In order to meet the expanding needs of clients, SIGMADESIGN hired our first Soft Goods Developer, Koko Wright. This new role was created to provide exemplary services for the growing industry of wearable technology and to expand on the firm’s promise to provide concept through production services with high quality and efficiency. Embedding electronics and electromechanical systems within softgoods opens up new opportunities in the Lifestyle, Sporting, and Medical products industries.
In 2017, We sat down with Koko Wright and got to know her a little better. We hope you enjoy this interview just as much as we did.
What Is Your Role at SIGMADESIGN?
As a new member of the SIGMADESIGN team, my contribution starts with facilitating the integration of soft goods and electronics. Using my education and experience in soft goods design, I will be developing patterns to evolve and improve the design and functionality of a wide variety of soft goods. This is a brand new role at SIGMADESIGN, so I’m pretty excited about that. I can’t wait
to see the opportunities this new role opens up as SIGMADESIGN expands its capabilities and furthers its expertise in a broad variety of industries.
What Is It Like to be the First Soft Goods Developer at SIGMADESIGN?
I came from a really small company, where I was my own department, so I’m kind of used to working solo. I’m excited to learn and grow together with SIGMADESIGN as the Engineers and other design professionals explore this new role as well.
How Did You First Become Interested in Apparel Design?
My mom used to sew a lot when I was little, so I started sewing with her. I got into apparel design because I wanted to make my own clothes. This interest led me to study at the Art Institute in Portland.
At first, I stuck with general apparel, then I got into the snow sport industry. I snowboard and it’s always fun to wear what I’ve made. I also teach at the Portland Fashion Institute.
What Attracted You to SIGMADESIGN?
I like the company culture, it’s pretty cool and relaxed. Everyone seems to be having fun and people like each other.
In general, apparel companies can be tough to work for. Being in fashion, it can get clique-y and their culture usually revolves around what big names you know. So I am excited for this different culture at SIGMADESIGN.
What Are You Most Excited About in Your New Position?
I am really excited to work with Engineers. I did a freelance project for SIGMADESIGN previously and worked with an Engineer. The way they look at materials is foreign to me. I am learning about different aspects of fabric that I never knew about before. Engineers ask questions about design that I never even realized were legitimate questions.
What is Your Favorite Project That You Have Ever Worked On?
The most challenging project that I’ve worked on was a jacket with a separate zip-in liner. The whole pattern was very ergonomic, in order for the garment to move with the person. The jacket was super technical, and fussy with that zip-in liner, but I loved the challenge of those aspects and the tight deadlines I was up against. That was my most challenging project, so the one I’m the most proud of.
How Do You See the Apparel Industry Developing Right Now?
It’s pretty exciting. There’s a big focus right now on responsible sourcing, which means not just ethical factories, but going further down your supply chain to look at how suppliers manufacture fabric, and where your base raw goods come from. A lot of companies are moving toward more sustainable practices in how they dye fabrics (waterless dying, and reclaiming waste water), which is huge for our global water systems. It’s also really important for air quality, in areas that produce fabric. Europe has banned a super toxic fabric finish for waterproof, breathable fabrics, so the global industry has risen to their standard, which is super cool.
Overall, it seems like the industry is moving in an exciting direction. It’s starting to be aware of its impact on the people, and places that manufacture, and awareness is the first step to change.
What Are You Doing In Your Free Time?
I like to sew a lot, haha. And go outside. I like to hike and camp- in the Gorge, up a mountain, at the coast.
Favorite Place to Travel?
Last year, my husband and I went to Iceland and Peru. I’ve also been to Costa Rica and Cambodia. But my favorite place is still my grandma’s house in Canada.
“We could not have found a better fit for this exciting new role at SIGMADESIGN,” shares Director of Engineering Support, Tyler McNamara. “Koko has all the experience and expertise to help develop patterns and to evolve and improve the design and functionality of a wide variety of softgoods. To add to that, her favorite thing right now is teaching the Industrial Sewing class at Portland Fashion Institute, which will be a great benefit as we grow our softgoods team and capabilities.”