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— Alexander McQueen
Last Year, I had to interview someone in the field of work I was interested in for my writing class. I looked around the web for someone in Michigan that I can interview and found Kelly Sager, a Detroit based designer. I asked her a couple questions about her field of work and this is what she had to say.
Q1. What was your major as an undergrad? Fashion Design
Q2. What were the influences that inspired you to go into that major? I always thought the process of making clothes was interesting - when I realized that was what I wanted to do for a living, I knew I would need a formal education to fully understand all of the mechanics, creativity, and thought processes that go into the art of clothing design.
Q3. Did you have any doubts before going into that major? I did, because I knew if I was going to do this, I wanted to do it in New York. There are some design schools in Michigan but I just knew for me, the right step was going to a design school in New York. I knew they were really tough to get into, so I kind of just applied as a way of testing how good my portfolio was. After I got in - I was excited, but I thought I’d never be able to afford it. So I applied for financial aid and thought okay, well, if I don’t get enough funding it’s not meant to be - but then I got the financial aid, and at that point, I knew it was meant to be. This was my second degree (my first degree was in journalism) so it was already a big career shift (I was working at a newspaper at the time) - which is why I was a little hesitant to know for sure if it was the right choice. Now I’m so glad I went for it. I absolutely love what I do and my experience at the Fashion Institute of Technology was absolutely amazing. One of the best times of my life.
Q4. What have you done already that brings you to where you are now?(past jobs and such) Well in the past I worked desk jobs in advertising for different newspapers. But I have always been a creative person, and I was really unhappy. I just knew I could not sit at a desk for the rest of my life. I always enjoyed creative outlets and being artistic, so the move to fashion design came naturally, since I had already been sewing my own clothes for years.
Q5. What does your occupation now consist of? Currently I run my own business - my label is kelly lynne designs, and you can see the kind of things I do on my website - www.kellylynne.com - I am also branching out into costume design because that’s another big passion of mine. I’m working on a film with Lion Belly Productions right now in which I am doing all of the costume design for the movie - I’m really excited about that. During September and October I work on the costume design crew for this amazing halloween art event called Theatre Bizarre. (www.theatrebizarre.com) It’s really fun.
Q6. How many hours do you work a week? It varies depending on the time of year. Like I said before Sept-Oct are VERY busy - I’d say I work about 80 hours a week. I take a little break to recover in November and work maybe 4-5 hours a week - then I start designing my new collection for the year in Dec-Jan to launch in in Feb and during that time I work about 40-50 hours a week. It never feels like “work” though when you love what you do.
Q7. What do you like and dislike about what you do? I like the creative aspect, and I like that I have found a way to successfully make this work the way I want it to in Michigan. The fashion industry here is so new, that designers like me are really getting to do our own thing, in our own way - but do it together to help our industry grow. It’s a really exciting time to be a fashion designer in Detroit. Things are happening. A real garment district downtown is something that we can actually see happening in the next 10 years. I love the entire process of it. I can’t really say there is anything I dislike. I guess if I had to it would be the lack of production here. I currently sew everything myself. Ideally one day I could take a pattern to a production facility downtown, and have someone make 10 pieces for me - it would save so much time and leave me more to the creative process rather than the labor. I love to sew, but it cuts down on designing time when I have to sew everything I make.