Design Thinking: Erin Snow

(Image courtesy of Erin Snow)


In Graduate School, one of the buzzwords professors love to discuss is "Design Thinking." Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding (Dam and Siang). Design Thinking enables a company to understand consumer needs to serve their audience better. For this project, I contacted different companies to learn how the organizations apply Design Thinking into their market offerings. I had the opportunity to talk with founder Erin Isakov to learn more about the brand.




(Image courtesy of Erin Snow)



1. What makes Erin Snow different from other brands on the market?

First and foremost, our brand considers not only the form of fashion, but the human and environmental function with equal weight. We took our background in women’s fashion and applied the same principles of drape, construction and finishing to designing for the outdoors. Similarly we make product that stands up to the elements and is designed for longevity, both in durability and style.




(Image courtesy of Erin Snow)

2. How does Erin Snow stay ahead of upcoming trends?

We take inspiration from modern as well as vintage style. In the early 2000’s we had to fight ski retailers to convince them that women want to wear in-the-boot pants and pioneered the return of the 70s racing stripe looks we are known for today. And we are always innovators with our fabric mills and other material vendors, pushing the bar higher every year with even more innovative material launches.



3. Where does Erin Snow draw inspiration from during the design process?

We pull a lot of inspiration from my extensive vintage collection, as well as my parent’s 70’s skiwear from their time working and living at Mammoth Mountain in California. The film Downhill Racer has always been a favorite and much-watched source of inspiration. We combine this with modern street style to bridge the gap between the sexy glamorous roots of ski and sport style with how women want to dress today.



(Image courtesy of Erin Snow)

4. How does Erin Snow incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

We want women to feel good in their clothes and feel good about their clothes. As a nimble team, we monitor, adjust and refine our sourcing and design, without middle men. We personally select every material on every garment we create—from our recycled and renewable textiles to the premium snaps. And we only work with factories that comply with workplace ethics. We choose to partner with the world’s best performance mills and producers. With them, we dig deep to develop new, ethical materials and methods. Since 2003, we’ve been early experimenters with sustainable fibers—and every year we push our bar even higher. We do not confine these principles to one product capsule or part of our collection. These are rules that are applied to everything we make.




5. What is the future of the company?

We believe that fashion is transformative. Part of our mission at Erin Snow is to empower women to get outside by giving them impeccably tailored pieces that perform. We have been fortunate as a brand to grow organically because of our product and loyal customers. We are now sold globally and carried by some of the world’s best retailers. As we continue this growth into the future, our goal is to help our customers explore many more areas of outdoor recreation in our product.



(Image courtesy of Erin Snow)

Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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