Very few people get the opportunity to be in charge of their specialty upon graduation. I was fortunate to have dived right into the position of Creative Director shortly after my last year at SPU. Hard work goes without saying, it is expected, but if it wasn't for the curriculum in the Apparel Design major I wouldn't have known how to put together an apparel brand.
The brand I worked for was a small menswear start-up called, Ya Joe. We were a small team ranging from three to four employees and I was the only designer. All responsibility for creating the seasonal line fell on me. SPU's design program prepared me to tackle such a challenge, I used what I learned from Intro to Fashion and Apparel Production and Evaluation as my road map to get the first season rolling.
Before any designs were created I took a trip to China to visit the factory where Ya Joe merchandise would be manufactured. This trip was to source fabrics that would direct the design direction. With the knowledge I gained from Textiles class with Dr. Copeland, I was able to choose fabrics that were right for Ya Joe's potential customer- that being: easy to care for, functional, and comfortable.
The factory used the Tech Packs I sent them to create samples of all the styles, and once I received them I would check the samples to make sure they were correct and within tolerance of the garments specs. Though I was in constant email contact with the factory, there would still be communication barriers. Lets just say things got done a lot quicker when I would visit the factory and work with the pattern makers and sample sewers directly.
Though I don't work for Ya Joe now, the experience I received was priceless. I learned how to execute a design cycle all the way through production and how the importance of marketing can't be stressed enough. SPU provided me with the education that prepared me for my time at Ya Joe. Being engaged is the most important advice I could give future students.