On September 21, the Design Leadership Symposium class had the honor of welcoming Andrea Pease to their class to speak. Andrea is a fellow UW Madison graduate, with a degree in Textile and Fashion Design as well as a secondary degree through the FIT program. Since then, she’s created a successful career for herself at Kohl’s as a technical designer in the children’s clothing department at Kohl’s. She’s also a familiar to many in SoHE, as she has found time to give talks as well as being a juror for the TFD Fashion Show – Threads.
Andrea’s talk was fascinating as well as very informative. The class had the chance to understand what a designer’s job entails after college, and learned the importance of problem solving in a professional setting. At the beginning of her presentation, Andrea asked the class how many were familiar with the position of technical designers; very few raised their hands. This is one of the biggest things that comes from Leadership Symposiums in SoHE- the opportunity to gain insight from non-traditional positions is very important for college students who are “trying to figure it all out. Thus, students were enthusiastic to learn what a technical designers job involves. From being the “engineers of fashion” to the “liaison between design and production, technical designers do a lot of behind the scenes work that goes underappreciated. One of the biggest responsibility of technical designers is perfecting the right “fit”. Without them garments would be all about looks, not taking into consideration the way it feels, fits and functions. Seeing how much work goes on between the planning of a product to something that is marketable was eye opening for many, and was exciting for many of our TFD majors to see.
Another aspect of her presentation that excited many was the complex balance between marketing unique items, while also creating clothing that is comparable to their competitors. It was insightful to hear about the importance of knowing what the competition is creating and what the consumers like, while also maintaining a brand identity. The final thing that took many of the students by surprise was the large network of communication Andrea and her team are expected to maintain. They must to be able to communicate effectively between the designers, the manufacturers, as well as the consumers in order to ensure everything is made to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
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