Behind the Seams: Pants

Behind the Seams: Pants

This spring, we’ve seen the resurgence of non-denim pants. Of course we love our favorite American Eagle Outfitters jeans, but we also have been styling pants that match back to the denim fits we love. We’ve also been sporting a new trend – soft pants. We interviewed Design Director Christina Y. to learn more about the newest pant fits and the product design process. Christina and her team – Designer Seon H. and Assistant Designer Nina H. – work hard to bring you the coolest new trends and fits in pants.

What was your inspiration for our Spring 2014 pant assortment?

Our inspiration came from the surf and tropical trend with a hint of grunge/punk.

What are the different types of pant fits our customers can find in our collection?

Our customers can find easy, loose fits (for example, the soft pants), to our sexy fitted pants like the Jegging. While we still focus on our basic fits—the Artist Trouser, the Kick Boot—we are extremely excited about our new Boy Crop (coming soon), which has military details and paint splatters for the fashion girl.

What is the inspiration behind the soft pant trend?

Our inspiration was from surf and skate with a mix of streetwear to keep it easy and casual with a girly touch.

american eagle outfitters spring 2014 behind the seams pants

Some of Christina’s inspiration for our newest soft pants.

What styling tips do you have for soft pants?

You should pair the soft pants with an easy top and sneakers for a casual look or dress them up with a crop top and a pair of booties. (Check out our soft pant styling inspiration!)

Which styles are best for dressing up?

Both our solid and printed soft pants can be dressed up for a night out. Our boy military crop can be dressed up with the prefect pair of heels.

Talk to us about the color ranges available for Spring 2014.

We have a range of wonderful neutrals with pops of neon.

How do our pants fit in with the rest of the Spring 2014 collection?

Our pants create the best foundation for the rest of the Spring 2014 collection. They work perfectly with the different top lengths and shapes. We designed the pants in sync with the tops to create perfect outfits.

What is the design process of a pant from start to finish? How long does it take from concept to being available in stores?

We start with concept from trend research and build with the team to design into different silhouette and details, focusing on color and prints. It takes about 10 months from original concept to being available in stores.

american eagle outfitters spring 2014 behind the seams pants

The beginnings of soft shorts coming later this spring.

Which American Eagle Outfitters pant for Spring 2014 is your absolute favorite?

My absolute favorite has to be the boy military crop with paint splatters.

american eagle outfitters spring 2014 behind the seams pants

Christina testing paint on military pants.

What makes AEO pants awesome, on trend and a great value for Spring 2014?

Our attention to trend, working endlessly to prefect the fabrication, details and mostly fit make AEO pants a great value this spring.

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Merry Aerie Holiday Windows

Merry Aerie Holiday Windows

If you’ve ever been to the mall during the holidays, it’s hard not to notice how retailers turn their windows into magical scenes of holiday spirit. Here at Aerie, the planning starts long before the cold weather hits.

Aerie Holiday Window Story

Our brand marketing & visualizing teams get together to talk Holiday props and window options.

Aerie Holiday Window Story

Different Holiday box options to utilize in our Aerie store windows.

This year, the planning process started in June with a meeting that brought together our brand and visual merchandising teams. Our teams began brainstorming different propping ideas for the store windows and discussed what would be feasible for our store associates to build at each location. Every detail was thought about, down to the size, color and number of boxes and whether we would make them or order them. Deadlines for the details happened way in advance of the season, requiring us to have our items nailed down.

Aerie Holiday Window Story

A member of our brand team stands in for one of our favorite Aerie girls, Nina Agdal.

The team then gathered at the lab stores we have set up at our HQ, which help us visualize how our actual store locations will look. The team began to work through placement options of print marketing, props and physical Aerie product. No question was too big or too small, including discussions on how high the marketing should be and where to position the GWP totes for the window. They also talked through window decal ideas to ensure we were getting our messaging across. It’s always important for us to keep in mind the different store formats and window sizes per location.

Aerie Holiday Window Story

Every detail in the window is considered from the height of the boxes to the placement of product and marketing imagery.

