find out about life of a kit designer

Designer Ffion Appleton combined her love of sport with her flair for fashion to land her dream job with adidas - and now she gets some of the world's top sports stars dressed for success.

A member of the adidas design team based in Germany, Ffion has helped kit out the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Jonah Lomu.

And because the job means having to keep up to date with all the latest fashion trends, Ffion also gets plenty of opportunity to indulge in her passion for shopping.

But it's not just about looking good.

"You've got to remember that the most important thing for the players is their performance," said Ffion.

"We work closely with the athletes we are involved with. They wear-test the fabrics for us, comment on the fit and even the design sometimes."

Ffion was part of the adidas design team that came up with the innovative 'grip dots' on the Lions jerseys for their tour of Australia.

Off the pitch the replica kit was a massive hit with rugby fans eager to make their own fashion statement.

"The Lions project was very exciting because the tour was so high profile with huge media coverage," said Ffion.

to see the designs in the newspapers and on the television, and also such high demands among the public."

Fashion graduate Ffion moved into sportswear design after a spell as a freelancer in London.

"I wanted to work for a top sports brand and I'd always been a fan of adidas as a child so this was the perfect choice for me," she said.

"I was always interested in fashion and did a fashion degree at university, while sport has always been a big part of my life, so combining the two has been perfect."

Sense of style

We are responsible for designing, researching and marketing the product.

That involves looking at up and coming trends that we think are relevant to sportswear and doing store checks in various cities such as London, New York or Los Angeles. After researching the market for trends we come back to the design studio and play around with hand sketches initially before everything has to be put on computer.

We get a brief from the project manager for a particular range and from the ideas we have we execute the designs which takes around 3-4 weeks.

The product development lasts about 14 months from the beginning of design to getting the product instore, so actually what we do day to day varies quite a lot.

Passion for fashion

While most employers would probably be looking for a fashion degree, you should be able to communicate ideas clearly on paper and also aim to develop your own taste and style.

I took art and design at GCSE and A level and did a textile course before studying for a degree in fashion at university. I did some freelance work in the fashion industry in London and then worked for Puma in the UK before taking up the job with adidas.

You've got to keep an eye on what's out there already, at what the big companies are doing.

While at university I worked in a store in New York and also in a shop in the UK and it helps you to see what trends are out there.

It's also important to keep in mind that the athlete's main concern is performance and also to have a dynamic-looking product.


Name: Ffion Appleton
Age: 29
From: Aberystwyth, Wales
Job title: Sportswear designer with adidas based in Germany

"You've got to remember that the most important thing for the players is their performance"

"A graduate starting out could expect to earn around £14,000 - £16,000"

"The best thing is that we get to travel a lot. To be able to go shopping in cities like London, New York and Los Angeles is definitely the best bit about the job.

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