Can you tell our Central subscribers a little bit about yourself?
Lois Woodcock (Lo), Head of Womenswear Design. I’m 24, but I’ve started telling people I’m 23 because I don’t want to be 25 yet. I’m Sagittarius (which I think means nothing, but I see people say it on social media).
I grew up in Birmingham (Coleshill). My mom, dad, boyfriend (at the time), nan, best friend and school were all on one block; I was about a 1 minute walk from all of them – easy life!
I studied at Essex University. When picking universities, I wanted to be as far from Birmingham as possible. Essex is FAR. I studied Fashion Design and graduated with a 1st (all down to my mom basically dragging me through my dissertation and proofreading at 3am on deadline day).
Where did you first hear about Gymshark?
Social media, like the rest of the world! However, at the time it was only menswear, so I didn’t follow their IG until a few months later when they first started talking about womenswear.
How long have you been working here and how did you first land the job?
I’ve been here for 2yrs and 4 months-ish, but it feels like I’ve been here for a week.
I came out of University really cocky thinking I’d land a job straight away…
5 months later, still no job and really pissing my dad off asking for money all the time. I was just starting to consider going to work in Canada or start a masters when I first saw the Gymshark job vacancy online.
At first, it sounded too good to be true.
GRADUATE SPORTS APPAREL DESIGNER – MIDLANDS
I’d always been drawn to sportswear/sports luxe fashion. My FMP (final major project) was themed around making extreme sports fashion, fashionable. So, this role seemed the dream.
I applied and didn’t hear anything back, and the job was taking down from the site. END OF STORY.
But then, it came back up on the same site a few weeks later. I tried to apply again - it wouldn’t let me because I already had. So, I applied on a different email! I got the interview, begged (literally) in the first interview, did a project for my second interview (I still have that project) and then...I got it!
FUN FACT: The role was only open for one graduate designer, but they couldn’t decide between me and Jack (Senior Menswear Designer) so in the end we both got it!
What are some of your earliest memories working with the team?
Me and Jack stayed at work until 11pm one night to finish our first season. We ordered food in and watched the football (not my choice) on the big screen in the boardroom. Jack had two pizzas and only ate half of one.
What does a day in the life of Lois look like at GSHQ? It’s easy to imagine designers buried under piles of sketches and fabrics.
Okay, so every day working at Gymshark is different. I know that’s a cliché thing to say but it’s so true. I can break it down for you in three typical days in the life, because there are three main stages in the Design department.
Pre-Season: So this is where me and the team are getting ready for the new season. Finding inspiration is a typical day in the life, visiting different cities, seeing what’s working and what’s not working, looking for new fabrics and new techniques.
Going to Trend talks to find out what they are predicting for upcoming seasons, going to fashion week to see what high end fashion labels are doing. Basically, getting inspired for the next season!
Mid-Season: This is where I am now. So, this is full on design mode. A typical design day I come in check my emails and check the team are okay with their design briefs for the day. Then it's design all day - these are my favourite days! I usually have a few meetings in the day with the materials development team, picking fabrics and trims for designs, or we might have fit sessions.
This is where we look at the prototypes and make changes on fit and design, also working with the development team. Usually mid-season is the busiest I get. Currently I’m working on SS18 styles, AW18 styles and designing SS19 styles, so it’s a lot to remember and keep up with!
End of Season: This is where all the hard work comes together and it starts slow down again. A typical day is making sure my team are all okay with specs (specification sheets that tell the factory what we want per design), having style sign-offs with the Buying team and Ben.
Style sign-offs are when we (designers) show what we have been working on, we show drawings, fabrics and graphics, and all being well, they get approved and signed off, meaning we can spec them up and send them over to the development team.
Another typical day could be choosing colourways for each style, we pick the colour palette at the beginning of the season and as we go along, we allocate each design with colours that we feel work best.
How does your role compare to others’ in your team? Would you say you all bring something different to the table?
I used to say, ‘I only need a few clones of myself and I’ll be fine’. However, since my little team has grown with Isla, Rochelle, Lucie and Yasmina, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Having different brains in the team is necessary. We all come up with different things daily in Design.
Something I would never think of, Isla, Rochelle, Lucie and Yasmina have thought of and vice versa. We also bring ideas out of each other - in a room with some music and us all bouncing ideas around, that’s when the best ideas come out!
What was the first thing you ever designed for Gymshark?
It was actually the hologram authentic sticker that’s on every single Gymshark item now.
Product-wise, I think it was the original Ribbon crop top.
What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of Gymshark Women?
Every season I say, ‘it’s the best season yet’ and I really believe that too. AW18 is a huge step up for Gymshark Women and I can’t wait for the world to see it. But SS19 is going to be even better...again.
To be more specific, there is something Seamless coming soon and I. Can. Not. Wait.
Finally, give us a fun fact about your time at Gymshark. Something that maybe not everybody knows…
When I first started, me and Jack were designing Menswear and Womenswear together. The men’s Carbon Hoodie was one of mine – google it! It’s quite feminine! I also designed the Reactive Joggers.
Lois Woodcock (@helloitsloiss).