Fashion product development an introduction


An introduction into the world of fashion product development; touching on all key elements of product development from the initial design concept through to the finished product. This course will focus on both the creative and technical sides of product development. During the course you will develop concepts and mood boards and will examine fabric selection, range planning, costings and factory allocation.

This course is ideal if you're already working in the industry and looking to gain a better understanding of product development, or if you're looking to pursue a career in fashion.

This course will be an interactive and practical work-based course. 1 hour of each lecture will be focused on direct learning the other hour will be interactive learning and practical work. Working on an initial brief, which students will complete during the course and present at the end.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to fashion product development and your initial brief
  • Research; discussing the processes for research and how to present this through concept/theme, mood boards, colour palette
  • Costings and Range planning; a brief look at costing’s, margins, pricing hierarchy and research on competitors when building a range plan
  • Fabric sourcing; Agents, fabric fairs, minimums, fabric lead times and issues - Factory allocation; In house sampling VS factory sampling and production. Prototypes, fittings, quality control. UK manufacturer VS overseas manufactures
  • Final Presentation of brief presented to peers and tutor - This course will be an interactive and practically based. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, you will have developed a good understanding of the product development cycle, from the initial concept to the finished product.


Laura Dufort

What you need to bring

Note book, sketchbook, pens and pencils. Personal computers laptops or tablets if students would like to use them for taking notes and researching


 8 weeks


Mondays, 18:30-20:30


24 October - 12 December


£320 (inc VAT)

 Book now

Meet the tutor

Laura Dufont

Laura Dufont 

Short course tutor: Fashion product development

Ravensbourne’s short course tutor, Laura Dufort, believes gaining an understanding the lifecycle of a product is essential to everyone looking to develop a career in fashion. And she should know – her career has spanned over 12 years working with some of the biggest names in the UK fashion industry!

Starting her career as a product assistant at Ted Baker, Laura built on her experience to become the Product Developer in Menswear. She then moved to Burberry as an original member of the company’s men’s sports division, where her role was central in growing the line into an internationally renowned range. From there she began working for Christopher Raeburn, overseeing the development process end-to-end, driving the product lifecycle from the original concept through to the final product.

Laura is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience not only with those looking to develop a career in product development, but with designers too.

“Over the years, I’d noticed that when designers were starting out, they had brilliant creative skills, but didn’t necessarily understand the business side of fashion which is essential to build a successful career in design ”

She explains further;

“learning the skills of a product developer gives you an understanding of all aspects of a fashion business. You get to work with all parts of the fashion chain, from working hand-in-hand with the designers, understanding the production process right through to analyzing sales.”

Top tips

In this varied and challenging environment, Laura’s three top tips for a successful career in fashion product development include:

  1. Be organised. Be very organised.

    The job of the product developer is crucial in ensuring the design process runs smoothly from original concept, through to the final product. You’re responsible for managing the product’s lifecycle – so it’ your job to ensure all deadlines are met and any issues are addressed in an appropriate manner.

  2. Always have a plan B. And C.

    You’re dealing with a whole range of people throughout the lifecycle of a collection – and however organised you are, things won’t always run to plan. When issues arise, you need to be the one thinking of solutions and being proactive in implementing changes.

  3. Be a great team player.

    You’re the glue that sticks everything together. You have to be able to work effectively with a range of people – from working directly with designers and creative directors through to managing supplier relationships, all whilst ensuring your range is delivered on time and on budget.

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