Meet Emily W., a web designer for American Eagle Outfitters. Emily isn’t just creative at work—she has a full range of hobbies and hopes to open an Etsy store this year. We sat down with Emily to learn more about her and what it’s like to be a web designer at AEO.
How did you get your start with AEO?
I started here in January 2009 as a freelancer. My friend John was already a designer on the AEO web team and he told me they were looking for someone. I didn’t even understand what the job was exactly but I came in for an interview and got the job! Pretty soon after starting, I worked on the 77kids team, which I loved. Last year I switched gears and took a position to design for AEO/Aerie’s mobile site and app.
How do you think your work influences your style?
I love being so close to the fashion world. I read so many fashion blogs now and I try with what I am wearing every day. I don’t think I would be as fashion focused and hyper aware to designers if I didn’t work at AEO. One really awesome thing about working here is everyone gives each other so many compliments all the time! Anytime I try something new or put a lot of thought into an outfit, people notice and let me know they like what I’m wearing. It’s a great confidence boost for trying new trends.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Work-wise, I try to stay up to date with the App Store to make sure I am aware of new apps. I am amazed with the innovation that’s happening right now with usability and functionality. I love when I find an app that’s designed beautifully and functions flawlessly.
Outside of work, I am an avid knitter and sewer. I love Stephen West, Jared Flood, Twist Collective and a bunch of other really talented knitters. I love to aimlessly surf away on Ravelry to find inspiration for my next project. Sewing-wise, I try to keep up to date with the indie pattern designers like By Hand London, Deer and Doe, and Colette Patterns because they frequently release new and easy-to-follow patterns that have modern fits.
Besides design, what are your other hobbies?
I have a lot of hobbies…
Knitting: I love trying new techniques and patterns—I just started my 4th sweater and I’m really excited about it! I was very productive this past year with knitting—I had a bunch of projects just sitting, making me feel guilty, so I pushed through and completed them! Felt so good to have it off my plate. Time to fill it back up!
Sewing: My goal is to transition over to an all-homemade wardrobe, which is a lofty goal for sure! So far I have made several dresses and some woven blouses. Next on my list is working with knits, which is quite intimidating.
Running: I am running my 3rd half marathon this spring, which I am very excited about! I love going on a weekend morning run, with freshly melted snow so everything looks extra bare and grimy. I like to think about how different it will all look in four months when summer is here and everything looks lush and beautiful again.
Gardening: Last year I planted my first ever bulbs! I did dahlias and every time a new bud bloomed, it was so enchanting. I have lots of houseplants, and I do window-boxes and have planted shrubs and herbs, but there is something so magical about flower bulbs.
What’s next on your “life to do” list?
I’d really like to open an Etsy shop this year.
What do you think the next big trend in graphic design will be (i.e. we’ve seen image as text, font overlay, etc.)?
I think it will be enhancing the service a retail store can provide utilizing the customer’s mobile device (you must be in store to access certain features on the phone). With online retailers having so many cool features, stores have got to step it up to get people to come out to the mall.
You have friends from out of town visiting. Where is the first place in Pittsburgh you take them?
Wow—I don’t even know where to start. The Mattress Factory if they haven’t been, it’s a great installation museum on the North Side. I also really love the Frick Art Museum in Point Breeze—it’s free, super small and they get really great traveling exhibits. Their permanent collection is also interesting: they have some really old (1500’s) altarpieces that make you think about how insignificant we are in the great scheme of things.
I am pretty food-centric too, so I would probably give the guest a laundry list of restaurants to choose from. Breakfast would be La Gourmandine pastries or E2’s breakfast. My favorite lunch-y place right now is Everyday Noodles—they have great dumplings. Smoke is also a great taco option. My dinner go-tos are Fukuda (sushi), Legume (fancy “local”) and Park Bruges (Belgian). Lots of choices here!