Menswear designer, Reiss
What does your job involve?
I work closely with the design and brand sides of [premium retailer] Reiss. At the beginning of each season, inspiration comes from the development and research of fabrics. I create concept and mood boards, colour stories and provide vintage and commercial research to build a cohesive story for each season. I work closely with suppliers, merchandisers and product developers, all of whom have a say on the timings and details in delivering a saleable collection to my directors. I work on the styling of the brand through the use of the website, blog and store openings. I also decide on the look of the campaign shoots.
What skills do you need?
Patience, the ability to build rapport with others, good taste, initiative, a balanced commercial and creative mind and a fair bit of resilience.
The most important skills to have are those that can’t be taught.
What do you like and dislike about your job?
I enjoy the fact that creatively my work allows me to have some broader influence on society and commerce, otherwise it would be quite difficult to have any point of contact with people at this level.
I dislike the pressures that become a part of any job.
How did you get to where you are today?
Coming from a post-industrial city such as Detroit, where I was born, the desire to live in a thriving city such as New York was a passion from a young age.
I’m proud of where I come from, but I decided I wanted to take fashion seriously after finishing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. I moved to New York and decided to do a second degree in fashion in order to obtain the proper training needed to secure a job in the industry. While at school in New York, as a means of supporting myself I became a visual merchandising manager for Reiss, which was beginning its US expansion. Through this position I worked my way to a place which allowed me the opportunity to interview with the men’s director at Reiss, and within two-and-a-half years of living in New York I was offered a junior menswear designer position with the company and from there moved to London.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
Living and working abroad, designing menswear in Europe.
What is your ambition?
To be successful with my work and to be surrounded by positive, creative minds, all working towards something well respected within the art and fashion world.
How do you intend to get there?
Making the correct choices for myself at the times when I believe in them the most.
What three words sum you up?
Sensitive, keen, invested.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Experience is more important than winning accolades. Dedicate yourself, find your way into something and see it through to the end. Oh, and avoid student loans where you can!
2011 Curator, Vincent Troia Solo Exhibition, Bearspace Gallery, London
2010-to present Menswear designer, Reiss
2007 Junior menswear designer, Reiss
2007 Parsons, The New School for Design, AAS Graduate Program, New York
2006 VM manager, Reiss, New York
2005 Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kendall College of Art & Design, Michigan