After several rounds of trial and error and getting the windows set up to a point where the team was happy, we walked our leadership team through the displays. This process can have several edits, anywhere from the copy on the marketing to the color of the boxes in the windows. Once everyone was aligned and the windows were signed off, the teams began placing orders for each store in the country. Shipments were sent and the rest was up to our amazing store associates to execute. The final result? Take a look for yourself below!

Aerie Holiday Window Story

The final windows for Aerie Holiday 2013!

Aerie Holiday Window Story

The final windows for Aerie Holiday 2013!

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Behind the Seams: Fleece

Behind the Seams: Fleece

Everyone needs a few key fleece pieces in their closet, whether they’re out for an adventure or just kicking back on the weekend. We spoke with Senior Design Director Jaime K. about the design process of our signature fleece… get ready to gear up for cooler temperatures.

 

american eagle outfitters holiday 2013 behind the seams fleece

Jaime K., Senior Design Director

What are some of the biggest trends in fleece for Holiday 2013?

Fleece is great because it is so so comfortable—but really it’s so much more than that for this holiday season. If you check out the fall runways, almost every big designer was showing cool looks with the sweatshirt as the IT item. This holiday you should really mix it up and know that our fleece assortment can be worn for day and night.

If you want to be cool and casual, we have our amazingly cozy Fair Isle Polar Fleece and our Graphic Resort Fleece to wear on the weekends, hang with friends or warm up when staying inside. You can also dress fleece up! Have you seen our new Cute Animal Sweatshirt? These cuties look great paired with a jegging and heels to head out to a fun holiday party. And don’t forget the match back! For those who aren’t shy, try rocking one of our incredible Real Soft Heritage Fleece with their matching sweatpants. This really gives you a cool sporty look and is also an awesome, easy gift for the holiday season.

 

american eagle outfitters holiday 2013 behind the seams fleece

The fleece design team with an assortment of our holiday fleece.

What is the design process of a fleece from start to finish? How long does it take from concept to being available in store?

It may seem crazy but so much heart and passion goes into creating the perfect fleece collection each holiday season. First and foremost it needs to be super cozy—so Stacy M., our awesome Senior Designer, spends a lot of time developing fabric with innovative washes to give our fleece that authentic vintage feel. Color is the next step. We work with our concept team to create the perfect color palette that has all the optimistic color we know you love, but we balance that with great neutrals that can really be outfitted with almost anything. We can’t forget about the graphics! Adding graphics is the last but most fun and creative part of our process. I work alongside our awesome graphics team to create fun, cool, heritage graphics for the collection.

There is much more to it than that. Creating, designing and producing clothing is a pretty long process. We start working about nine months before each season. It is a huge team effort—many people behind the scenes work very hard to produce the product that the design team envisions. I always think it is cool to know that there are probably at least 30 people who contribute their expertise to make our fleece collection perfect. There are buyers and our production team, technical designers and planners to name a few and they are the best team ever! It never would happen without the team collaboration and we have a lot of fun along the way.

 

american eagle outfitters holiday 2013 behind the seams fleece

Color swatches and examples of the design process.

 

Which fleece for Holiday 2013 is your absolute favorite?

Personally I’ve been pretty into sporting the match back, so I will definitely be buying the bright red Real Soft Heritage Fleece and Real Soft Heritage Sweatpant for myself and my besties this winter. I also LOVE the crew necks in the Real Soft Heritage collection. As my fellow designers know, I mostly wear black, so I will definitely be buying the black crew! I love that it has an edgy black foil graphic on it. It’s easy to dress up with booties and a black leather jacket, perfect for a night out with the girls.

 

american eagle outfitters holiday 2013 behind the seams fleece

Senior designer Stacy showing off Jaime’s favorite fleece for holiday.

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Behind the Seams: Outerwear

Behind the Seams: Outerwear

The most essential piece of clothing you need this winter is a warm coat. Year after year, the American Eagle Outfitters design team brings us some of the coziest coats to leave the winter chill behind. We spoke with Associate Outerwear Design Director, Dennis M. to learn more about the design process behind our awesome jackets.

