Q&A with Varun Wadhawan, Senior Manager, Design and Development, Lee
Varun Wadhawan, Senior Manager, Design and Development, Men’s for Lee®, is truly passionate about design. He credits his open-mindedness and ability to look at situations in new ways with helping him succeed. Throughout his time at VF, he has focused on innovating and continually elevating the Lee brand.
Below, Varun shares insight into his work and what inspires him as a designer.
How do you incorporate VF’s Purpose into Lee designs?
With the launch of VF’s Purpose, there’s renewed passion for sustainability. We look at new ideas and technologies to re-energize our sustainability platform, and think about how we can incorporate this into products that leave behind as little a footprint as possible. We also think about the idea of movement in life and we’ve been very involved with designing products for people who lead dynamic lifestyles.
Q. What role does innovation play in the design process?
It is important to ensure we are constantly innovating with our design and products. We always ask ourselves what are the new techniques that we can incorporate into our design process, whether that’s using functional fabrics and design techniques, or a more environmentally friendly type of cotton. More importantly, we strive for a balance, where style and innovation work together and we’re not just innovating for the sake of it.
Q. What motivates and inspires you as a designer?
I’ve always been passionate about the design process. I like to start with idea brainstorming and then translating our ideas into a product line with my team. I also find the Lee brand inspiring, especially since it is one of VF’s heritage brands and a pioneer in denim. It’s exciting and inspiring to design new products that stay true to the brand’s heritage and identity. Overall, Lee is a cool brand with a history of really amazing products that we can now translate in new ways for our modern consumer.
Q. How did you get where you are today?
I’ve always been open-minded and open to looking at things in new ways. Especially as designers, there is a constant need to evolve and look to the future without being rigid. I’m able to adapt to changing situations and keep my thinking flexible. That’s helped me through the years take on different challenges and evolve in new roles, both within and outside my comfort zone.