verbal croquis

my odd little work history

Posted in my work,rants,the day job by verbalcroquis on November 21, 2005

I was having a conversation with a friend this morning and while I was rambling incoherently about my past jobs, I realized something rather depressing.

Every single one of my former bosses saw me as something other than a fashion designer.

1. When I was a senior in high school, I worked as an intern for the costume department in the city operahouse. The head costume designer saw a lot of potential in me as a costume designer, loved the way I was able to reveal aspects of a character’s personality in the costume.

2. During college, I interned at a contemporary level clothing company. One day, we were shorthanded in the factory and they asked me to create a marker for some tops. Apparently I impressed them with my ability to save them more fabric than they originally planned for and I ended up spending quite some time making more markers for them.

3. At my first gig out of college, my boss thought I was some computer marvel, because I could operate Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. At that time, I didn’t think I was that amazing, just better than her.

4. At my next job, the very first project was to develop a rather complicated print for the new spring collection. My boss was blown away; the print has been knocked off by other companies several times since then. I designed a lot of silhouettes as well, but that damn print is what they still talk about.

5. Now, my current boss thinks I’m a graphic designer. The first project I did for her was to revamp their logo to design our booth the upcoming New York tradeshow, and ever since then, she’s relied on me for a lot of graphic work.

    I’m so confused. I’m neither complaining or bragging. Every project that has come my way, either they be closely related to the look of the final garment or not, I have taken on with vigor and earnestness because of my desire to learn everything about this business. Now I’m stuck in a limbo where the people who matter don’t see me as I see myself. What do I have to do to be seen as an APPAREL designer?

    One Response to 'my odd little work history'

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    1. La BellaDonna said,

      Please don’t hit me. I think the answer to your question is, “Design apparel.”

      No, I’m not being simplistic. Well, maybe I am. Do you have the freedom/time/manouverability/inclination in addition to the time-sucking chores assigned to you, to also provide sketches or prototypes of garments that also suit the current company’s current need? Can you negotiate with your boss to trade off some of what you’re doing with someone else so that you can do some apparel design, too?

      The problem you’re running into: Don’t be irreplacable at something that’s not what you want to be doing. You wouldn’t be the first person to get stuck doing “A” when you’d rather be doing “B” because “You’re so good at it!” If you weren’t hired specifically as a graphics designer (or whatever other slot you were required to fill), it’s OK to remind your boss that what you are is a multi-talented APPAREL DESIGNER, not just a graphics designer, etc., and that’s why they hired you. Reminding isn’t being insubordinate or anything, it’s just reminding.

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