 

 American Eagle Outfitters Behind the Seams Holiday 2013 Outerwear

Design Director Dennis Messier and Outerwear Designer Alex C. getting an early start on Holiday 2014 Outerwear.

 

What are the different categories of outerwear and what materials are used?

When we talk about outerwear, we’re usually talking about one of four categories:

Puffer: Our heaviest and most warm weather category.

Wool: Still pretty cold-weather focused but has some fashion and lighter weight variations.

Parkas and anoraks: Weights can vary from lightweight cottons with no lining for summer and fall to heavy, filled cotton/nylon blends that offer a little more water resistance and have cold-weather details like quilted fills and furry linings.

Fashion: Defined less by weight or fabrication and more by what feels right in terms of trend and what works with our collection. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule—sometimes we’ll have a fashion puffer that’s not as heavy as our classic puffers.

We’ve also been loving Vegan Leather lately! Outerwear is a really fun category to design in the sense that our jackets are the top layer—or as we call them, outfit completers—for all our looks, and can really make or break an outfit. We love mixing and matching styles within a look – like a sporty puffer jacket over a grunge-inspired look or a motorcycle jacket over a feminine dress.

What are the different types of trim used on our outerwear? Do they serve any technical purpose or are most trend-focused?

We use more trims and components on our jackets than any other category at AEO. We make these things called BOMs (Bills of Material) for our manufacturers to follow and they list out everything that goes into a jacket—fabric, trims, fills, labels, etc. On a knit style like a T-shirt, or even a sweater, it’s basically just fabric and thread, but on something like a puffer jacket, we can have up to three different zippers, four different fill weights, multiple sizes of snaps, linings, faux furs… a lot goes into these jackets!

One of the first things we talk about when starting a new season is our trims. We look at our library of past development, we look out in the market to see if there are any new trends we want to make sure we’re on top of, and then we develop new zippers, snaps and buttons in the right colors and finishes we need for the new season. It can take a long time to get these right. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at—and rejected—some of the zipper colors from our puffers this year. We have to get an early start on development so we can make sure everything is perfect by the time the jackets hit stores.

 

American Eagle Outfitters Behind the Seams Holiday 2013 Outerwear

Dennis and Alex go over this year’s parka and puffer with a fine-toothed comb to decide what they love and what they want to change for next year’s styles.

 

 

What was the inspiration behind the color palettes for Holiday 2013?

We work very closely with our concept and color teams to make sure our palette is perfect. They shop the whole world for new ideas in trend and color—Paris, Tokyo, London, you name it, they’ve been there. Then we all meet and synthesize what they’ve learned in their shopping and travel with what we know about trend and outerwear to develop a palette for jackets that both addresses new fashion colors (like this year’s burgundies and emeralds) as well as core, classic colors, like navy for wool and cream for puffer jackets. We’re not quite so colorful as some of our friends who work in other departments—I’m not saying a hot pink jacket will never happen, but we know that our outerwear is some of the most expensive product in our line and that our girl wants to look fashionable and cool. We also know that she’s probably wearing her jacket day in and day out, so we try to offer a range of colors that are versatile as well as trendy.

How does our outerwear fit in with the rest of the Holiday 2013 collection?

Like I mentioned before, we think of outerwear as our outfit completer. What would a holiday store window look like without some great coats? We make sure we’re offering the cold-weather must haves, like our parkas and puffers, but we make sure they’re cute as well as warm. We also make sure we’ve got great fashion covered. Again, we work very closely with all the design and concept teams to make sure that our jackets will look great over our sweaters, dresses and T-shirts and that we’re not just creating great items, but great looks.

 

American Eagle Outfitters Behind the Seams Holiday 2013 Outerwear

Dennis and Alex considering wool fabric options for Holiday 2014.

 

What is the design process of outerwear from start to finish? How long does it take from concept to being available in stores?

