Sr. Apparel Design Director (Global Innovation Center)

VF Outdoor

Alameda, California

We are looking for an individual to join the VF Global Innovation Center (GIC) team as the Sr. Apparel Design Director. Reporting to the VP Creative, this role leads the GIC Apparel Designers, and works closely with the GIC Footwear Design Director, GIC Brand Leads and GIC Sr. Brand & Consumer Strategy Director as well as the extended GIC team, strategic partners, and external researchers. The scope of the role encompasses Apparel and Accessories across targeted VF brands.

As the design leader and visionary for the apparel innovation design process, you demonstrate an expansive, futuristic, relentless curiosity; paired with a passion to create amazing products which exceed consumer expectations, and perform beyond their imagination. Your honed sense of product, performance, and consumers and athlete requirements, serves to keep you keenly focused on the 'problem' to solve. You lead a highly creative but disciplined approach from exploration, to product concept creation, and finally, to completing a viable, profitable, unique design. From the onset of a vision, through to the final product, the Sr. Apparel Design Director leads the apparel design team to new levels of form, fit, craftsmanship and performance, that is authentic and future focused to the targeted VF brands. The ability to challenge and re-think the future is critical.

Your role in creating innovative product requires that you effectively partner with, and study design thought leaders and entrepreneurs. Constantly learning and developing the talent of your team is critical to establishing industry leadership and you actively work to keep your team fully entrenched in future thinking and technical development.

Leadership and Influence:

We are building a high energy, learn fast, non-hierarchical innovation culture. Collaboration, curiosity, tinkering, passion, rapid prototyping, and boldness with humility are traits we are actively seeking and encouraging. Being part of our innovation culture is about leading by influence, so you will need to be a master at story-telling to bring the apparel creative vision to life.

Seeking a future vision requires an actively curious, questioning, and connected mind. You are confident and well entrenched in consumer and market trends, and follow design leaders, and industry innovation. You are equally comfortable with the ambiguity of complex discovery and the pressure of executing a perfect design on time. You live to translate technical problems into simple, elegant, profitable products.

Being a successful leader in this creative culture, juxtaposed between GIC teams and design associates within VF Brands will need specific traits. We are looking for five essential qualities in this leader:

  • Obsessed with delighting consumers & athletes - Translates consumer insight around usability, utility & desirability into product vision.  Always looking outward to understand consumers — what different kinds of people need, what inspires them, what problems they have, how they will engage with the product, how they will evaluate our offering etc.  Sees all the richness and diversity of the consumer landscape.  Gets beyond research — doesn’t see consumer insight as a study or a project phase, but as a constant element of his or her life’s work.  Always connecting the world of consumers to the world of technology, product design and production — the specific possibilities for how a need gets met through physical product and the larger experience.

  • Orchestrates creativity as a team process.  Not just a creative, but someone who brings out the creative best of others.  Inspires and champions Design – set a motivating vision for Apparel Innovation Design function & culture. Makes room and nurtures talent across the broad VF design community.  Defines an Innovation Design process anchored around consumer driven, brand relevant, story-telling and rapid iteration that instills discipline while creating room for the unexpected.

  • Relentless stretch.  Constantly pulls upward, toward new levels of functionality, performance, elegance, beauty.  Always tinkering, and always searching for new ways to solve a problem.  Stretches others in a way that motivates rather than discourages; helps others see possibilities they’d otherwise miss.

  • Always ships.  Works to the finish line, and balances process and improvisation to get there.  Driven by the goal, not just the fascination of the design challenge.  Understands and honors constraints, after making sure that they truly are constraints.  Gets it done.

  • Business pragmatist.  Effective in a corporate environment, and able to navigate the realities of collaborating across functions, building coalitions, managing budgets, etc.  Able to move back and forth between the visionary perspective and the perspectives of others with different goals and strengths.

As a critical part of the GIC leadership team, you are transparent & trusting. You use your creative talent to inspire and motivate others and you openly engage in productive, dialog toward collective, brilliant solutions. To succeed this role you will demonstrate behaviors which promotes shared vision and collective team energy; act with integrity, seek diversity of thought, share wins & failures equally.

A successful candidate must be a good communicator, possess an ability to proactively influence multi-disciplinary teams, and has solid understanding of the product creation process.

As part of the GIC team, you will also be expected to actively participate in GIC projects, planning, and team environment. Each team member is expected to demonstrate strong, committed partnership in supporting and engaging with the team and be a champion for an optimal work ethos & environment.




Design Apparel

Position Type:

Full Time

Remote ok?



10 months ago

VF Outdoor

The Outdoor and Action Sports coalition is a group of authentic activity-based lifestyle brands. From performance outerwear, apparel and footwear to backpacks and accessories, our brands empower consumers to explore, express and embody the lifestyle they love.