Since its debut in 2006, Aerie has transformed from a small undie and dormwear brand into a flirty, sweet and sexy powerhouse. One woman who has helped with this evolution is Carolyn K., Aerie Art Director. Carolyn’s passion for the brand, her insanely creative mindset and positive attitude have all contributed to the brand’s success. We picked Carolyn’s brain to learn more about her life and where she pulls her inspirations. Check out what she had to say:
How did you discover your passion?
When I was little, I started a card company with my friend Bethany, using crayons and construction paper. I told my mom I wanted to be a rock star or a poet… not sure how that panned out, but as a designer, a thinker, a painter, I find inspiration in everyday things and all around me.
How did you get your start as a graphic designer?
I started by going to school at Kent State for illustration and visual communication design. The professors were great, program was tough, and the friends I have from school are for life. Ask anyone who knows me… I was terrified of using a computer. I come from a printmaking background of ink and paper, I love the smell and the touch of making things. Don’t worry though, I learned! The electronic world has been a great tool, and I like to use it as that, and for watching nonstop YouTube videos & sweet GIFs too. I was a designer in Wales on a work-study (the country, not the mammal), and was hired fresh out of school at AE for Aerie.
Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?
I think my grandma teaching me which plants were which was pretty important, and just the time I spent as a kid playing outside and swimming. My family and friends are very important to me. Chocolate and whiskey are also extremely important to me, but not together.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is hanging out wearing hoop earrings on a tropical island. I think every job has its perks and bummers, the job I have at Aerie (Art Director) has some pretty dreamy parts. I love making things and getting to travel. For the Summer 2013 photoshoot we were on an island in the Bahamas, which was super beautiful. Every time I get a hotel room by myself for work it doesn’t matter if it was the first time or just the last job I was on—the first thing I do is always get giddy and excited and jump on the bed.
What is next on your ‘To Do In Life’ list?
I just went on an awesome trip to Thailand in February. It was the first time I’ve traveled to Southeast Asia—any part of Asia actually—and it was super inspiring. The colors, the visuals, the food!!!, the beaches were a sensory overload. The question was, what’s next? I’m sure next will be something big and something fun.
What song is playing on repeat in your speakers right now?
Hmm, right now I’ve been listening to Pretty Lights, inspired by seeing them at Coachella. Also as of late a few on the rotation are Captain Murphy, James Blake, Grimes, and my throwback is Foxy Brown.
How would you describe your style?
A little vintage, a little new and a little ridiculous.
How does your work influence your style?
I love checking how everyone is dressing themselves and how they feel most comfortable. I love working with creative people, seeing how their brains work and what they are putting together to wear. Getting dressed everyday is like a fun creative exercise to start the day.
What trend are you most excited about this season?
I’m most excited about clean Mediterranean prints. Think beautiful tile that is on the bottom of a swimming pool or on a fountain in Spain. This trend will probably be more for summer next year, and the design team for Aerie has some super talented pattern makers. We will definitely have that product on the photo shoot showing it off.
What Aerie bra do you live in?
It depends on how I’m feeling. And if you take my advice, take into account body type. I have more curves and don’t really wear pushups. For an everyday bra, I like Katie with lace, and when I want to feel a little special I really like Juliet, because the balconette frame fits me well.
Funniest moment at work/on a photo shoot?
For the last shot on the BTS shoot we played a prank on John, our photographer. I told him we had one last shot and it had been a long day, I could tell he was a little mad at me. Nina is so fun and crazy, she was traveling with this insane dog onesie that we were all laughing about and had a great idea that we would prank John with her coming out dressed in it for the first shot. That didn’t work out but it was a good way to wrap on the last shot of the day with a ridiculous situation!
What characteristics make your job fun?
I like to think working hard and having fun are good partners. Laughing at silly things make the job fun, and having good people around.