Alexandrea Neil graduated in 2015 with her degree in Merchandise Product Development and now works as an Associate Designer at Sundry. We caught up with her to find out more.
Tell us a little about yourself: Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a fashion designer. I got accepted to FIDM when I was a junior in high school and couldn't have been more excited to finally make my dreams come true by starting my education in apparel product development and design. I gained so much valuable knowledge at FIDM and really made the best of my two years there. I was a Social Media Ambassador for FIDM and a member of the Premier Product Development Group, and at graduation I was recognized as a nominee for the "Product Development Student of the Year." Currently I am a designer for Sundry, based in Los Angeles. I love my job, but I enjoy a balance in my life by practicing yoga, cooking plant-based meals, and traveling in my free time.
Tell us about your position at Sundry: I wear many hats as an associate designer for Sundry. I manage the product development process of our line from conception to completion. This includes coming up with trend research and inspiration, sketching, directing the sample-making process, leading fittings, making line sheets, fabric/trim sourcing, graphic art and embroidery development, running photoshoots, etc. I am also in charge of development for private label and exclusive projects.
What's the best part about what you do? The best part of my job is seeing a beautiful collection come together after all the hard work our team created together. It is a really rewarding feeling.
What's most challenging? The most challenging part of my job is time management. Our deadlines are extremely tight and there are always many projects going on at one time, so managing time efficiently can sometimes be difficult and stressful.
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? I learned so many vital skills at FIDM that I use every single day that I believe helped shape me into a well-rounded designer—dye techniques, fabric characteristics knowledge, CAD (computer aided design), technical pattern making, etc. I feel like I have the tools to be able to apply the knowledge I have to my current job and anything else that I do in the future.
Any advice for a student thinking about studying into Product Development? Work really hard and always make the best impression on your peers and professors. Everyone always says it but it is so true—"Network, network, network." All my best opportunities came from knowing the right people to get my foot in the door.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to keep working hard to be able to grow even more with Sundry. I just achieved a personal goal by being promoted at the end of 2017. In the two years that I have been with the company I have been able to improve my knowledge and my design abilities so much, so I want to be able to reach my fullest potential.