Head of Design
Sahara is a family-run business that creates collections for the free-spirited, independent woman. We are seeking an inspiring Head of Design to lead our Design Department and take the brand forward, expanding its product offer and drive expansion. The role is Full Time Monday to Friday and is based at our Primrose Hill offices in London NW1.
The role of Head of Design is an all-encompassing one; it is a pivotal creative leadership role, which is vital to building and maintaining the Design Department, driving creativity and talent and ensuring that Sahara’s product is not only true to itself but also innovative, appealing to our current customer demographic and beyond. The Head of Design will work very closely with our Founder and Creative Director and will be responsible for translating and extending Sahara’s vision, ensuring the Design Department runs efficiently and that critical path deadlines are met.
Sahara is a unique business, and it often takes a year or two to fully understand the DNA of the brand. As such the first six months of the Head of Design role is likely to be focussed on learning about what makes Sahara, Sahara. It’s vital that the Head of Design quickly understands the look and feel of the Sahara brand, including becoming familiar with its extensive history and ethos.
Below is a list of core responsibilities, however the nature of the role means that the list is not exhaustive:
- Head up the day-to-day function and organisation of the Design Department.
- Assist in communicating the Founder’s vision for the Sahara brand, ensuring one cohesive design voice.
- Under the guidance of the founder, lead on the design direction and function of the brand, ensuring Sahara is creating the right product for its customer, with quality, innovation and creativity being at the core of all decisions.
- Ensure that Sahara’s DNA is reflected in the creation of every product in respect of its shape, fabric, and colour palette.
- Conceptualise and execute seasonal mood boards with Design Team and Creative Director.
- Visit relevant fabric/trims tradeshows in the UK and overseas to source and develop new cloths and trims for each season.
- Manage & provide guidance for Sahara’s design team, ensuring that the creation of each collection is relevant, creative, and commercial. Assess each delivery wave’s fabric needs and ensure that colours maintain flow and ensure the balance of product and shape in accordance with the season.
- Brief the Design Team on the success and failures of previous and current collections to ensure the relevance and potential commerciality of future designs.
- Regularly review and analyse what makes a Sahara’s ‘best seller’, likewise, understand why a product might be underperforming.
- Drive newness in the brand by working with the Founder to widen Sahara’s category offers.
- Ensure that the design and production teams are working in the most effective way to achieve critical path deadlines, by holding regular team meetings and managing the critical path of the Design Department.
- Ensure that pricing is at the forefront of decision making, particularly when working with new or experimental techniques.
- Assess team performance and ensure the right talent is in the right place across the Department.
- Line manage Designers and the Department Assistants, including conducting performance reviews and updating JDs with the HR Manager where needed.
- With the Production Manager, ensure that Sahara is producing product in the right factories, always with a focus on EU and UK especially, adhering to Sahara’s stance on supporting industry as close to home as possible to reduce carbon footprint. Assist in the sourcing of new suppliers where needed to add new skill sets to Sahara’s manufacturing portfolio.
- Work closely with the Production and Retail Merchandising Teams to ensure that Sahara achieves the keen margins while upholding exceptional standards & quality.
- Ensure that Sahara's price points are right for the market and the brand, widen the offer to increase sales where possible to build the Sahara brand.
- Hold regular one-to-one meetings with key staff members in the D&P department and report any issues or comments to the directors.
- Be a key voice and assist on the think tank of building Sahara’s retail and general brand portfolio with Directors and HQ managers.
- Assist with retail and online selection of labels if relevant with the CD, Merch, Buying and Online teams. Ensure you possess extensive knowledge of business performance, both within retail and online to ensure that you are informed enough to guide the product in the right future direction
- Liaise fully with the Marketing and online teams to ensure that the product is being portrayed in its best light.
- Communicate closely with Sahara’s directors to ensure that Sahara’s product is consistently cohesive and on brand, and reflective of the vision intended by the Founder/Creative Director.
You must possess:
- A wide experience in womenswear design
- Strong product development experience
- Exceptional technical knowledge
- Exceptional communication skills and enjoy teamwork
- A keen eye for trends and industry standards with a deep interest in global fashion
- Demonstrable knowledge of fabric dying techniques
- Knowledge of standard female body measures, such as optimum sleeve length, cuff opening etc.
- Knowledge of garment construction
- The ability to be adaptable
- The ability to multitask and work well under pressure to ensure deadlines are met
- a competitive salary
- a generous holiday allowances
- flexible start and finish times in a friendly office
- discretionary annual bonus, where company performance allows
- access to exclusive perks and discounts via Perkbox
Sahara is passionate about working with great people & building inspirational, creative teams. We know how important it is to enjoy your working day, we have beautiful offices with an abundance of natural light. We promote a friendly, non-corporate environment at our HQ; we are passionate and hard-working and enjoy socialising both in and out of the office.
We are the Women of Sahara. We are unconstrained. Our adventurous spirit leads us beyond the High Street to destinations lesser known. For clothes that mean more. That add to the story of our lives. We are unique. Try and pin us down, it doesn’t work. Label us and it won’t stick. We believe that demographics divide, age is just a state of mind and body type is what each one of us sees in the mirror. We are leaders. Visionaries in our own right. Creative, passionate - and only ever underestimated once.