Lead designer of high-performance fishing gear at Columbia Sportswear

Are you outgrowing your backyard? Come and play our game.

At Columbia, we’re as passionate about the outdoors as you are. Although our equipment is available worldwide, we are proud to be located in the Pacific Northwest, where natural wonders are our playground.

Every product we make and every mission we undertake is inspired by the famous words of our founder Geert Boel: “It’s perfect. Now make it even better.” As leaders in continuous improvement, we are constantly evolving.

We believe the outdoors is ours to protect and strive to keep our planet healthy.

We believe in empowering people to experience the outdoors to its fullest.

We believe in you.

About the position

As a Lead Designer, you will lead and inspire by showcasing your design skills to create original, innovative, function-led solutions that reflect the Columbia Sportswear design ethos that will connect the consumer to their outdoor passions. You have a passion for design with visionary trend forecasting, a strong creative point of view, proven design concept thinking, exemplary presentation skills and a collaborative mindset. In this role, you will drive seasonal storytelling, influence global product categories and drive the brand into new market opportunities, specifically in the fishing market. This is a critical role for the PFG brand at Columbia Sportswear!

How you will make a difference

Drawing/Design: Leads complex, high-level design classes. Provides sketches and line art to communicate solution-based design concepts, including multiple views and detailed drawings as necessary. Diagrams are created with the needs of the consumer in mind. Sketches go beyond the product’s brief expectations regarding price and function and move the brand forward.

Concept/Presentations: Demonstrates mastery of storytelling and concept building. Leads design teams in design discussions and concept direction to communicate seasonal trend. Leads in-person or online presentations to illustrate seasonal concepts. Serve as a key point of contact for marketing in delivering seasonal design stories.

Communications: Proactively develop and maintain open lines of communication with merchandising, materials research, product development, fit engineering, cost and marketing partners within the company. Communicates clearly and concisely, ensuring key stakeholders are informed and included in the decision-making process as part of productive working relationships.

Prototype Process: Participates in the prototype process for specialized or highly visible category(s), which involves initiating sample requests by working closely with the technical designer and product developer(s) as well as reviewing samples and directing revisions as needed throughout the development cycle of the product. The entire production line. Ensures consistency of detail across entire product line for consistency and marketability. Actively participates in appropriate sessions and categorical team meetings to facilitate the process, reviews and finalization of products.

Materials Development: Maintains an expert level of knowledge in materials, textiles, components and technologies in the market and the continuous ability to create new models to enhance the product category. Actively initiates new developments. Leads the design team in collaboration with Materials Research to identify new materials areas to be investigated and ways to apply the trend. Ensures the efficiency of material developments and that the total number of developments is within target.

Market Research: Displays in-depth knowledge of the market and competitive landscape. Possesses a specialized understanding of industry trends and the ability to draw inspiration from these trends to translate them commercially into a product category; Provides valuable insights and contributions that bring product innovation and enhancement to the Columbia brand to life. Participates in and leads pre-season discussion with cross-functional business partners to implement seasonal trend and cross-functional collaboration. Leads the market research conversation to formulate trend direction to ensure the target consumer is understood and develop new ways to attract them.

Category Vision: Leads the development of the creative vision for broad sections of the brand, alongside the Design Director.

Innovation: Pushes the envelope beyond expectations in creative designs, consistently ensuring creative and innovative practices and a high level of risk-taking translate into designs that drive the brand.

You are involved in the outdoor design industry, especially fishing and hiking.

Great at handling multiple active projects simultaneously while adjusting priority levels, processes, and approaches.

Able to successfully work cross-functionally with internal and external partners such as branding partners, product development, materials research, production/sourcing and marketing teams, and interiors and graphics teams.

Excellent communicator with the ability to work under pressure and confidentially.

You have

Requires 8+ years of professional design experience and mastery of relevant technical and business skills associated with the apparel industry. Offshore industry experience required.

Bachelor’s degree, applicable certification, or equivalent experience.

Identifies and solves complex problems affecting cross-functional and cross-disciplinary apparel construction teams. Applies independent analysis based on in-depth research and critical thinking to recommend solutions.

He has specialized knowledge and experience in clothing design theories. Applies an in-depth understanding of apparel industry standards/practices and effective implementation methods to key projects and initiatives. Thorough knowledge of Adobe Illustrator.

Displays an advanced level of business acumen and a strong understanding of the “big picture” of the business. Understands how the design function is integrated within the larger company including awareness and in-depth understanding of key business partner functions such as development processes, merchandising procedures, materials and production techniques and has a high-level knowledge of the product creation process. Seeks to search for and propose new market opportunities to differentiate products and differentiate them from competing products.

Leads discussion on complex design problems and works to build team consensus toward the solution. Influences others to adopt a different point of view. Drives process improvement and looks for efficiencies.

Demonstrates efficient time management and prioritization skills while working on multiple projects simultaneously. Project management duties include creating proposals and completing all project phases including planning, design, coordination, and implementation.

May manage one direct report, so leadership experience is a plus.

Portfolio link included in CV is required.


Columbia Sportswear and our portfolio of brands, including Columbia, SOREL, Mountain Hardwear and prAna, know a thing or two about adventure. After all, we’ve been working on one since 1938, perfecting the art of enjoying the outdoors. Behind everything we make is an employee who finds that the greatest adventure begins with joining a company that strives to do the right thing.

This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of duties and responsibilities, but constitutes a general definition of the scope and function of the job in the company.

Columbia Sportswear is an equal opportunity employer.

We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status and other legally protected characteristics. The “Know Your Rights” poster is available here: https://www.eeoc.gov/poster

The Pay Transparency Policy is available here: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/OFCCP/pdf/pay-transp_%20English_formattedESQA508c.pdf

Columbia Sportswear is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation because of a disability at any part of the hiring process, please notify your hiring official.

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