In Conversation With
Samuela Melidoni, Head of Design
The right organisational structure forms the backbone of a successful business.
At Prevayl, we operate in teams to reach our common goal. Heading up the Garments team is our solution-oriented Sami, whose responsibilities include not just overall delivery of design projects but also inspiring and encouraging team members to do their best work.
In this interview, we’re chatting to Samuela Melidoni about her background, experience, her duties at Prevayl and more.
Q: First, could you please tell us who is Sami?
A: I’m Sami and I’m the Head of Design. I overlook the Design team, how we integrate the tech and innovation into our garments, their aesthetics and how we present them within our marketing materials.
Q: Take us down memory lane, tell us how you got to this point in your career right here – at Prevayl?
A: I was lucky to be able to start my career at Adidas, one of the biggest global sports brands. I was there for two years as a Product Developer, working on the men’s training apparel business unit.
From day one, I was thrown into the deep end; I was flown out to factories in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia to name a few. I would develop products to cost, making sure we achieve target margins, understanding how the product is manufactured and working closely with the designers to get the best product. To be honest, I never intended to go down that route. I was always more into the design aspect, but that experience really helped me understand where I could push design and factory capabilities. Looking back now, it was one of the best things I have ever done.
When I was at Adidas, I worked on the TECHFIT ranges, leisure ranges and combat ranges, on products like Lionel Messi’s t-shirts and Andy Murray’s gear for Wimbledon, etc.
I then went into more technical brands, like Berghaus, where I was working on super technical products which involved waterproof fabrics and premium insulation. This is where I discovered my love for technical garments, garments that provide a purpose and functionality rather than purely aesthetic.
After that, I worked at Mamas & Papas on their travel and transport products. I worked closely with mechanical engineers to understand how we can create a product where the soft goods, such as the hood and seat, seamlessly connect to the chassis of the pushchair. We could be working on one product for several years. This is the nature of Innovation and new product development. Trial something 1,000 times and getting it right once – that’s what I love to do: problem-solve.
Everything I did throughout my career has centred around problem-solving and staying curious. That leads me to the world of innovation at Prevayl, where you ask questions and trial ideas over and over again, until you gain the desired outcome. Most importantly something that works.
Q: Is that the same approach you and the Garments team apply here at Prevayl?
A: 100% correct. Prevayl is built on innovations and ideas, so curiosity is one of the main principles for us. It’s about staying curious and looking outside of our sector – like architecture and automotive – as opposed to always looking inward at fashion and garments. That’s something I really try and push here because that’s how you create something brand new.
We are extremely lucky to have a Shima flat knit machine in house. We work very closely with our Senior Textiles Engineer on exploring the potential of new knitting techniques, specifically in flat knit, to integrate the newest innovations into our products.
Q: What do you do on the daily basis to make sure you achieve your goal?
A: It’s about the understanding the partner's needs, what do they need from Prevayl? What is their goal? Of course, we want to create an intelligent product that can read your data, but we also want it to be desirable. A lot of smart products out there may work but don’t always look good. Take Apple as an example, their designs are as beautiful as is their functionality – I want to create that, but with garments.
We want our product to read your data, but we also want consumers to happily wear it because it looks great, it fits well, it helps them perform better.
Q: On to the next project... Can you tell us what the Garments team is working on?
A: Currently, we are working on proving concepts. I can’t go into too much detail here due to our NDA processes; all I can say now is that we’re evolving the way in which we collect data from the wearer’s body and what this could physically look like.
Q: What’s your favourite thing about working at Prevayl?
A: It’s the team and the people! My team are all specialists in certain areas – from technical menswear, womenswear, contour specialists, knitwear engineer, e-textiles experts to product development – and bringing all of that together enables us to create something fantastic, fresh and new to the market! Prevayl is an extremely inspiring place to work.
Q: Before we let you go, can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
A: I am obsessed with interiors. In my spare time, I like to restore antique furniture. A few of my designs have been inspired by trainers (another obsession of mine) – I have a 1920s side table that I have restored, it is inspired by the black and gold Nike Air Max 97s. You can check them out on Instagram at @sovereign_drip.