Michael Miille began his career at PVH in 2015 as the Senior Director of Dress Shirt Design – Classic Brands. In July 2019, he took on a new position as VP of Design at IZOD. We interviewed Michael to hear how he is adapting to his new role and what he has in store for the coming season. Here’s what he had to say below:
Describe your role within the PVH organization.
I make sure that the talented people on my team have a clear picture and vision of what Stefan, President, PVH (CEO as of February 1), has set out. Alongside [our] creative director, Brian Mims I am looking to slightly increase the bandwidth of the brand in terms of its aesthetic, to keep the core consumers that we know and love and gain new ones, and connect to consumers in all regions of the country. Previously, I was on the DFG (Dress Furnishings Group) team and designed for many of PVH’s brands – Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD and Arrow.
You recently changed positions from within the PVH organization. How has it been adapting to your new role, especially during a global pandemic?
The adaption to sportswear wasn’t hard – I was lucky to have worked on casual, sporty menswear my entire career. It was an easy transition between shifting roles and responsibilities and it was exciting to have a clear creative direction from Stefan and David Sirkin, Group President, Heritage Brands. In terms of making a change during the pandemic, it is tricky to design products when you can’t be in person in the same room with other designers, touching fabrics and choosing colors. However, my team is nimble and we came up with some creative solutions.
What product categories are you most focused on in the coming seasons?
Knit categories – knit bottoms and knit tops. We have seen a huge shift in the way men dress, due to the way our culture has changed during the pandemic. I believe that this will be a lasting change. People want quality, functionality, innovation, and comfort fabrics. Their clothing should have stretch and breathable qualities.
What product are you most excited about?
The return to athleisure and athletic inspired silhouettes. IZOD is a fantastic middle ground – we create great athleisure wear, hoodies, cool graphics and prints, while staying easy, comfortable and casual. This aesthetic will continue into the Fall 2021 season in a big way.
How have you evolved IZOD’s design strategy to meet our consumer’s needs in this time of considerable change?
By utilizing our Consumer Insights team to the fullest. We are seeing dramatic shifts in consumer behavior, in how they shop, where they shop, and what they buy. Consumer Insights gives us a finger on the pulse of what the consumer needs. Because of this, we are trying to shift to 3D modeling to allow us to quickly respond to these Consumer Insight learnings. We are continually connected to data, which directly impacts everything we do.
How has technology impacted your design process?
It has completely revolutionized it. Using 3D software to make a prototype entirely virtually, utilizing technological improvements for color standardization, and even using it to communicate and connect with our team. It has become an integral part of how we function.
How are you incorporating sustainable materials and practices into the design of your product?
We are incorporating sustainable materials everywhere we can. Consumer Insight data shows us that integrating these materials into the design of our products is important to consumers – so we need to make sure we answer their call. We use recyclable or sustainably sourced materials – such as cotton, viscose, and polyester. We ensure sustainable practices around their creations. By digitizing some of the sample process with 3D renderings, we are using less samples, eliminating waste, and saving time.
Do you think you will maintain this work model post COVID-19?
When it comes to design, nothing can replace being in a room with everyone at the same time. Being able to touch fabric and trims, see the true color of materials, talk to one another, inspire one another. But, it is also great to be and work in your own space. In the future, perhaps we will work in a hybrid model – teams will spend some time together and time apart. I am curious to see what other design teams do.
What are you most looking forward to this coming year?
Travel! For work and for pleasure.