Designing the Airman’s Jacket

Behind the Scenes, New Merchandise
October 10, 2011

We’ve launched a number of new designs for this fall – including a number of new apparel and outerwear items. One of these designs is our new Airman’s Jacket – Stormy Kromer’s take on the traditional bomber jacket. With all the interest nowadays about design – take the success of Bravo’s Project Runway for instance – we thought it might be fun to share with you a little of the design process and the evolution of a garment from sketch to production. We start by brainstorming with our design team and in this instance, we knew we needed to add a short, or “bomber” type jacket to our line. Tamara (who you met in this previous blog post) went back to the drawing board and came back with a number of sketches. Here is a sampling: In order to narrow down the sketches into a first prototype, we actually held a focus groups with factory employees. We asked them what features they like in jackets they own currently, which design elements appealed most to them, what they would and wouldn’t wear and why. This group of guys – who ranged in age from 35-65 – gave us some fantastic feedback, and we ended up with this final sketch: Even this sketch doesn’t quite represent the finished product. After patterns are made and prototypes are sewn, you finally see that some of what you envision on paper just doesn’t translate to needle and thread. In addition to being sure that the look and fit of the garment is just right, our Engineering Department also has to work with the design, to make sure that we can manufacture here in America at a price that will work in the marketplace. (Stay tuned for a blog post soon about the joys and challenges of U.S. manufacturing…) At the end of all that hard work, we finally have a product that our team looks at and says, “Yes!” We hope that you do too.. Now it’s your turn: what products should our design team tackle next?

4 thoughts on “Designing the Airman’s Jacket

  • Bob Sauer says:

    The airman’s jacket looks great!
    Next, how about the SK version of the leather slipper from LL Bean?
    It should be wool plaid with shearling lining and a pull-on tab in the back, & soft leather sole. Many SK plaids would look great. I would be glad to show you a sample of the Bean one.

  • Chuck Kolesar says:

    I’ve worn airman jackets all my life. Can’t wait to try one on and purchase during my trip to the UP next month. Hardest choice might be choosing the color!

  • Chuck Kolesar says:

    It’s a winner. As I mentioned to Starr whoever designed the jacket knew what they were doing when they designed in the pockets with the slide in side opening. The leather versions given to me by the USAF didn’t have them. We had to drop them off at tailors (worldwide) to have the jacket modified. While the leather ones look good on the movie screen, the wool version is better and “toasty”. Looks great with the new wax cotton brown hat.
    Bring back the wax cotton camo. My duck hunting friends are so jealous!

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Designing the Airman’s Jacket – Stormy Kromer