As you can see in the picture above, we’re just starting to develop Holiday 2014, which will be released in stores in October 2014. So it takes about a year, depending on the category we’re talking about. Puffers and parkas are the most important to our line and have the most components and trims, so we start there. Wool also takes a long time— we’re sticklers about our color palette and it’s hard to get wool right. Fashion we save for last, because usually there are fewer technical trims and we also like to wait as long as we can so we’re offering styles that are as on trend and new as possible. We are going to learn and see a lot of new stuff—fashion shows, shopping trips, a whole year of trend—between now and next October, so we like to get our materials and fabrics ASAP and wait as long as possible to design the actual body.

Which piece of outerwear for Holiday 2013 is your absolute favorite?

I’m actually really excited about the Lightweight Wool Blazer. It has great fabric and a really cool fit. It’s expensive but it’s worth it! We worked really hard to get this fabric right and pushed really hard to nail the cool, slouchy, grungy fit. We’re really excited about this one and we think it represents the new, more fashionable direction that we’re taking this category.

What makes AEO outerwear awesome, on trend, and a great value for Holiday 2013?

I’m pretty proud of our assortment this year. I think we have the absolute best puffer jacket $99.50 can buy. It’s warm and cozy with great faux fur and Sherpa accents, it’s heavy enough to get you through a long winter and it’s versatile enough to go with your sweatpants or your prettiest dresses. Aside from our puffer, I think we’re hitting all the right fashion notes—grunge blazer, wool moto jacket and a great parka that’s both fashionable and warm. Now on to Holiday Outerwear 2014!

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Behind the Seams: AEO Sweaters

Behind the Seams: AEO Sweaters

At American Eagle Outfitters, we love fall for a number of reasons, but the main one is because it gives us an excuse to stock up on sweaters for the chilly months ahead. We spoke with Senior Sweater Designer Jason M. to learn more about the design process behind our favorite sweaters.

 

What is the design process of a sweater start to finish? How long does it take from concept to being available in stores?

We start developing sweaters about 14 months before they deliver to stores. We start by identifying the right yarns and stitches. This is a process that involves sourcing and development from all over the world. Then we start knitting! In our design office, Colleen, the assistant sweater designer, and I knit up small stitch development swatches ourselves. These swatches get matched to new and trend relevant silhouettes and we start the sampling and fitting process. During this process we are trying out different color combinations and development, such as the beautiful Fair Isle patterns you see in stores and online. These patterns are very important to the aesthetic of the store in that they really help to bring home the feeling of holiday spirit.

 

American Eagle Outfitters Behind the Seams Holiday 2013 Sweaters

Photo from Jason’s Instagram – @jdmahler.

 

What are the different types of yarn used in our sweaters? Where is the yarn sourced from?

Almost all yarns we use at AEO are cotton based. We understand that softness and durability are important to our customers and we go through extensive research and testing when we develop our yarns. Our yarns are sourced from Asia but inspiration for yarn development comes from traveling the world.

 

What are the different weights of our sweaters and what type of look is each best for? 

We have fine gauge sweaters, which are great for the versatility of dressing up or dressing down. Fine gauge means that a higher number of needles were used in the knit, which equates to a thinner, less bulky sweater. Fine gauge sweaters can be worn with our jeans for day or a bodycon pencil skirt or skinny trousers for night. Our chunkier sweaters give more of a casual and cozy vibe. We love the idea of layering our chunky sweaters over a jegging or the contrast of a chunky sweater with a feminine chiffon mini skirt.

 

American Eagle Outfitters Behind the Seams Holiday 2013 Sweaters

Our Fair Isle sweater in Nylon’s December issue.

 

What are the different types of knits used in our sweaters?

For holiday this year, we loved the idea of using the classic cable and turning it on its head. You can see this interpreted in a sweatshirt fit, the Cool Cable, which is a stark contrast to the super tight fits we have had in years past. We also created a chunky pullover—the Snowed in Sweater. This sweater is unique because the cable is actually knit on the diagonal, which is a very complicated stitch construction.

 

Can you explain two of our biggest trends in women’s sweaters—space dye and marled knits? 

