Hello! Happy Spring! When spring comes around, I start dreaming of getting back to the beach, putting on that new swimsuit and getting out in the sun. It is a perfect month to feature our latest story about a swimwear & marketing expert as we look forward to this summer and splashing around at the beach.
Growing up, Gottex swim brand was always the top of the line in the swimwear world. When I got to college, I saved up my money just to buy a Gottex 2pc. It was bright royal blue twist front bandeau with gold foil in the print…i was so proud to wear it! Gottex has such a long history and when I stumbled upon Michal Weinberg and learned about her career journey, I had to reach out to ask her more!!! Here Michal shares how she went from small town girl, to interning in London, and working her way up to Design Director of one of the top swim brands in the world, and what lies ahead for her. Enjoy!
Swimwear designer, lecturer, and creative consultant Michal Weinberg has decades of expertise under her belt building swimwear brands from scratch for markets around the world. Michal is responsible for two successful lines “Profile by Gottex” for the US and “Turkiz” for Israel, and is especially skilled in identifying target markets, creating brand image, and crafting collections and fashion shows. Below, Michal describes how she got her start, where her career has taken her, and even offers advice for aspiring designers.
Photo from Shenkar College, https://www.shenkar.ac.il/en/departments/design-fashion-department
How she got her start in fashion design.
“Shenkar College of Engineering and Design was and is, the top design school in Israel. It was my first choice. I was passionate about fashion and wanted to learn this profession.
I loved studying there. My day began by watching the best show on earth—Students dressed to kill. They arrived alone or in groups sporting the old with the new and sometimes the unbelievable. I was inspired. It filled me with excitement and enthusiasm to create something new. Imagine living in the time before internet.
As an honors student I was sent to do my internship In London. I was assigned to work at S.R.Jent, which designed mostly for the big department stores. From living in a small town and provincial country, London was a big change.
Suddenly I found myself in the real world of design, part of a team of 47 designers. There I learned the basic methods of fashion design. I learn how to create forecast boards. Forecast boards are the link between the designer to the market. Till this day I use this method.
What came next.
My career led me to start work in small companies. My job was to recognize, design and create the right product that was missing in a specific market.
Besides loving the design work, my enthusiasm to succeed led me to also become a marketing expert in this field. I was designing products that fit perfectly into the market. I was enthusiastic and learned every technical aspect that I could, in order to make the company I worked for successful. Therefore they gave me carte blanche to create my department in my own unique way.
When Gottex bought the firm I worked for (Klil Yofi) I was surprised that they kept me on. It was clear to me that they had their own methods of working. It was daunting but also thrilling to become part of this very prestigious company. I started by designing for the local market and within the first year they offered me the opportunity to design a line for the American market. It was such a great opportunity, I said Yes.
I was so determined and excited to make it work. I worked very closely with the marketing department and Linda Sassoon, the president of the American Gottex. A new line profile for “Soccer mums” was created. The brand was named “Profile by Gottex”. It was established in 2006 and from the moment it hit the market it took off. There was enormous demand and within 7 years it became the 5th biggest bathing suit brand in the US for this market. The CEO Ronny Grundland said, “Profile by Gottex was the growth engine of Gottex”.
I loved heading a team of more than ten enthusiastic and creative people. We were a great team and we still are in contact. This role demanded a lot of travel back and forth to the states, China and Europe. I enjoyed every minute of it.
It was hard leaving my 2 daughters so often and I missed them a lot. Living such an intense life is thrilling but of course there is always a price to pay. I felt extremely responsible for the growth of the 2 lines. It was a major part of my life. I was totally engrossed and involved.
Working as a designer in an amazing company with all the perks is very addictive. This is very challenging, as in order to keep up demands one needs to stay extremely present and focused. I loved it.
What are your words of advice for aspiring designers?
I have been lecturing for almost 3 decades and I love it. I teach bathing suit design at Shenkar College and the teaching allows me to see the profession from different perspectives constantly. This is the advice I give my students:
1. To succeed as a designer today, one needs to be a real professional. 2. Originality comes from the heart. It is a gift but for it to be manifested, hard work is necessary. 3. Practice, practice, and more practice. 4. The technical aspects of design, production and marketing can be learnt. It’s important to be adept in Illustrator and Photoshop. 5. I always add: Don’t forget to recognize the opportunities as they come your way.
The City of Jaffa
Where Michal’s career has taken her.
In the last few years, I have made dramatic changes in my life. I moved close to the sea and the famous flea market in Jaffa. What is hugely attractive here in my new location is the diversity, and I am inspired.
People of different religions and walks of life live and work, in the old, new, and ancient buildings that surround me. In my new life I have also found time to learn. At the moment I am studying a new computer program for design as well as social media. I have also started giving public talks on subjects ranging from design to women’s self-image (#bodypositive). I created my own company MICHAL WEINBERG that allows me to maximize my time, consulting internationally and advising in future trends, design, technical packages and social media.
Here are some questions for you! Based on Michals advice, spend some time looking at your
brand, consumer, current or future design work and think about what you would like to learn and practice to develop your skillset.