Meet Amanda, Colleen, Nina & Rachel – four of AEO‘s Assistant Designers. We brought these four in from our New York Design Office for a special photo shoot on the streets around our home office in Pittsburgh. After the shoot, we sat down to chat about their lives in New York and what makes these designers tick. Read on to learn more about how they discovered their passion for design and their fave hang out spots in NYC.
How did you get your start with AEO?
Amanda: I started as our AEO Receptionist and also worked with the HR Department. After working here for a couple months, I knew that I wanted to move into design and after a lot of hard work I finally got a position in the accessories department!
Colleen: I was recruited just before I graduated last year from the University of Cincinnati. I got called back for an interview in NYC and got the job as Assistant Designer for Women’s Sweaters a week later!
Nina: I started last August (2013) as a part of the AEO Designer Trainee Program.
Rachel: I met with some of the AE recruiters a few months after I graduated from school. I flew to NY to interview with my team, and left knowing that I wanted to work with them. I received a phone call a few days later offering me a position with women’s denim, and I moved two weeks later. It all happened very fast!
Who or what has been the most important influence in your life?
Amanda: Everyone around me has had an influence on my life in some way, but specifically relating to fashion, I would say one of my close family friends. She was always in the industry and had incredible drive that helped her to succeed and to bring her where she is today.
Nina: My family has been the most important influence on my life – they instilled values of honest, hard work early on in my life. They’ve always encouraged me to explore my creativity. I’m really lucky to have them.
What songs are playing on your iPod?
Colleen: I have been listening to Why? a lot. I have a lot of hometown pride and there are tons of great bands coming out of Cincinnati lately. Why? As well as Tweens, Vacation, Wussy, and Walk The Moon are all great Ohio folks. I’ve also been super into Columbian heartthrob, Juanes, lately (sorry I’m not sorry). The song La Camisa Negra gets me PUMPED UP.
How did you discover your passion?
Nina: I have always sketched clothes – I started my first sketch book when I was 12. I’ve never stopped loving design.
Rachel: Art is part of who I am, it has always been a part of my life in some form. Fashion was just another outlet but most certainly my favorite. Something just clicks when I’m designing, it’s what I’m supposed to be doing.
What is next on your ‘To Do in Life’ list?
Colleen: 1. Go to beach. 2. Eat brunch.
How would you describe your style?
Amanda: My style depends on my mood. Most of the time it’s pretty easy, like skinny jeans with a baggy tee or a button down, but sometimes I like to surprise people and wear super structured dresses and blazers.
Colleen: When I get dressed, I tend to channel a pop culture figure that embodies how I feel at that specific moment. In general I want to look like a girl that’s got it together, but is also a little wild. Lately I’ve been inspired by the heroines of Twin Peaks, especially Shelly. When she’s not serving diner coffee in her baby-blue uniform, she’s all big hair, dark lipstick and miniskirt. Hanging out with boys in flannel. The combination of 90’s grunge and 50’s retro seems so perfect right now.
Favorite AE clothing piece?
Nina: I love my moto jeans I scored on the shoot. They are super flattering and I get tons of compliments on them (Yes, I’ve worn them already! I couldn’t wait.).
Rachel: A dark pair of jeggings.
How does your work influence your style?
Colleen: Since working at AE, my clothing choices have become much more colorful. I used to wear all black all the time because it’s easy and always looks cool, but working here I’ve been able to see how we create exciting palettes and have been better at incorporating color into my outfits.
Nina: I’m constantly in motion at work, so I like to have a cool casual look when I’m in the office.
What is your dream job?
Amanda: My current job is my dream job! I absolutely love the category that I’m in and feel so lucky to be given the opportunity.
Rachel: Collaborating with my fiancé on our own line.
What is your favorite spot in NYC?
Rachel: I love the Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg. It’s right on the water and there are always fun treasures to uncover. I also really enjoy The High Line. It’s a great spot to relax and it’s beautifully designed.