal fabrics for the whole collection, so we know exactly what we are working with from the first day of design. First we work with our important repeat staple styles to implement new colour and details, then we move forward to new styles for the season…Once we have decided on our direction we pull the collection together with our fabric and colour stories. And this is where the collection comes to life.

UO: Where do you seek inspiration?

Our DNA is classic outerwear so we always start at this point and the inspiration filters down from there. Our vintage archive is full of ideas and details that like to revisit, but I think a lot of the new inspiration comes from people I see out and about on my travels and seeing how they put outfits together in their own unique way.

Which is your favorite season to dress for?

It has to be winter as it’s the best time for layering garments. I like the fact that you can wear a nice shell jacket with a lightweight down layer and a colorful base and create a lot of different looks (yet be functional at the same time).

UO: What have been the biggest challenges in your career to date?

I have been very lucky in my career to have been able to work with fantastic people who have made the day-to-day challenges easy to overcome. I would say the biggest challenge, but also one of the most fun things I have done, was to build the Penfield Spring/Summer collection to the point that it is now such an important part of our business.

UO: What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Take nothing for granted and don’t leave anything to chance. But most of all, work hard and stay one step ahead.

UO: What is the best and worst thing about your job?

The best thing is when you are presenting a collection and you see people’s reactions for the first time. And then seeing your product on people out and about — it doesn’t get much better than that! The worst part is the amount of coffee and late nights it takes to get that feeling!

UO: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?

Work hard. This business is not 9-5 and if you’re not prepared to go above and beyond this, then it’s probably not for you. Understand the history and heritage of design. You can’t move forward if you don’t know what has come before.

And finally…

If I wasn’t a designer I would be… a Skateboarder
If I could be anywhere in the world right now I would be… On a beach with my family
I’m currently listening to… Pink Floyd
My wardrobe essential is… a good pair of sneakers
My favourite time of year is… Summer
If I was a colour I would be… Yellow
My favourite way to relax is… having a good coffee somewhere I can watch the world go by.