AEO Designer Interview: Sarah Cassar

AEO Designer Interview: Sarah Cassar

It’s swim season — and we are loving the fun prints on our swimwear this season! We interviewed Sarah Cassar, one of our women’s swimwear designers in our New York Design Office to tell us what inspired the print trends for spring. We also got an insight into her style and what pieces she recommends for Spring.

Name:

Sarah Cassar

sarah rooftop 1

Sarah enjoying the sun on her NYC rooftop

Occupation:

Associate Designer: Swimwear and Dresses

Where are you from:

Sleepy Hollow, NY

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired all the swim trends this season?

I’ve always been an artistic and sporty person so designing clothing for young, fun active people is a perfect fit! I like to design things that I also want to wear. It’s great working for a company like American Eagle Outfitters, because it’s a lifestyle that I want to be a part of.

For swim, I like to have a few different suit options depending on what I am doing. I like scuba diving and my fiancé is teaching me how to surf so I need a couple suits that won’t fall off in a big wave. But I also love wearing a bathing suit as a layering piece in the summer even if you aren’t at the beach! So I need a couple fashion pieces that just look really sexy under a loose tank top.

The best way to get inspired for swim is to get out and do stuff! I like to see what people are wearing and how they are styling them. I’ve been to over 30 different countries so traveling has always been important to me. My recent beach trips have been to the islands off northern Columbia, Belize and the Cayman Islands.

This year we wanted to capture a few different stories. We have a tropical, festival, retro-femme, and black/white story to cover all the great trends that are happening. The best part of designing swim is working with our CAD (computer aided design aka pattern designers) team on the patterns. Swim patterns should always be bright, sunny, clean and cute! Swim is never serious, it always should be fun and happy. That’s the way I like to live my life-thinking about or being at the beach!

What do you love most about working in a creative field?

Our office! These people are the best to work with. Our production team, Kyla and Nia, always keep me laughing.

 kyla nia sarah silly

Sarah and co-workers sporting swimwear at our New York Design Office

Any upcoming vacations planned that you are excited about?

I’m getting married this year and we are going on a Safari for our Honeymoon. We are still researching the best place to go in Africa. I’ve never been and there are so many options! I’d love to also go to Morocco and the Galapagos Islands.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sarah scuba diving with sea creatures 

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Someone once said that our generation will have four different careers, so go ahead and try new things and don’t be afraid to start over. I switched from Merchandising to Design and it was the right move for me!

And the advice you’d offer aspiring designers?

Push the envelope with your designs then pull it back just one step.

Three items on your AEO wish list -

1. Our woven printed easy layering dress—it makes a great beach cover up that you can wear on and off the shore!

2. The lace crossback tank, its great to wear to a concert or festival.

3. AEO Swim! I love our tropical pineapple prints (in-stores in April), they are so fun and fresh!

SarahWishlist

Five items every girl should have this season- 

1. A bottom layer that’s okay to show- Wear a swimsuit off the beach or one of our cute lacy bralettes that are made to be seen.

2. A match back outfit–doesn’t matter if it’s with a skirt, pants, or romper.

3. A flirty dress–it has to warm up sometime soon in NY!

4. Delicate jewelry–fine piece are very feminine.

5. Really good friends to spend the summer with!

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere: friends, blogs, Pinterest, travel and nature. It’s important to combine inspiration from all over! When I see something that’s amazing, I make sure to make it feel new. Either I bring it together with other elements that are unexpected or use it in a new way.

FLOWER MARKET COLUMBIA

Sarah getting inspired at a flower market in Columbia

Wedges or Flats?

It’s a coin toss! I have a closet full of heels but they just don’t work for a girl on the go.

Twitter or Instagram?

Instagram.

Handle: SarahIsMyNameo

Love learning about our designers? Click here to learn more about the designer behind our Legend T-shirt, Stacey Lange.

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AEO Designer Interview: Stacey Lange

AEO Designer Interview: Stacey Lange

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Love our Legend T-Shirt? So do we! We had the chance to interview our Sr. Design Director for Men’s Knits, Stacey Lange, who works out of our New York Design Office. Here’s what she had to say about the T-shirt we all love so much!

Name: Stacey Lange

Occupation: Sr. Design Director, Men’s Knit Design

Can you tell us where the idea originated for the Legend T-Shirt?

“The Legend T-Shirt was born from the passionate vision of [American Eagle Outfitters founder] Mr. Roger Markfield. At a time when no one believed that we could sell a solid T-Shirt, Roger had a strong intuition that just the opposite was true. So, under Roger’s direction to build the best T-shirt in the market, we began our process.  [From 2010 until now, we went from [the speculation of] not being able to sell a solid T-shirt, to selling millions of units in multiple necklines and two fabrications. Roger’s vision continues to grow and is one of the most successful programs in the history of our brand.”

What makes the Legend T-Shirt unique to American Eagle Outfitters? Give us the history.

We “eagle-ized” [the T-shirt] by finding the perfect lightweight slub fabric – our guy loves texture. We garment pigment dyed the colors to achieve a great wash and character- that is our brand heritage. In 2010, the Legend T-shirt was introduced in 10 colors and two necklines, the crew neck and the V-neck. In 2011 the program grew to 20 colors in the same two necklines; in 2012, the Henley T-shirt was added to the Legend system. In 2013, we added a second fabrication to the mix – a super soft/cotton [polyester] blend that is single dyed for a heathered color effect. And most recently, this spring we introduced the Legend Tank. In addition, based on current trends we  have colorblocked ideas in for this spring season. We are currently up to 30 colors in chain stores and up to 47 colors on ae.com (with a plan to increase to 67 colors for summer! )

What colors is the V- Neck T-Shirt available in?

White, black, heather grey, tidal blue, merlot, petal blue ,firefly, neon yellow, bright neon red and aqua mist.

What colors is the Crew-Neck T-Shirt available in?

White, storm heather, fleet navy, red dust, dream blue, Henley white, black, red dust, indigo tank gravel heather, bright neon red, storm heather and firefly.

What is your favorite Legend T-shirt design?

I like all of them, but my current favorite is the new tank… They are really fun!

If you could recommend the one T-shirt that every guy should have in his closet this season, which one would you suggest?

I would say the Henley. It is an important and prominent trend currently in the men’s market [men's fashion trends].

stacey

Stacey reviewing fabrics for the Legend T-shirt at our New York Design Office

Now we would love to learn a little about you…

What made you want to pursue textile design?

Like lots of young girls, I was always intrigued with fashion. I was obsessed with Elle magazine. Especially the September issue because it was so big. I loved NYC and all I wanted to do when I graduated was come to NY and go to FIT… that was my path into design.

What kind of projects do you find yourself working on from day to day?

Collaborating with the creative design team building the line and working cross functionally with our merchant partners and production partners developing American Eagle Outfitters product.

Five words to describe you…

Conscientious, loyal, hard working, compassionate, health-minded

Favorite destination:

California

Favorite quote:   

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

Charles R. Swindoll

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Say Less, listen more.

And the advice you’d offer aspiring technical designers?

Keep a beginner’s mind so there is always room to learn new things. Learn as much as you can about all aspects of the business so that you better understand how your part affects the whole process.

How do wear your favorite AEO Legend T-Shirt? We want to see your #AEOSTYLE on Twitter and Instagram and you could see your look on our blog or AE.com style gallery!

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