Q&A with Terez Havancsak on Fashion Design and Innovation in Sportswear

Q&A with Terez Havancsak on Fashion Design and Innovation in Sportswear

Meet Terez Havancsak, an independent senior designer and consultant based in Los Angeles, whose journey from Hungary to London has woven a rich tapestry of design influences. With a Master’s Degree from the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest and training at the London College of Fashion, Terez brings over 12 years of expertise in fashion, sportswear, and outerwear design. Her career boasts collaborations with prestigious brands like The North Face, Athleta, and Burton Snowboard, where she has left an indelible mark through innovative, purpose-driven creations.

As a distinguished jury member for the FIT Sport Design Awards, Terez remains committed to inspiring future generations of designers with her passion for sustainable and ethical practices in the apparel industry.

In this exclusive interview, Terez shares insights into her diverse educational background, memorable projects, and her unique approach to balancing creativity with client needs in the competitive realm of apparel design.

Q&A with Terez Havancsak on Fashion Design and Innovation in Sportswear

How has your diverse educational background, spanning from Hungary to London, influenced your approach to design in the apparel industry?

I am glad I experienced two completely different approaches during my early school years. In Hungary, I had the opportunity to study in a fine artistic way , while in London, the focus was on fashion studies and gaining insights into the fashion industry. These two ways of thinking have guided me throughout my career, helping me strike a healthy balance in my designs.

With experience across fashion design, sportswear, and outerwear, what aspects of these different sectors do you find most challenging and rewarding?

Designing Sportswear and Outerwear allows me to infuse an extra layer of depth into my creations. Prioritizing purpose and functionality. I love crafting pieces that not only perform well but also have great aesthetics.

Can you share a particularly memorable project or collaboration from your time working with brands like The North Face, Athleta, and Burton Snowboard?

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on numerous unforgettable projects with these esteemed companies. At The North Face, I contributed to the Beijing International Olympic Collection and designed a standout Capsule collection inspired by the iconic ‘Rage’ snowboard jacket from the 90s. At Burton Snowboards, I proudly worked on the Shaun White Collection and the L.A.M.B. X Burton Capsule Collection. For Athleta, I had the exciting challenge of designing their very first Outerwear Collection.

As an independent senior designer and consultant, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and meeting the specific needs of each client?

First, I have to understand the client’s design language and aesthetic. Then, I receive a collection strategy or a design brief. I must follow those guidelines and create styles that meet the requirements.

Finding the right balance is both an inspiration and a great challenge for me. Turning an imagination into a design that meets a client’s specific requirements and leaves everyone satisfied is a win.

What are some key trends or innovations in outerwear and apparel design that you find most exciting or influential in the industry today?

Luckily, there are many great design and material innovations centered around sustainability, with numerous brands focusing on environmental issues. I love seeing the relentless drive to create solutions that are not only visually striking but also life-changing and even life-saving.

How do you stay inspired and motivated in your role as a designer, especially when faced with creative blocks or challenges?

My everyday life constantly inspires me, whether it’s exploring new places, listening to music, enjoying unforgettable concerts, or simply hiking through nature. When I face challenges or creative blocks, I find that brainstorming, sketching by hand, and allowing ideas to simmer always leads me to the solution.

What advice would you give to emerging designers who are looking to establish themselves in the competitive field of apparel design?

Embrace your unique design language, stay true to yourself, and continually push your boundaries.

Can you speak to the importance of sustainability and ethical practices in the apparel industry, and how they factor into your work as a designer?

In the apparel industry, sustainability stands paramount. As a designer and consultant, my commitment lies in steering clear of fast fashion and mass production companies. 

How do you approach the process of creating functional yet stylish designs, particularly in technical outerwear where performance is paramount?

When I start designing technical outerwear, I first explore the activity for which I am designing. I ask a lot of questions about the sport and delve deep into the movements to determine what type of features would benefit the wearer. Most of the time, I prioritize designing the details and functionality first, and then I create a stylish, yet timeless design around them.

Q&A with Terez Havancsak on Fashion Design and Innovation in Sportswear

As a jury member for the FIT Sport Design Awards, what are you most looking forward to seeing in this year’s submissions, and what do you hope the awards will achieve in terms of inspiring future generations of designers?

I was delighted to see many great ideas and purpose-driven designs. These creations aim to make someone else’s life easier and happier. I hope these trends will continue in the future.

Photo Credits: Angie Palmai