Portrait of Will Bernard
People Spotlight
Meeting people from all corners of the fashion industry is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job.

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Will Bernard

Global Business Development Manager, Denim

What inspires me:
I find inspiration via many paths, but feel it's imperative for a creative to be up-to-date with youth and pop culture trends. Music, film, TV series, what's happening in the news, the biggest sports stars, etc. These continuously changing trends continue to inspire me even as I get older.

The biggest creative/branding challenge I’ve faced at RBIS:
Recently I was asked to rebrand a retail partner that I had worked with for six years. It was challenging to feel I could bring something fresh to the table, but after initially hitting designer’s block, I took a back step and refocused and looked at them independently as a consumer would. I tried to block out all that I had been exposed to previously. The outcome is still to be decided, but I am confident that they received work that was progressive and would set them apart, and also resonate with their target customer.

My typical day:
Unpredictable! We are based in the heart of Los Angeles’ apparel industry and have an open door policy for our local retail brand owners. They can come by and see what’s happening at our [Customer Design and Innovation Center] CDIC. Sometimes, we have a team of designers here who want to discuss our latest and greatest substrates. Then we’ll give a CDIC tour to students from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising who ask every question imaginable. Meeting people from all corners of the fashion industry is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job.

Challenges brands face:
The biggest challenge I see facing brands today is what makes them different to everyone else, how can they can stand out from the pack, what they can do to tell a different story that a competitor is not already telling. It’s also being clever and imaginative with the use of trends.

Balancing creativity and sustainability:
There is no need now to feel restricted creatively when designing towards a sustainable solution. With the options RBIS offers, I’m more than confident that the majority of creative requests can be solved with a sustainable solution.

Advice for aspiring creative:
Never be afraid to question yourself or make changes throughout a project. Seek advice or critique from everyone, and listen to people from outside the creative industry. Challenge yourself creatively so you never get stuck in a ‘this is my style’ mindset. Take inspiration from different styles and disciplines.

My path to this role:
I started out working for a licensee supplier, designing for retailers in the U.K. I was working with companies like Disney and Warner Brothers. From there, I was fortunate enough to work for brands I had more of an affinity for and an understanding of as a designer. With Ben Sherman, I could reminisce about my short time being a mod at school. Ellesse gave me the opportunity to work on a brand that immersed me in a culture and history I had a huge passion for: tennis and 80s fashion culture. After 15 years of working in the heart of London, an opportunity arose to come to the States and take on a position with Abercrombie and Fitch in Columbus, Ohio. There was a steep learning curve, but it was a great experience. After six years there, an opportunity arose to join Avery Dennison and be part of the creative team that opened the doors to CDIC in LA. I’ve been here ever since.

Best career advice I’ve received:
Never think you’re not good enough.