How did you get your start as a CAD designer?
I attended Philadelphia University where I studied Textile Design. After graduating, I moved to Columbus, Ohio. There I worked for a large teen-fashion retailer as a CAD designer. After four years in Ohio I moved back to the East Coast and joined the design team at American Eagle Outfitters in New York City.
How did you get your start at AE?
In early 2011 I was contacted about an opening with the AE Men’s design team as a CAD designer. I had been considering moving back to the east coast for a while. In the end, not only did I move back to my family, but I’ve joined a design team that has become another family all on our own.
What made you want to become a CAD designer?
I have always been a creative person, taking art classes and probably drawing more in my notebooks in class than actually taking notes. When I went into college, interior design shows were all the rage (remember “Trading Spaces”?) and without much thought I was convinced that was what I wanted to do. Quickly into my first semester I realized that interior design was a lot more architecture work then I had anticipated. What happened to picking out paint colors and fabric swatches? So after some research, I found textile design: the design and creation of fabric. It was a combination of drawing, painting, working with looms and knitting machines and designing on the computer. Professionally, I would have a lot of options such as working in the home furnishing industry (what I liked about interior design) or the fashion industry – where my career path has happily taken me today.
What is a typical day like for you?
There is no typical day as a designer, but that’s what is exciting. On any given day I can be drawing, commenting on fabric and pattern submissions from our factories overseas, heading to stores around the city or finishing up a new season of product to be sent into stores.
What misconceptions do people have about being a designer?
It is not as easy as it can be portrayed on TV. As designers, we work really hard and take so much time to make sure every detail of our products is perfect. Nothing is ever just right the first time around and it takes months of work from lots of people to get our product in the store looking great.
What is the coolest part of your job?
It’s all so cool! But one thing that I do not think will ever get old is seeing people wearing clothes I’ve designed. It’s cool enough to see the clothes in the store and on store associates, but to see people walking on the street or even celebrities in tabloid magazines is surreal.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. I notice the littlest of things anywhere I go. I get inspired from places, people and everything in between. My newest obsession though is Pinterest. I could get lost on it all day long. You never know what little things will catch your eye and inspire a creative idea. I also love blogs and Tumblr pages. My go-to at the moment is The Coveteur. They go to the homes and offices of all types of people from celebrities and people in the fashion industry to photographers and DJs. The photos are juxtaposed in a really cool way.
Have you traveled anywhere cool?
I absolutely love to travel! In college I lived in Rome, Italy for five months. While there, I traveled all over Italy as well as went to Dublin, Barcelona and London. More recently I took a cross-country road trip starting in San Diego, CA and ending back here on the East Coast. It was so much fun and so nice to see parts of the US that I may never see again.
Do you have any cool interests or hobbies?
I really like to sing and love musical theatre. Being in NYC is a little slice of heaven for a Broadway junkie like me. On any given day I can be found looking for tickets to shows and singing at my desk – something probably from Glee, a musical or country (especially Zac Brown Band). I’m a sucker for a dueling piano bar, too. The energy is amazing and for once other people are singing at the top of their lungs too. I’m also a big reader. I have so many books on my to-read list right now but I’m always looking for more to add. And yes, I have read all of the tween best sellers (Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games).
If someone was visiting you in New York City, what would you take them to do?
Tough question. When I moved back to the east coast I stayed true to my roots and moved back to New Jersey. I live right over the Hudson River in Hoboken, NJ (home to Frank Sinatra and now the “Cake Boss”). It has great views of NYC and an amazing Italian culture. Being an Italian girl, I would have to bring any visitor over to experience it for themselves. In NYC, I would make sure to walk around my two favorite areas. First, Soho where there are so many great shops and cool boutiques it is easy to lose track of time and second, Central Park. To this day I can still get lost in the beauty and size of Central Park. I would either go to the “Top of the Rock” or the Empire State Building to see the amazing city views. Last, but definitely not least, ending the day with a Broadway show (surprise, surprise). There are so many different and unique areas of this great city it is hard to pick just one… or two… or three.