Marled knit is a very big deal for us. It a new way to present a higher contrast of color within a sweater by using two or more colored yarns twisted together throughout the garment.

Space dye is also a very, very, very big deal for us this season. Space dyeing is when yarn is dyed different colors, not one uniform color throughout as you typically see. With the space dyeing technique, the color changes from one color to the next, giving an ombre effect. We are reintroducing our slouchy cowl neck sweater in space dye colors. These color combos are custom and unique to AEO.

 

What was the inspiration behind the color palettes for this season?

When we approached color for this season we wanted to stand for new, bright color as well as compelling color techniques through novelty yarn. Marls and space dyes were our focus. We felt they were a new and trend-right way to update our color palette.

 

How do the sweaters fit in with the rest of the collection for Holiday 2013?

When we started to design our Holiday 2013 sweaters, we really focused on the outfit. In some cases the outfit is based around the sweater, like in the space-dyed cowl or the Fair Isle patterns. In other cases the sweater is the outfit completer, like the Party Cardigan. Because denim is such a huge part of our brand, we really focus on making sure that our denim fits and our sweater silhouettes work well together.

 

Which sweater for Holiday 2013 is your absolute favorite?

My favorite sweater for holiday is the Snowed in Sweater. It is such a fresh and new way of approaching a cable sweater. I promise you will have nothing in your wardrobe like it and the stitch was designed to be super flattering on the body.

 

What makes AEO sweaters awesome, on trend and a great value for Holiday 2013?

Every decision we make during the design and development process of our sweaters for the holiday season is intended to deliver the highest quality, fit and trend at a true value. We joke all the time that we deliver sweaters that at some department stores would cost upwards of $200 for less money that it costs to buy a pizza. We are constantly out in New York City seeing what girls are wearing and how they are wearing it. We understand that it’s our job to take that and give the consumer what is next and new. Our goal is to give the customer something they haven’t seen before. To entice and surprise!

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DIY: Denim Shirt

DIY: Denim Shirt

One staple we can’t seem to get enough of is the denim shirt. Often times at the American Eagle Outfitters Home Office we’re caught wearing the exact same denim or chambray shirt as someone else. We asked ourselves – how do we make our favorite denim shirt stand out? Our stylist Erin C. took the AE Boyfriend Chambray to the next level with her simple DIY customizations.

What You’ll Need:

-Your favorite denim shirt

-Scissors

-Needle and thread

-Extra denim fabric (available at any local craft supply store)

-Paper

-Pens

-Straight pins

-Seam ripper (optional)

-Iron-on patches (optional)

-Sewing machine (optional)

 

Step One: Gather your materials.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step One

 

Step Two: Carefully remove the front pocket from your shirt with scissors or a seam ripper.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Two

 

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Two

 

Step Three: Remove the bottom hem by cutting it off. Keep the interesting pieces to use for cool details later on.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Three

 

Step Four: Fray your bottom hem. “A frayed edge is really trendy right now,” Erin told us.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Four

 

Step Five: Trace shapes on your paper and cut out to make patterns for your patches.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Five

 

Step Six: Use straight pins to pin your pattern to the extra denim pieces and cut out.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Six

 

Step Seven: Sew patches on. Erin chose to sew this heart pattern above the hip. You can use your sewing machine if you have one but the contrasting stitch by hand makes the patch even more interesting.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Seven

 

Step Eight: Pin pieces from the hem you cut off earlier onto the shoulders for a fun detail.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Eight

 

Step Nine: Use your sewing machine (or you can hand stitch!) to sew the details onto the shirt.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Nine

 

Step Ten: Pin the pocket inside out onto the opposite side of the shirt and use your sewing machine (or again, you can hand stitch!) to attach.

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Ten

 

Step Eleven: Show off your customized shirt!

american eagle outfitters DIY denim shirt

Step Eleven

 

Do you customize your favorite AEO clothes? Show off your personalized pieces on Twitter or Instagram with #AEOStyle for a chance to be on our blog!

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