Recent Grad Hired as Lead Designer for Sustainable Brand Stardog Loungewear
Born in Colombia and raised in Costa Rica, Paz Morales comes from a creative family. Her mother had a fashion boutique in Bogota where she designed custom jackets, pants, and sweaters. As a child, she saw her mother drawing, going to factories, and styling friends, and began to develop her own interest in the industry. Paz earned her A.A. in Fashion Design and graduated with her B.A. in Design in December 2019. She moved to New York to intern for Jason Wu, where during NYFW she met someone who was embarking on the launch of a sustainable brand called Stardog Loungewear. Having used hemp linen in one of the collections she created as a student at FIDM, she researched the material further in preparation for her interview, and was hired as their lead designer. We caught up with her to learn more about her journey.
Tell us about Stardog Loungewear: Stardog Loungewear started amidst the pandemic. The goal was to design sustainable, comfortable, and functional garments that could be worn at home. Spending most of our time at home shifted the way we started to dress. All of us started to go with relaxed and comfortable silhouettes that enhanced our new “WFH” lifestyle.
Stardog is inspired by the magical properties of hemp fabric, nature, and the concept of mindfulness. It is a gender-neutral, seasonless, and multi-sensorial loungewear brand. We focus on reframing our connection with nature by working with materials like hemp, coffee, and natural rubber. The future of fashion should be mindful and conscious. It should contribute to people and the planet’s well being! That’s why we believe that being ethical and sustainable is a way of life.
How did you find out about the opportunity at Stardog? Last year after graduation I moved to New York for an internship at Jason Wu where I had the amazing opportunity to experience F/W NYFW 2020. During this time I had the honor to meet one of the people behind Stardog. I was amazed by this new project that could revolutionize the textile and fashion industry. I kept researching hemp and its uses in the fashion industry until I got the opportunity to start the interviewing process. During my time at FIDM, I used hemp linen for one of my collections so I knew how versatile and amazing this textile was.
Have you been with the company since the start? I was present throughout the complete process from beginning to the launch of the brand in October 2020.
How was it launching it right in the beginning of the pandemic and how did Stardog pivot during 2020? Launching a brand at the beginning of the pandemic was an experience with many challenges and opportunities. We got to experience the shift from a regular work routine to a digital one. However, this change allowed us to work from different parts of the world feeling like we were all together in the same room.
We craft our garments in Bogota, Colombia so I had a “long-distance relationship” with the atelier. This was challenging but rewarding at the same time. I got to experience doing digital fit notes, fit iterations on the prototypes, and “digital” fabric and trim sourcing.
Stardog began 100% online however, we had the opportunity to open our first store in Colombia in November 2020.
Tell us about your position as the Lead Designer: I meet with team members to come up with the concept or theme for every collection. I build and maintain an up-to-date brand book, line sheets, technical sketches, prototypes, and fabric books. Additionally, I direct and style photoshoots for social media and e-commerce. Throughout the development process, I meet with team members and the atelier to provide feedback on all garments to ensure well construction, fit, and finishes. One of my favorite things has been that I have been able to wear many hats. I have participated in all kinds of design from producing digital artwork for our website to designing packaging.
Tell us a little about yourself: I was born in Colombia and raised in Costa Rica. I had the opportunity to evolve in a creative environment while completing my A.A. in Fashion Design and B.A. in Design at FIDM. My inspiration comes from nature and the vibe contained within it. That's why my design philosophy is to mimic nature in its purest form.
When did you first develop an interest in fashion design? Ever since I was little I used to see my mom drawing, going to factories, styling friends and, that's where I started to see myself doing the same. I remember styling my mom when she had a special occasion. I used to go to her closet and select a complete look for her. She had a boutique in Bogota, Colombia where she designed custom jackets, pants, and sweaters. It was about the customers and how they felt using her designs.
Why did you choose FIDM and how do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? I knew I wanted to become a fashion designer at a young age. Doing my research, I came across FIDM and knew that it was the perfect place to gain knowledge about the industry.
Since I started at FIDM I knew that every detail mattered. Learning how to perfect a technical sketch by hand, how to create a tech pack, how to pattern, to sew, to design functional but beautiful clothing are tasks that I perform and enjoy doing every day. FIDM prepared me to take on my role to design functional, unique, and beautiful garments.
Any favorite FIDM memories? I loved my time at FIDM! My favorite memory was the first time I sewed a jacket in Draping II or my first capsule collection in Studio I. Seeing my ideas into tangible garments is a feeling I will never forget. I met great teachers, mentors, and classmates that keep inspiring me every day.
Any advice for current FIDM Students? My advice would be to explore all the textiles, fabrics, silhouettes, and colors you can because this is where you begin to form your “idea portfolio." This is the perfect time to form and explore your creativity. At the same time value everything that you learn from the smallest detail to the biggest one. In the end, the recollection of all these ideas, details, and projects is what makes your design identity and philosophy.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal is to educate people about fashion and sustainability with our brand. The fashion industry is the second most contaminant and there are so many ways to mitigate this and to propose a new scenario for the fashion industry. As young designers, we have the future of fashion in our hands. Every decision we take in our career will dictate what the future of this industry will be.
Follow Paz Morales on Instagram @pazmoralesa and Stardog Loungewear @stardog.loungewear.